Nothing Scares Me: YEAR 1 - Visual Arts - Explain

Old Dog and Elly fear goannas, Ms Chen fears geckos, and Big Cuz fears the dentist. Little J boasts he isn’t scared of anything, but this may not be true. When Mick, Ally, Little J and Old Dog go to the beach, Little J discovers that his hero, Mick, is scared of Hermit crabs. Together, on the cliff, Mick and Little J overcome their shame of being afraid and help each other to be brave.

Explain - Respond to visual artworks and consider where and why people make visual artworks, starting with visual artworks from Australia, including visual artworks of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.


Revisit the events of Little J & Big Cuz, Episode 11 ‘Nothing Scares Me’, and have students concentrate on the animals that the characters were afraid of, such as a goanna, a gecko, and hermit crabs. Quiz students on why these animals were feared – their appearance and physical features, size, behaviours, colour, texture, or potential to harm a person if frightened themselves.

Revisit the visual design elements: line, colour, shape, texture, space and form. Refer to The Arts Glossary in the Australian Curriculum for definitions of each term:

Examine a selection of Aboriginal artworks and/or Torres Strait Islander artworks depicting a goanna, and have students explain how the artist has emphasised one or more design element/s.

Explain how, in most artworks, two or more of these design elements are combined to make an art image and/or an art object. Select a couple of the artworks below and have students explore how the artists have used line, shape and texture in their artworks.

In pairs, use the I see, I think, I wonder visual thinking strategy and have students examine selected artworks/compositions to find and explain a cultural narrative for each. Students could pose questions about the shape and size of the goanna/s, why and how they are grouped in the composition, where the goanna is, what is happening to the goanna, and if there are any other subjects/animals in the composition.

Investigate the Dreaming story about Dirawong the Goanna spirit of the Bundjalung People (Evans Head, NSW) or Girawu The Goanna (animation), Dreamtime Stories:


Invite a local Aboriginal Elder/recognised representative and/or Torres Strait Islander Elder/ recognised representative to visit the class to describe the painting and carving techniques, materials and technologies their people traditionally used to record traditional stories, including those about animals. Have students ask specific questions about the stories and beliefs of the tribe.

Following the visit, discuss the stories the guest speaker told and revise the messages and/or morals. Provide opportunities for students to retell these and other Aboriginal Dreaming stories or Torres Strait Islander Bipo Bip Taim (Before Before Time).

Ask students to find other Aboriginal artworks and/or Torres Strait Islander artworks that give a message about fear or courage as in the Aboriginal Dreaming stories or Torres Strait Islander Bipo Bip Taim (Before Before Time). The stories may be about animals or humans interacting within the environment, or teaching a message and/or moral about how children should behave.

View and discuss a range of examples of Aboriginal Art and/or Torres Strait Islander Art. Talk about the content of the pictures (many artworks tell stories about the artist’s environment and way of life), and the style of painting e.g. use of symbols, use of lines, dots, cross hatching, x-ray designs, etc. Discuss how both artists and artworks are from different perspectives.

Display and discuss Australian animals focusing on how and why they are depicted in Aboriginal art and/or Torres Strait Islander art.