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ATOM 2015


ISBN: 978-1-74295-597-1

3 Curriculum
Synopsis 5 Pre-viewin
g Activities
6 Viewing Ac
Frackman tells the story of accidental activist ti vities
Dayne Pratzky and his struggle against Post-viewin
g Activities
international gas companies. 10 Writin
g Activit ies
Australia will soon become the worlds 11 Refere
biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas, as
around 30,000 wells are sunk into the state of
Queensland where Dayne lives. Many of these wells require
a controversial drilling practice known as fracking. Dayne
and his neighbours have unwittingly become the centre of a
massive industrial landscape, and they have little power to
fight the wishes of the $200 billion industry.
Dayne embarks on a journey that transforms him from
conservative pig-shooter to sophisticated global activist as the

Frackman. He meets the people drawn into a battle that is

crossing traditional divides, bringing together young and old,
city and country, farmers and environmentalists, progressives
and conservatives. Along the way, Dayne finds love, tragedy
and triumph.
Curriculum Links - Chemical Sciences:
Frackman is rated M and contains occasional course lan- The atomic structure and properties of elements are used to
guage. As such, it is recommend for students in Years 10 12. organise them in the Periodic Table (ACSSU186)

Frackman can be linked to the following subject areas of the Different types of chemical reactions are used to produce a
Australian National Curriculum: range of products and can occur at different rates (ACSSU187)

1 The Discipline-based learning Domain of Science - Nature and Development of Science:

2 The Discipline-based learning Domain of History
3 The Discipline-based learning Domain of Geography Scientific understanding, including models and theories, are
4 The Discipline-based learning Domain of English contestable and are refined over time through a process of
5 The Physical, Personal and Social Learning Domain of review by the scientific community (ACSHE191)
Civics and Citizenship
6 The Cross-curriculum Priority of Sustainability Advances in scientific understanding often rely on develop-
ments in technology and technological advances are often
Specific links to the Australian National Curriculum: linked to scientific discoveries (ACSHE192)

- Use and Influence of Science:

1. The Discipline-based learning
Domain of Science: People can use scientific knowledge to evaluate whether they
should accept claims, explanations or predictions (ACSHE194)
In Level 10 Science, students explore:
Advances in science and emerging sciences and technologies

- Relationships between aspects of the living, physical and can significantly affect peoples lives, including generating new
chemical world are applied to systems on a local and global career opportunities (ACSHE195)
scale and this enables students to predict how changes will af-
fect equilibrium within these systems. The values and needs of contemporary society can influence
the focus of scientific research (ACSHE230)
Specific Level 10 Science Content Descriptors relevant to a
study of Frackman include:

2. The Discipline-based Learning - Compare and evaluate a range of representations of indi-
Domain of History: viduals and groups in different historical, social and cultural
contexts (ACELT1639)
Frackman can also be used at Year 10 when studying The - Evaluate the social, moral and ethical positions represented
Modern World and Australia. It specifically relates to Depth in texts (ACELT1812)
Study 2 Rights and Freedoms, as students investigate strug-
gles for human rights in depth. This includes how rights
and freedoms have been ignored, demanded or achieved in 5. The Physical, Personal and Social
Australia and in the broader world context. Learning Domain of Civics and Citizenship:
Frackman provides a modern-day example of the continuing The Civics and Citizenship domain provides students with
efforts to secure individual rights and freedoms in Australia, and knowledge, skills and opportunities to understand and practise
can be used to compare and contrast to a study of previous civil what it means to be a citizen in a democracy.
rights campaigns in Australia.
The Level 10 Domain of Civics and Citizenship states that:
Level 10 History Content Descriptions particularly applicable to
Frackman: Students are more focused on developing a critical under-
standing of contemporary Australian democracy through a
- The significance of the following for the civil rights of study of democratic heritage, political and legal institutions.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: 1962 right to They use current political, legal, national and international issues
vote federally; 1967 Referendum; Reconciliation; Mabo deci- as springboards for understanding and critical thinking about
sion; Bringing Them Home Report (the Stolen Generations), a range of concepts such as the rights and responsibilities of
the Apology (ACDSEH106) citizens, values that are important in a democracy, and the role
- Methods used by civil rights activists to achieve change for of the Australian government as a global citizen. Students are
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and the role of increasingly attuned to the world beyond school, and local,
ONE individual or group in the struggle (ACDSEH134) national and international issues provide a means through which
- The continuing nature of efforts to secure civil rights and they understand and evaluate Australias democracy.
freedoms in Australia and throughout the world, such as
the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007) A close study of Frackman provides students with an engaging
(ACDSEH143) and current case study with which to explore the above con-
cepts in relation to Civis and Citizenship.

