Night Owl, Morning Magpie: YEAR 1 - Science - Engage

One night, Little J hears the nocturnal Barking Owl and becomes fascinated by how the owl stays awake at night. In the morning, he is woken by the carolling of magpies and on the way to school, he is swooped by Maggie, the magpie. Miss Chen teaches the class about nocturnal animals.

Engage - Pose and respond to questions, and make predictions about familiar objects and events


Revisit the story of Little J & Big Cuz, Episode 13 ‘Night Owl and Morning Maggie’, and have students focus on the magpie family. Ask students if they have been ‘swooped’ or ‘attacked’ by a magpie. If students have, invite them to share the experience with the class.

Have the class predict why the magpie attacked a person and what season would be the most likely time for the attack. View a clip showing an actual magpie attack, such as:

After viewing the clips, question students about the information provided: why? when? and where the magpies attack?, and what precautions people should take?. Identify that magpie’s nest and give birth to their young in spring.

Discover what students already know about the seasons and predict typical animal behaviour in each season, e.g. Spring – birth, Autumn – store food for the winter/build nests, Winter – hibernate/mate, Summer – grow.

Divide the class into groups and ask each group to select a season. Have the class nominate five Australian animals, one from each group – birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, arachnids, or arthropods, etc. Using a concept or mind map have students explore what each of their five animals does during the season they nominated. As a class, combine the concept maps, and match up the information and order the seasonal behaviours.

Additionally, groups could look at the Aboriginal peoples seasonal calendars and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples seasonal calendars and align their selected animals and the animals’ behaviours with each season:

Suggested seasonal calendar resources:

Take the class outside and make observations in the school environment. Ask students to predict, record, and/or photograph native animals that may live in the school environment; the types of nests/homes of animals in the ‘school yard’ e.g. bird nests in trees, ants’ nests, spider webs, rat/mouse holes, snails, worms, beetles, etc., and plants and animals that are typical of the current season.

Have students pose and respond to questions about how the season change the environment, and? How animals live and behave in the current season? (Refer to Aboriginal seasonal calendars and/or Torres Strait Islander seasonal calendars as well as non-Indigenous seasonal calendars).

Set up a class chart or calendar (physical or digital) to record the seasonal changes over the course of the year with selected students responsible for aspects of the data. Choose data that will show the most variation in the local area , e.g. weather patterns, temperature and humidity, rain gauge, pollen level, visual observation of the land and plants, UV indicator, prevalence of seasonal animals, times for dawn and dusk, wind direction and strength or tide times (if appropriate).

Use the morning sessions to discuss the observations and data being collected. Periodically, compare the student observations with recordings from the Bureau of Meteorology. Introduce students to the instruments required to make accurate records.

**Teachers note: The above Aboriginal peoples’ seasonal calendars could also be used here.

Have students enter their data and research about animals and their seasonal behaviours into their science journal.

A science journal is a record of a students’ observations, experiences and reflections. Each entry is dated and annotated by the student. Annotations may include written labels, drawings, diagrams, charts, small specimens, photographs, and graphs. Student engagement and learning is evident in the science journal.”

Sourced from: Primary Connections, Linking science with literacy