Hopalong: FOUNDATION - Science- Elaborate

When B-Boy comes to stay overnight, Little J becomes envious of the attention he is getting from everyone. Out walking on Country, Nanna, Little J, Big Cuz and B-Boy find an injured joey. Uncle Mick, a Search and Rescue officer, tells them how to care for the joey that they name ‘Hopalong’. The children feed and look after Hopalong until Mick finds him a place in a wildlife shelter.

Elaborate - Explore changes in the world around them and engage in discussions about observations and represent ideas

Theme - WATER

As a class, revisit Little J’s story within episode 7, ‘Hopalong’, and ask students to recall what type of animal Hopalong was and how the family rescued and cared for it.

Access information, stories and images about water and waterholes in the local area, and pertaining to the students’ ‘on Country’ experiences.

Read a picture book to students as an introduction to the topic ‘Water’. ab.  Suggested resources::

Access images of Aboriginal art and/or Torres Strait Islander art representing waterholes from the National Gallery of Australia:

Compare the similarities and differences for how each artist has used symbols to represent the waterholes of their land. Have students think about and recognise how important water and knowing about and finding waterholes on Country is for Aboriginal peoples and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples.

As a class, ask students to respond to questions such as:

  • Where does water come from? Why is water important? What do we use water for?
  • What does flood mean? What causes a flood? How does a flood affect our lives and the lives of other animals?
  • What does drought mean? What causes a drought? How does a drought affect our lives and the lives of other animals?

 These artists and images are not at the URL given – that’s a general opening page. The right pages will need to be found and linked.

Conduct the following experiment.

Testing the impact of rain, drought and flood on plants

In the classroom, place three small plants in pots on a tray, somewhere bright but out of direct sunlight and, where students can observe them. Quick-growing small seedlings of herbs such as coriander or chives are preferable.

  • Label one pot: RAINFALL
  • Label one pot: DROUGHT
  • Label one pot: FLOOD (Place this pot in a plastic tub that you can fill with water.)

To start the experiment, have students measure 100ml of water into a small plastic jug and water one of the three plants with it. Repeat the same water measurement for all three pots.

Instructions for watering the three plants during the two weeks of experiment:

  • For the RAINFALL plant, water with 100ml twice a week (e.g. Tuesday & Friday or Monday & Thursday).
  • For the DROUGHT plant, never water after the first watering.
  • For the FLOOD plant, water it with 100ml at first, then pour enough water into the plastic tub the plant is placed in until the tub is full. Keep the tub full. The aim is to keep the soil around the roots underwater all the time.

Make an observation chart.
Create a chart with three columns (for the plants) and fourteen rows (one row for each day of the week for two weeks). The type of data to record will include height of plant, number of leaves, and observations about its health, such as ‘Its leaves are green/yellow/brown’.

Observe the plants and record data over the course of two weeks. Have students

  • record their observations as drawings at the beginning and at the end of the experiment.
  • conclude what is the right amount of water to sustain the life of a plant, and why animals need plants in order to live.

Teacher tip:

What’s happening in this experiment?

  • Generally, the ‘rainfall’ plant should remain healthy. The drought plant will start to wilt and gradually lose bulk – it produces less food for animals. The ‘Flood’ plant should be fine for a few days but then it will start to turn yellow or wilt. There are two reasons for these changes:
    1. because the roots when kept entirely under water are starved of oxygen.
    2. because soil with air gaps between its particles allows a healthy population of microbes to live in these gaps and exchange nutrients with the plant roots, making the plant healthier. Riparian plants that live in submerged soil (rice, bulrushes) have adaptations to avoid these problems.