3. The Discipline-based Learning

Domain of Geography: 6. The Cross-curriculum of Sustainability:
At Level 10 Geography, the Learning Focus states that; The National Curriculum has identified the Cross-curriculum pri-
- Students investigate the interaction of human activities with orty of Sustainability as requiring particular focus for Australian
the natural environment through a study of issues such as students. It states that:
global warming and climate change, land degradation and
desertification, and air and water pollution. Students develop Sustainability addresses the ongoing capacity of Earth to maintain
skills to evaluate the factors contributing to the development all life. Sustainable patterns of living meet the needs of the present
of these issues, identify strategies to address them and without compromising the ability of future generations to meet
explore ways of managing them. their needs. Actions to improve sustainability are both individual
and collective endeavours shared across local and global commu-
A case study of Frackman provides students with an excellent nities. They necessitate a renewed and balanced approach to the
Australian example relating to this Learning Focus. way humans interact with each other and the environment.

Education for sustainability develops the knowledge, skills,

4. The Discipline-based Learning values and world views necessary for people to act in ways that
Domain of English: contribute to more sustainable patterns of living. It enables indi-
viduals and communities to reflect on ways of interpreting and
Frackman can be used as a supplementary text in English from engaging with the world. Sustainability education is futures-ori-
Years 10 12, specifically when studying themes of: ented, focusing on protecting environments and creating a more

- Identity and belonging ecologically and socially just world through informed action.
- Imaginary Landscape Actions that support more sustainable patterns of living require
- Encountering Conflict consideration of environmental, social, cultural and economic
systems and their interdependence.
Level 10 English Content Descriptions particularly applicable to
Frackman: A close study of Frackman provides students with an engaging
and current case study with which to explore the above con-
Literature and Context: cepts in relation to Sustainability.

3. Preliminary Research
Activity into Fracking
Again, working in the same groups as the previous
activities, have students research and discuss the
following basic facts about the process of fracking:

Pre-viewing Activities
a What is the process of hydraulic fracturing? Try
explaining it to the person sitting next to you.
b What are some of the main criticisms of
AND FRACKING? c What benefits are cited by proponents of the
Prior to watching Frackman it is advisable that stu- d How is global demand for unconventional gas
dents have a working understanding of the process changing and what impact is this having on
and issues surrounding unconventional gas, including fracking? Suggested sites for research:
a basic understanding of the drilling method known as
fracking. Post-viewing activities will allow students ing-explained
to examine the process and issues in greater depth.
At this stage it is suggested that the focus of activities, thon-oil-animation-on-hydraulic-fracking-
research and discussion centre on the facts, with the 2014-7?op=1#fracking-is-used-to-extract-oil-
debate and ethical questions around unconventional and-gas-from-shale-reservoirs-more-than-a-
gas to be addressed after viewing Frackman. mile-below-the-surface-the-first-step-involves-
e As a class, view the following clip, entitled
1. Brainstorm Activity. Fracking Explained Opportunity or Danger?.
Write the terms unconventional gas and hydro- Whist viewing the clip, encourage students to
fracking in the centre of the whiteboard or on A3 take notes and discuss any thoughts/questions
poster paper provided to student groups. Students as a class after viewing the clip.
are to work in small groups and brainstorm everything f If students need additional clarification about
they know, think they know, or may have heard about what the process of hydraulic fracturing entails,
both key terms. an interactive graphic can be found here:
They may supply one-word reactions, facts, personal news/2010/10/101022-breaking-fuel-from-the-
experience, or anything else that is relevant. Next, rock/
invite groups to report what they discussed, and write This is an excellent, succinct visual summary
their contributions on the board. of the fracking process, and it is recommended
that teachers show this to the class via data-
projector before viewing the documentary.
2. Preliminary Research Activity
into Unconventional Gas.
Working in the same groups as their Brainstorming
Activity, have students research and discuss the fol-
lowing basic facts about unconventional gas:

a How unconventional gas is formed.

b Where unconventional gas is found.

c How unconventional gas is different to conventional

d Extraction and delivery of unconventional gas.
e How unconventional gas is used.
f What types of unconventional gas are present in
Australia? What type is there in your state?

