Goanna ate my homework: YEAR 1-Science-Explore

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.

Explore - Participate in guided investigations to explore and answer questions

Theme - FAUNA

Excursion: Take the class to local bushland or the school nature area. As the class walks through the area, ask them to stay very quiet and listen to the bush. At a designated place, have students describe what they hear, e.g. the wind, the leaves rustling, insects, birds, water, human sounds (living and non-living), etc. Record the sounds and take digital photos of any insects, animals or birds, or other signs of live activity. Find evidence of the habitat, including different leaves, seeds, flowers, feathers, soils, stones, shells, moss, etc. Photo evidence of birds, bees, grasses, trees, foliage, nests, land formations, watercourses, etc. Talk about the idea of listening to Country, which signal changes in time/seasons/weather and the arrival of particular animals/plants, etc.

Resources include:

Back in the classroom, lay out on a large sheet what students collected as evidence of the environment. Ask them to group their specimens by ‘living’ and ‘non-living’, animal, plant, mineral, and other sub-groups that the students see as possible groups.

Reflect on the success or otherwise of finding animals and birds in the chosen environment. Print and mount the excursion photographs, with appropriate labels. Talk with students about what animals may live in the environment that they didn’t see. Ask them about possible strategies to find information about animals living in the environment.

Incursion or excursion

Invite a wildlife officer to school to talk with the students about local native animals, and/or have them take students for a walk to show them what animals live there and how to know.

Later, ask students to nominate the animals they learnt about through the excursion and/or incursion. Then, allocate these animals to small groups of students to research more information on, and develop a specimen card for each animal. The specimen card could have the common name, species name, image, where commonly found in Australia, what the animal eats, poisonous/non-poisonous, etc. Create another set of specimen cards for local/native plants.

Find pictures of animals and birds. As a class, discuss whether the pictured animal or bird is ‘Indigenous/native’ or ‘non-Indigenous/non-native’ and determine the definition of the categories.

Resources for native species:

From leaves collected on the excursion to bushland or from the school environment, students could create a class collage with printed leaves and actual leaves. Thinly paint one side of the ‘dead’ leaves and print these on a large sheet of cardboard. Glue actual leaves onto the surface once the printed impressions dry.

Alternatively, students could design and create a Dhari (headdress) using their collected leaves. Refer to

Queensland Museum – Dhari (headdress):