Frightening and worrying images and stories of bushfires shown in the media can have a negative impact on student wellbeing. Students may be impacted even if there has been no direct effect on their family or local community. This activity supports students to explore the concept of ‘community resilience’ and actions they can take to empower those affected by bushfires.

Year level



60 minutes


In class activity

SEL Competencies

Social awareness

Responsible decision-making



Learning intention

Students will be able to describe the concept of ‘community resilience’ and identify how individuals can contribute to bushfire recovery efforts.

Key outcomes

By the end of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • identify examples of community resilience

  • describe why community resilience is important.

Materials needed

  • Access to the article ‘5 ways to manage your wellbeing during the bushfires’

  • Whiteboard and paper

  • Poster material (e.g. pens, paper, markers or computers)

Mapped to

Australian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education

  • Analyse factors that influence emotional responses and devise strategies to self-manage emotions (AC9HP8P06)

  • Plan and implement strategies, using health resources, to enhance their own and others’ health, safety, relationships and wellbeing (AC9HP8P10)

  • Evaluate emotional responses in different situations to refine strategies for managing emotions (AC9HP10P06)

  • Plan, justify and critique strategies to enhance their own and others’ health, safety, relationships and wellbeing (AC9HP10P10)

  • Participate in physical activities that promote health and social outcomes to design and evaluate participation strategies for themselves and others (AC9HP10M05)

Victorian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education

  • Plan and use strategies and resources to enhance the health, safety and wellbeing of their communities (VCHPEP130)

  • sPlan and implement strategies for connecting to natural and built environments to promote the health and wellbeing of their communities (VCHPEP131)

  • Identify and critique the accessibility and effectiveness of support services based in the community that impact on the ability to make healthy and safe choices (VCHPEP145)

  • Evaluate situations and propose appropriate emotional responses and then reflect on ‘Plan, implement and critique’ strategies to enhance the health, safety and wellbeing of their communities (VCHPEP149)

NSW PDHPE Syllabus

  • Assesses their own and others’ capacity to reflect on and respond positively to challenges (PD5-1)

  • Examines and demonstrates the role help-seeking strategies and behaviours play in supporting themselves and others (PD4-2)

  • Researches and appraises the effectiveness of health information and support services available in the community (PD5-2)

  • Plans, implements and critiques strategies to promote health, safety, wellbeing and participation in physical activity in their communities (PD5-7)

Australian Curriculum: General Capabilities

  • Personal and Social Capability

    • Social awareness

    • Social management

    • Self-awareness

    • Self-management

  • Critical and Creative Thinking

  • Inquiring

Show details

Activity 1

Class discussion: What is resilience?

10 minutes

  1. Write the word ‘resilience’ on the whiteboard.

  2. Discuss with students some terms associated with resilience. They might suggest terms such as ‘bounce back’, ‘challenge’, ‘strength’, overcome’.

  3. Mind map students’ responses on the whiteboard.

  4. Think, pair, share: Ask students if they have faced challenges they have needed to overcome. Examples might include starting high school or doing exams.

  5. Discuss how students overcame these challenges.

Activity 2

Class discussion: What is community resilience?

20 minutes

  1. Discuss with students the notion that, just as individuals must show resilience when faced with challenges, so must communities. Community resilience will depend on the challenges faced – for example, following catastrophic bushfires, a community’s resilience will depend on the services and support it receives.

  2. Ask students what does a resilient community looks like, feel like and sound like? Draw a Y chart and complete as a group or individuals.

  3. Ask students to answer the following questions:

    • How were communities in Australia affected by the bushfires (both directly and indirectly)?

    • What happened to their homes, businesses and their environment?

    • How do you think people felt during this time?

    • What challenges do communities face as they recover?

    • How did people outside of these communities assist those who were impacted? This may have been something they, their family, a local club, a community organisation or a charity group did.

Activity 3

Class activity: Community resilience poster

30 minutes

  1. Provide students with’s article ‘5 ways to manage your wellbeing during the bushfires’.

  2. Divide into groups based on the five subheadings in the article:

    • Gratitude for those fighting the fires

    • Generosity of time, money and spirit

    • Connection with others

    • Admire the resilience of communities

    • Communities banding together.

  3. Based on the material in the article, ask students to create a poster (either on a digital platform such as Canva or in a hard-copy form such as on butcher’s paper) outlining a wellbeing tip.

  4. On the poster, students answer:

    • What does the tip involve?

    • Why could it be helpful during bushfires and as the community recovers?

    • Examples of action within communities – for example, foodbank, Red Cross donations.

  5. Students share their posters with the class. They can then be shared with the school community by being hung on walls or included in the school newsletter.

  6. Explain to students why following these tips is very important. For example:

    • Communities often show their resilience and generosity of spirit in ways that can be empowering for those affected.

    • The actions of these community members can highlight how caring people can be, even when things are really hard.


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