Suggested sites for research:

Post-viewing Activities

The issue has been a controversial one in the me-

dia; proponents argue that unconventional gas has
huge economic benefits and that the risks can be
safely managed. Opponents argue that the risks
cant be managed safely and that more regulation
is needed to prevent against environmental and
health impacts of unconventional gas, especially
where fracking is used.



- Break students into small groups. Each group

is to then split in half, with one side research-
ing the benefits of fracking and the other the
Viewing Activities dangers.
- Students are to reconvene in their small groups
Students are directed to take notes whilst and, using their research, they are to discuss
viewing Frackman to assist them in answering the following questions:
the following general questions. Some ques- 1 Is the issue of fracking a clear-cut one?
tions require research, which can be conducted 2 How can we determine if the benefits out-
post-viewing: weigh the risks of fracking?
3 What is your opinion on fracking in
1 What factors led Dayne to take up the Australia? Are there alternatives?
anti-coal seam gas cause? Was he a born - Come together a class and share the findings
environmentalist? of various groups. Ensure that opinions are
2 The action in Frackman takes place in supported by fact and shared with respect.
and around Tara and Chinchilla. Tara and - Using the research from the above activity,
Chinchilla are towns in the Darling Downs students are to write an argumentative es-
region of Queensland, located 300 kilo- say on whether or not the benefits of fracking
metres west of Brisbane. Students are to outweigh the risks. Students may argue for
locate these towns on a map of Queensland either side and should ensure each argument is
and conduct a brief research activity into supported by evidence gained from a variety of
the population and major traditional indus- reputable sources.
tries of these towns.
3 We meet Daynes neighbour Narelle
Nothdurft who has gas wells on her land.
What has been the impact of these wells on
her childrens health?
4 Dayne and the other protestors decide to
cause maximum disruption to the coal
seam gas companies. What protest tactics
do they employ and how effective are they?
5 At the end of the documentary, Dayne
decides to sell up and move. Why does he

do this? How does this decision make him

6 With a partner, discuss your reaction
to Frackman. What did you find most


- Since 2007, US shale-gas production has students are to write a letter to the Australian
increased 700%. Over 45,000 fracked wells Federal Minister for the Environment, saying
now produce 40% of US gas. Given that the whether they think fracking should be banned
boom in this form of energy production is only in Australia and why.
recent, scientists are far from understanding
the full health implications for those living near
wells. As a class, read the following article and THE SCIENCE OF FRACKING
examine the photo essay that researchers
from Columbia University undertook in 2014. - Proponents of fracking refer to the chemicals
As a class, discuss your thoughts and feelings involved in the process as being safe and of
about the photos/research, ensuring you note the variety you would find under your kitchen
any similarities and differences with the US sink. As we see in Frackman, opponents of
experience with the people from Frackman: the process refute this claim. Your task is to conduct research into the chemicals that are
essay-studying-frackings-effects-up-close- used in fracking and report back to the class on
and-personal/ your findings. Ensure you answer the following:
- As a class, read the following article that dis- 1. A list of the major chemicals used in fracking
cusses the link between fracking in Oklahoma and the stated purpose of each chemical.
and the increased occurence of earthquakes as 2. The possible side effects on the environ-
a result; ment, humans and fauna from these chemi-
earthquakes-linked-to-fracking-are-fracturing- cals.
Students are to discuss their feelings about this
article and conduct research into other re-
ported links between fracking and earthquakes
from around the world. Is there a pattern?
- In January 2015, the Scottish government
announced a block on planned fracking
operations pending further enquiries into the
environmental and health implications of the
process. Students are to read the following
article on this topic:
- In small groups, conduct research into other

countries and regions that have banned or put

fracking on hold. Share the findings as a class.
Read the following article about the recent ban
on fracking in Tasmania;
Using the research and discussion notes on
these bans around the world (and Tasmania),
3. Your overall opinion, based on your re-
search, regarding the overall risks/safety
with the chemicals involved in fracking.
- Students can begin their research here:
- NB. Students are encouraged to share their
research. Discuss any anomalies/difficulties
they encounter when trying to find a definitive
list of the chemicals involved in fracking. Why
might this be the case? Encourage students
to think critically about the sources they are
using for their research and potential bias that
may occur as a result.


