Goanna ate my homework: FOUNDATION-HASS-Explain

Little J shares his bird feather collection with B-Boy. In school, Little J promises to find bush tucker to share with the class. The problem is that he doesn’t know how to find bush tucker. He enrols the help of Big Cuz and Nanna to teach him ‘proper way’ to identify and track animals. The group finds emu eggs but overnight a greedy goanna eats them. Nanna comes to the rescue by making spaghetti bolognaise for the class.

Explain - Interpret data and information displayed in pictures and texts and on maps

Theme - PLACE

Enquire from students what makes a place special for them. List the places students identify as special, e.g. school, home, the shops, the park, etc. List the student suggestions on the board or IWB.

Read or view these or other picture books about special places:

  • Baker, J.  (1989). Where the forest meets the sea.  London:  Walker Books
  • Burarrwanga, L. & Ganambarr, R. & Ganambarr-Stubbs, M. & Ganambarr, B. & Maymuru, D. & Wright, S. & Suchet-Pearson, S. & Lloyd, K.  (2013). Welcome to my country.  Crows Nest, NSW:  Allen & Unwin
  • Hughes, S. (1999). Sally’s secret. London : Random House Children’s Books
  • Ndjébbana Community. & Thompson, L.  (2010). Turtle dreaming: a story from Maningrida Community.  Port Melbourne, Vic :  Pearson Library
  • Stewart, S. & Small, D. (2012). The quiet place. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
  • Wheatley, N. & Rawlins, D.  (2008). My Place.  Newtown, N.S.W:  Walker Books Australia  (Nadia Wheatley reading the book, YouTube)

Ask students to select a specific, special place in their world and share why it is special to them with a friend. Have students find another person in the class with the same/similar place. Ask each grouping to share with the rest of the class why their place is special to them. Students could accompany their talk with a photo image of the special place. Ask students about how it would feel if someone/something destroyed or restricted access to their special place.


Invite an Aboriginal Elder and/or Torres Strait Islander Elder or their representative to visit the class and talk to the students about special ‘Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Places or sites’ in the local area. Allow students to develop a set of questions they want to know about each place.


Organise an excursion to the local park or bushland area that has significance to Aboriginal peoples and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples in the area. Provide each student with a map of the area they are visiting. Ask them to find five key sites. On the excursion, students mark where these special sites are located. Have students observe other features and mark these on the map also. Invite students to learn a traditional Songline or story to share when navigating across Country.

Provide students with a traditional symbol map to see which groups can follow it. Alternatively, have students create their own symbol map.

Back at school, discuss their experience of the special places. Question students about what they observed, the colours of the landscape, the features, flora, fauna, markings on trees, grasses, etc. Ask students if they had visited this place before and noticed these features. Make sure that the key question, ‘Why is it special?’ is addressed.