Goanna ate my homework: YEAR 2 - Science - Elaborate

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.

Elaborate - Represent and communicate observations and ideas in a variety of ways

Theme - FAUNA

In Little J & Big Cuz, Episode 5 ‘Goanna ate my homework’, Little J recognised that the greedy goanna had eaten his emu eggs. It is obvious in the story that the goanna eats emu eggs, and the emu eats other foods in the environment. 

Discuss with students the difference between a ‘carnivore’ and ‘herbivore’ animal: those that eat meat and those that eat vegetation. Resources include:

Ask students to list several Australian native animals and label them as either carnivore or herbivore.

Divide the class into two teams: the carnivores and the herbivores. Each member of the groups is to select a native Australian animal that is identified as belonging to the team name.

Have students research information about the animal, based on this list:

  • Common and scientific name of the animal
  • Species/phyla
  • Description of the animal
  • How their young are born
  • The type of habitat they need to live, and areas of Australia where they can be found.
  • The food/s the eat
  • Special characteristics
  • Which animal is their main predator?
  • If the animal is endangered, threatened, abundant, and why?
  • Images of the variation in species

Suggested resource:

Ask each group to upload each report into a central file. As a group, the students can then use suggested sub headings to re-organise the information:

  • Marsupials, amphibians, fish, birds, etc.
  • Endangered, threatened, abundant, etc.
  • Large, medium, small animals, etc.
  • Forest, desert, reef, grassland, rainforest, etc.

Identify pairs of animals that are predator/prey, based on the list of animals created by the students. Randomly allocate a predator or a prey to each student and then ask the students to find the partner who has the matching animal. Some predator/prey combinations might be: goanna/emu, white pointer shark/penguins or seals, dingo/quoll or bilby, echidna/ants or termites, etc.

Ask the students to work as a pair to develop a life cycle diagram that shows how the animals are interrelated. They should include the other animals and plants that may feed on their animals or that their animals may feed on.

Suggested resources:

As a class, play ‘Hot-seat’:

  1. Organise the students into two teams (carnivores or herbivores). Each student in the teams is considered ‘an expert scientist’ on their particular Australian animal.
  2. An expert is invited to sit in a chair at the front of the class.
  3. Students in the opposing team try to guess what the animal is. They can ask five questions of the expert to find out what the animal was. The expert must answer the questions truthfully about the animal the expert researched.
  4. If students in the opposing team correctly guess what the animal is, their team gets a point.
  5. Each group of students takes turns on putting an expert in the hot seat.
  6. When all the experts have been put in the hot seat, tally the points to find the winning team.
  7. Evaluate what students learned from the game.