Dayne visits Gladstone, where the gas is piped

to from the Darling Downs region via 540km of
pipeline. The gas is processed at plants on Curtis
Island and is then shipped to export destina-
tions from the Port of Gladstone. The associated
dredging and chemical waste from this process
have had an adverse effect on the marine life in the the Queensland government issued Pacific-
port, which in turn has had an impact on the once American Oil, Ampol and other multinational
thriving local fishing industry. There is also a larger oil companies, exploration and drilling rights to
concern about the potential impact on the Great over 80,000 square miles of the Great Barrier
Barrier Reef, as this area border the southern foot of Reef. This threat to The Great Barrier Reef from
the Reef. oil exploration and mining galvanised a range of
local and national activists to fight the proposal.
Dayne also speaks to the mayor of Gladstone, who - Students are to conduct research into the plans
supports the fracking and gas exporting boom to drill oil on the Great Barrier Reef in 1969. Why
due to the positive economic impact it has had on do you think it was such a contentious idea?
the area. - In 1974 there was a Queensland Royal
Commission into the proposal. H.C. Nugget
- Discuss: In small groups discuss the posi- Coombs (Australian economist, public serv-
tive effects of fracking and gas exporting for ant and environmentalist), gave evidence at
Gladstone. Think about these in terms of short the Commission, and he stated (amongst
and long term gains. Weigh these up against other things) that in measuring benefits the
the detrimental effects to the environment. Commissioners should rethink the term com-
Further information to assist in this discussion munity to include the grandchildren of the pre-
can be found at: sent generation, and indeed their grandchildren too. Given this was 1974, such an emphasis on inter-generational responsibility was quite
business/gladstone-bags-a-fracking-fuss/ a progressive view of environmental develop-
story-e6frg9lx-1226064420003 ment. Research five other mining and explora-
- Research: In small groups, students are to tion proposals that have occurred in Australia
conduct research into the current environmen- in the 40 year period from 1974 - 2014 where
tal concerns over the future of the Great Barrier you feel Coombs statement should be (or has
Reef. Prepare a one-page report, including been) applied.
images, that outlines the major concerns for - Australian poet and environmental activist,
this World Heritage Site. Suggested sources to Judith Wright was involved in opposing the pro-

begin research: posal. Her poem The Slope (1973) despairs of the natural world damaged by men. Locate two
pdf_file/0019/28810/Ports-challenges-for-the- other poems from her catalogue which explore
Great-Barrier-Reef.pdf similar themes. - You see, the world is such a bloody wonderful
s4056716.htm place, even if no one seems to realise it
- Research: The Great Barrier Reef has come - Judith Wright.
under threat in the past. In the late 1960s, As a class, discuss Wrights lament and how
found themselves taking up an environmental
cause in similar ways.

it resonates with the issues raised in - Working in pairs, allocate students one of the fol-
Frackman. Consider this quote, Wrights lowing environmental activists to research. (NB.
poems, Coombs plea for inter-generational re- The list is by no means exhaustive and students/
sponsibility and the work of Dayne Pratzky and teachers are welcome to research others).
other environmental activists. Write a one page - Erin Brockovich, Karen Silkwood, David
reflection on the importance of these people Attenborough, Wangari Maathai, Al Gore,
(and those like them) in helping raise awareness Amory Lovins, Chico Mendez, David Bellamy,
and protect our environment. Bob Brown, Peter Garrett, Steve Irwin,
Aila Keto, Ian Kiernan, Judith Wright, John
Wamsley, Peter Cullen.
UNCONVENTIONAL GAS Students are to prepare a PowerPoint or Key Note
presentation on their activist, covering the follow-
We discover in Frackman that coal seam gas re- ing areas:
sources are owned by the Crown, not the property
owner. Dayne and the other blockies talk about 1. Biographical information and the reasons why
the negative impact of the fracking wells on their they began fighting for their particular cause(s).
land values, as well as a sense of being lied to by 2. What they fought for and what was the out-
QGC and their representatives. come of their campaign(s)?
3. Note any similarities/difference between this
1. Visit the Lock the Gate Alliance website at person and Dayne. and conduct - Dayne joins forces with Drew Hutton from the
further research into the issue of resource owner- Lock the Gate Alliance. Visit their website at:
ship, land access and compensation in relation Discuss the
to unconventional gas and fracking. Share the
results as a class and discuss which facts are
most surprising/alarming and why.
2. Read the following articles relating to
Indigenous groups in Queensland and the
Northern Territory and their appeals to the
United Nations in relation to fracking wells on
contested land. Discuss your feelings about
this as a class:



Dayne describes himself as an accidental activ-

ist. There are many examples where people have
other alternative, renewable energy sources
they discover in their research.
2 Research Australias current Renewable Energy
targets and compare these to other nations
from around the world. What factors do you
think might be preventing Australia from
achieving their target?

