Goanna ate my homework: YEAR 2 - HASS- 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 - Collect data and information from observations and identify information
Theme - IDENTITY
Read or view Dreaming stories from (local) Aboriginal peoples and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples about the spiritual animals specific to the students’ places. From the stories, introduce the concept of totems.
Suggested references include:
- Religion and ceremony
- Dreamtime Story
- Rainbow Serpent story
- The Rainbow Serpent
- Rainbow Serpent Dreamtime story
- Aboriginal Dreamtime story
- Aboriginal totems
Discuss with students how plant and animal totems identify each language group and that all members of the group must become the protectors of that plant or animal.
Access examples of Aboriginal art and/or Torres Strait Islander art for students to identify the storylines about Country and how the totem plant or animal is represented as part of Country.
Some sources of information about symbols used in Aboriginal artwork and/or Torres Strait Islander artwork can be found here:
Incursion: Invite an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander artist, dancer or musician to visit the class and demonstrate how they represent their culture, land, stories and totems in their art, dance or music. The artist could be invited to explain the symbols (and general symbology) they use to represent plants and animals, and the meaning in their works. Discuss and clarify the meaning of the term ‘symbol’, as a sign, image or text that represents a physical form or living thing.
Please note: Some dance moves are only allowed to be performed by certain people (depending on gender, age, initiation status, etc.). If you want students to replicate any of these moves in the videos, it is important to check protocols with the local Elders and community.
View a selection of the video resources for Aboriginal traditional dances and/or Torres Strait Islander traditional dances and music. For example:
- Aboriginal emu dance
- Aboriginal dance 1
- Aboriginal dance 2
- Australian Aboriginal crane dance
- Kangaroo dance
- Torres Strait dance at Creswell
- Bangarra Dance Theatre and C-Gen
Discuss how the dancers and musicians symbolise the movements of animals and storylines through their movements and their music. Have students observe and compare the movement of the dancers or the music to the movement of the actual animal. Here are some examples:
In Little J & Big Cuz, Episode 1 ‘Goanna ate my homework’, Little J, Nanna and Big Cuz track kangaroo, echidna, emu, and goanna. Divide the class into groups and each group selects either kangaroo, echidna, emu, or goanna. Have each group create their own movements of their selected animal totem, and choreograph a one-minute group dance. They can use traditional music or contemporary music, or make their own music with voice and instruments. When performed, other groups should guess which animal they are watching the group perform. Have students in the group explain how and why they used the movements they did in the dance and what the movements symbolise.