Night Owl, Morning Magpie: YEAR 2 - Maths - Explore

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.

Explore - Name and order months and seasons. Use a calendar to identify the date and determine the number of days in each month


Re-watch Little J & Big Cuz, Episode 13 ‘Night Owl and Morning Maggie’, and draw students’ attention to the magpie nest and nanna’s story about the protection of the nest by the father magpie, and his feeding the baby birds.

Exploring the Western seasons:

Ask students to identify and explain (in their own understanding):

  1. What are the names all four Western seasons (winter, spring, autumn, summer)?
  2. Which Western season comes first in a calendar year (January – summer)?
  3. Which months of the year are recognised as belonging to each of the Western seasons?
  4. When are the changeover date for the Western seasons?
  • On the Greco-Roman calendar, the Western seasons lasts for three months, and a new season is marked to start on the first day of the new month. The timing of the seasons corresponds to the astronomical calendar (solstice & equinox).
  • For example, in Australia
    • Summer: December Solstice - starts December 1 and ends February 28
    • Autumn: March Equinox - starts March 1 and ends May 31
    • Winter: June Solstice - starts June 1 and ends August 31
    • Spring: September Equinox - starts September 1 and ends November 30
    • Because the dates of the equinoxes and solstices can change, the length of astronomical seasons within a year and between years can vary.
  • Suggested resources:

Have students suggest what ‘season’ of the year they think it may be at present, e.g. spring. Have students discuss and describe what they think spring looks like, feels like, smells like, and sounds like.

Ask students to draw a picture that illustrates their ideas of ‘spring’. Display the artworks and have students share their justifications for using common symbols e.g. flowers, sunny day, green hills, bees, birds, play outdoors, etc. Ask students if this image is what they actually experience of spring where they live.

Use a calendar and a world globe/map to indicate the months of each season in Australia and all countries in the southern hemisphere. Explain that whatever happens in the southern hemisphere is opposite in the northern hemisphere, e.g. winter in Australia occurs at the same time as summer in the UK. Using the globe/map to demonstrate the tilt of the earth on its axis around the sun.

Suggested resources include:

Have students use a circle (Season Wheel template), divided into twelve parts (like a clock), to list the names of the months. Ask students to indicate and illustrate the Western seasons against the corresponding months of the year.

Exploring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander seasons:

  • For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island seasons, each season lasts for a different length of time – you can tell what season it is by the change in climate and what is happening to flora and fauna ‘on Country’.

Access the following websites to show students that Aboriginal peoples and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples identify different seasons in different parts of Australia. As a class, investigate the numerous seasonal calendars, and have students suggest why the seasons in Australia would be various and different from top to bottom. Use a selection of calendars for students and references as teacher resources, such as:

Ask students to identify and explain (in their own understanding):

  1. What are the names and number of the Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander seasons for the local area?
  2. Which Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander season comes first in a calendar year (January)?
  3. Which calendar months of the year are recognised as belonging to each Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander season?
  4. How do Aboriginal peoples or Torres Strait Islander peoples know when the season is changing?
  5. How does the climate influence a change of season?
  • Use the I See, I Think, I Wonder strategy to imagine life in different seasons and in different locations of Australia. Use Google maps to randomly select a location for students to find out more information about the seasons experienced there. Access Indigenous weather knowledge, Bureau of Meteorology to assist with traditional knowledge.

Place a Western ‘seasonal circle’ of the 12 calendar months divided and colour coded for the corresponding four seasons, into the centre of a larger circle. Using the six seasons of the Gariwerd people or Binni people, or the other seasonal calendars of the Yolgnu people and Noongar people, have students divide the larger circle into six parts and label and colour code the corresponding seasons. Display each students’ Australian Seasonal Calendars to share with others.

Access examples of Aboriginal artworks and/or Torres Strait Islander artworks based on the seasons. Aboriginal peoples and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples use different seasonal calendars depending on their geographic location. As a class, discuss how the artists present their ideas of experiencing these seasons:

Invite students to compare how they illustrated a Western season to how these artists have illustrated their Aboriginal seasons or Torres Strait Islander seasons.

Encourage students to read books about Aboriginal seasons and/or Torres Strait Islander seasons and exploring on Country during various seasons. A selection of books could include:

  • Baker, J.  (1989).  Where the forest meets the sea.  London :  Walker Books. (animation– or video)
  • Burarrwanga, L. & Ganambarr, Ri. & Ganambarr-Stubbs, M. & Ganambarr, B. & Maymuru, D. & Wright, S. & Suchet-Pearson, S. & Lloyd, K.  (2013).  Welcome to my country.  Crows Nest, NSW :  Allen & Unwin
  • Christophersen, J. & Christophersen, C.  (2007).  Kakadu calling : stories for kids.  Broome, W. A :  Magabala Books
  • Germein, K. & Bancroft, B.  (2002).  Big rain coming.  Camberwell, Vic :  Puffin Books 
  • Kwaymullina, E. & Morgan, S.  (2011).  My country.  North Fremantle, WA :  Fremantle Press
  • Lalara, R. & Lalara, A.  (2014).  Yirruwa Yirrilikenuma-langwa : when we go walkabout.  Crows Nest, NSW :  Allen & Unwin
  • Lucas, D. E. & Searle, K.  (2003).  Walking with the seasons in Kakadu.  Crows Nest, NSW : Allen & Unwin – Teachers’ Notes
  • Morgan, S. & Kwaymullina, E. & Smith, C.  (2014).  Going bush with grandpa.  Parkside, SA :  Omnibus Books – Teachers' Notes 
  • Murphy, J. & Kennedy, L.  (2016).  Welcome to country.  Newtown, NSW :  Black Dog Books, an imprint of Walker Books Australia Pty Ltd
  • Oodgeroo Noonuccal. & Bancroft, B.  (1999).  Stradbroke dreamtime.  Pymble, NSW :  Angus & Robertson
  • Wheatley, N. & Searle, K. & Huggins, J.  (2011).  Playground : listening to stories from country and from inside the heart.  Crows Nest, NSW :Allen & Unwin