Writing Activities
- Students are to select and respond to one of
the following prompts in relation to the concept
of Imaginary Landscape. Students can write
in an expository or creative style and must
refer directly to the people, events or issues in
Frackman in their response:
- The place in which we live has an impact on
our understanding of the world.
- Landscapes challenge our sense of
- Our memories of a landscape have the
power to transform.
aims and work of this group. - The meaning of a landscape changes over
- Dayne becomes aware of the notion of time.
Gandhian tactics in relation to civil disobedi- - The way we view the landscape we live in
ence and affecting change. In pairs, research reflects our hopes and fears.
who Gandhi was, with specific focus on the - Our vision of the landscape reflects our vi-
methods he used and the outcome of his cam- sion of ourselves.
paign. Discuss your view of this approach. - Our lives can be explained in terms of literal
- Research the different protest groups that cur- and metaphorical landscapes.
rently exist in Australia. Research their aims, - We spend our lives digging for meaning,
campaigns and ways that individuals can get & WEBSITE grappling physically, mentally and emotion-
involved. Discuss the issues and action groups ally with our daily environments.
that are most pertinent to you and explain why. Sea Shepherd - Students are to select and respond to one of
Groups to consider (students are encouraged Conservation Society: the following prompts in relation to the concept
to add others to their research): http://www. of Identity and Belonging. Students can write in an expository or creative style and must
refer directly to the people, events or issues in
Greenpeace Australia:
RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES http://www. Frackman in their response: - It is only when we understand our own iden-
Humans will continue to require energy for all australia/en/ tity that we can have a sense of belonging.
aspects of their lives, yet there is a real concern - Through understanding differences we
about the types of energy we are consuming and Australian Wildlife understand ourselves.
the methods used to secure the sources. http://www. - We will only find belonging in the place between sameness and difference.
1 Allocate one of the following renewable energy - As our sense of self shifts so does our place
sources to pairs/small groups of students. Australian Wildlife of belonging.
Each group is to research how the energy Society: - A change of environment affects our identity.
source works in Australia, ensuring they cover - Our environment shape our identity.
advantages and limitations. - Students are to select and respond to one of
- Hydro Energy the following prompts in relation to the concept
- Wind Engery Blue Wedges: of Encountering Conflict. Students can write

- Ocean Energy http://www. in an expository or creative style and must

- Bioenergy refer directly to the people, events or issues in
- Solar Energy Frackman in their response:
- Geothermal Energy - Imbalances in power lead to conflict
Suggested site for students to begin their re- - Conflict often arises from miscommunication
search: Fight For the Reef: - In conflicts often some gain at the expense
energy/resources/other-renewable-energy-re- https://fightforthereef. of others
sources. Students are encouraged to research - The human spirit grows strong by conflict.
- There are few winners in conflict
- One single voice can represent many in References
times of conflict
- The strength of someone is shown in
times of conflict
- Conflict occurs when the powerful con- ing-the-natural-gas-fracking-controversy/?_r=0
quer the powerless.
- The following are general writing tasks for What-is-unconventional-gas
students to complete after viewing the docu-
mentary. Ensure students draw on the peo-
ple, events and issues in Frackman in their lic-fracking-2014-7?op=1#fracking-is-used-to-extract-oil-and-gas-
response: from-shale-reservoirs-more-than-a-mile-below-the-surface-the-
- Write a series of diary entries from the per- first-step-involves-drilling-down-into-the-hydrocarbon-reservoir-1
spective of either Dayne, Wendy, or one of
the Blockies (e.g. Narelle, Debbie, Wayne).
Begin the entries from the time when it first news/2010/10/101022-breaking-fuel-from-the-rock/
becomes apparent that there is an issue with
the gas wells and follow it through to the end queensland-indigenous-group-appeals-united-nations-mining-land
of the documentary.
- Write a series of emails from Dayne to Wendy photo-essay-studying-frackings-effects-up-close-and-personal/
(before she comes to join him in Australia).
Refer to their respective fears about what coal
seam gas is doing to their environment and fracking-banned-for-five-years-by-tasmanian-government/6265378
the hopes they have for the future.
- Write a letter from Dayne to QGC are-fracturing-an-oklahoma-community-20150227-13p7ss.html
(Queensland Gas Company) following his de-
cision to sell his property. Refer to the events
from Frackman and Daynes feelings about
having to leave his home. gladstone-bags-a-fracking-fuss/story-e6frg9lx-1226064420003

This study guide was produced by ATOM. ( ATOM 2015)

ISBN: 978-1-74295-597-1
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