New Tricks: YEAR 1 - HPE - Engage2

Little J dreams of being an acrobat in a circus when he grows up. With the help of Jacko and B-Boy, he practises circus tricks in the backyard after school. Uncle Mick, a search and rescue officer, comes to school to talk about his work. Little J uses his circus skills to demonstrate a search and rescue procedure.

Engage - Recognise situations and opportunities to promote health, safety and wellbeing

Theme - HEROES

After viewing Little J & Big Cuz, Episode 3 ‘New Tricks’, engage students with the following activities to support their understanding about personal and social strengths, safety, search and rescue work.

Have students recall Uncle Mick’s school talk about what a search and rescue officer does. Have students identify the skills needed by Mick to perform his work. List these skills on the board/IWB and prompt students if necessary, e.g. balancing, climbing, swimming, roping, hosing, lassoing, etc.

Ask students to recall the safety equipment used by Uncle Mick in his work, such as life vest, helmet, rope, winch, gloves, etc. List these on the IWB/board for reference. Have students pose questions about why the safety equipment is necessary.

Ask students to list the safety devices used in their own homes, such as oven mittens, safety locks on doors and cupboards, safety switches on kettles, fire extinguishers, child safety locks on car doors, air bags in cars, smoke alarms, hand rails, etc. Ask students to draw a picture of themselves riding a bike, or a skateboard. On the drawing have students label the safety equipment they need to ride the bike or skateboard, such as bike helmet, knee pads, long sleeve shirt, etc.

Have students consider how people have a dog not only for a pet but also for safety, e.g. guide dogs assist the blind, and some dogs assist the elderly with household tasks. Ask students if they can name some famous dogs that have been considered ‘heroic’ and saved people, or helped people. As a class, watch one or more of the following clips which look at how dogs are trained to help frontline services:

Ask students what dog owners need to do to train a dog to perform their rescue work or heroic deeds. Have students imagine if they had a pet dog that did something heroic. Invite students to develop a story that they would tell a newspaper reporter about the dog, and their relationship to the dog.

Students can either record their story as a news clip for the television news, or write/present a short newspaper report. Have students draw an illustration of the dog to go with the story.

To support their understanding of the importance of Search and Rescue dogs, encourage  students to read stories about their heroics, such as

  • Curtis, P., & Cupp, D. (1989). Dogs on the case: Search dogs who help save lives and enforce the law. New York: Lodestar Books.
  • George, C., & George, L. (1998). Search and Rescue Dogs. Bloomington: Edge Books [Imprint.]
  • Patent, D. H., & Muñoz, W. (1994). Hugger to the rescue. New York: Cobblehill Books/Dutton.
  • Ring, E. (1994). Search and rescue dogs: Expert trackers and trailers. Brookfield, Conn: Millbrook Press.

Have students form a reading group where each student shares their thoughts about the dog in the story and their heroic exploits.