Year 8 - Fire: A Burning Question

In this inquiry students investigate Aboriginal peoples’ and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ long held understanding of energy forms, including kinetic energy and heat energy.

Hand drill method for starting fire

Physical sciences: Energy appears in different forms, including movement (kinetic energy), heat and potential energy, and energy transformations and transfers cause change within systems. (ACSSU155 )

Students investigate how Indigenous Australians applied this knowledge of movement energy and its potential to create heat energy during their inquiries into traditional fire starting processes. Students experience first-hand the energy expenditure needed to successfully transform kinetic energy into heat energy.

Lighting fire with coconut husk for tinder

Students investigate the efficiency of traditional fire starting methods and tinder materials: both the hand drill and the fire saw method are investigated. Furthermore, students explore how different combinations of wood types and tinder can influence the fire starting process.

Students using hand drill method during the ASSETS Townsville Summer School, 2015

Through the student-led design and conducting of these inquiries students develop and exhibit a range of science inquiry skills such as questioning and predicting, planning and conducting, processing and analysing and evaluating and communicating.

Students discover that Indigenous Australians used some of the same science skills thousands of years ago when they recognised patterns and trends in their experimentation and trialling of fire starting techniques. Students see how this traditional understanding of kinetic energy, heat energy and potential energy were utilised to develop efficient and predictable fire starting techniques.


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