Goanna ate my homework: YEAR 1-Science-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 - Compare observations with those of others

Theme - FLORA

Re-watch Little J & Big Cuz, Episode 1 ‘Goanna ate my homework’, and concentrate on the contents of Little J’s collection box. Ask students to identify what he had collected, and what evidence he had: Magpie feather, Budgerigar feather, emu egg shells, Bush tomato/Lillypilly (bush tucker twig with red berries), emu feather.

Goanna Ate My Homework’Invite students to play the Little J's Collection game on the Little J & Big Cuz website.

Have students suggest where Little J would find these specimens. Ask students to pose questions about if these specimens are native to the Australian environment, or not. Students may struggle with identifying the plant specimen.

Resources to use

Take a walk around the school to identify Australian native plants, and those that are non-native. If possible, take a specimen of the leaves, seed pods, bark, grasses, etc. and bring them back to the classroom. Obtain a map of the school and have the class identify where the native plants are and the non-native plants. Ask students to consider where the non-native plants came from and who may have planted them and why.

Use these resources to support student findings:

Books to read or view

Ask students to identify their favourite flower. Make a list of these and identify if these are native or non-native. For homework, ask students to examine their garden at home; take photos or draw the design of the garden and/or a plant/s. Return to school with a leaf &/or flower specimen. Can they identify which are native and which are non-native?

Have students examine a selection or plants that are Australian Natives and those that are non-native.

Arrange four vases (or individual vials/bottles). Label the four vases:

  • native plants with water
  • non-native plants with water
  • native plants without water
  • non-native plants without water

Have students hypothesise about the survival rates of both sets of plants. Therefore, which set will last the longest, and which individual plants survive the longest. Over the period of 1–2 weeks, have students record or photograph the condition of each plant in each vase.

At the end of the time, as a class, make conclusions about the plant that survived longest and the plant that survived least, the strongest group, the weakest group, etc. Compare the state of the native plants with the state of the non-native plants. Ask students to develop an explanation based on agreed criteria for the survival of the last plant: classification of plant, size of stem, type of leaf, colour, etc. Have students record the experiment and share their findings with others.