Nothing Scares Me: YEAR 1 - Visual Arts - Explain3

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 and to the visual design conventions: a combination of the design elements used to repetition, space, contrast, focus, etc. Refer to The Arts Glossary in the Australian Curriculum for definitions of each term.

Explain how most artworks incorporate two or more of the design elements and conventions to compose an art image and/or an art object.

Select a couple of the artworks below and have students explore and explain how the artists have used line, shape, colour, texture, space, repetition, contrast and focus 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 should pose questions about the line, shape, colour, and texture of the hermit crab designs.

Read a selection of illustrated story books about hermit crabs, examining how the illustrators have drawn hermit crabs, and what materials and drawing techniques have been used to compose the images. Suggested resources

  • Fox, L. & McGowan, S. (2009). 10 little hermit crabs. Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin.
  • Horowitz, R. & Kiesler, K., (ill.) (2000). Crab moon. Cambridge, Mass: Candlewick Press. 
  • Whatley, B.  (1992).  Looking for crabs.  Pymble, NSW:  Angus & Robertson.

Source the cultural stories from Hermit Crabs, Junior Ranger, Nature Notes, NT Government, that align with the images, and any Dreaming stories and/or Bipo Bipo Taim (Before Before Time) about hermit crab, particularly, the Dreaming story about Juwaning, the hermit crab spirit, of the Larrakia people (Darwin, NT), or Nalvor the crab (Qld).


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

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 Dreaming stories and/or Bipo Bipo Taim (Before Before Time) stories. Ask students to find other Aboriginal artworks and/or Torres Strait Islander artworks that give a message about animals in the Dreaming stories and/or Bipo Bipo Taim (Before Before Time) stories.

View and discuss a range of examples of Aboriginal art and/or Torres Strait Islander art, and 2-Dimensional (2D) or 3-Dimensional (3D) design/art. Have students explain what is different about each of the artworks, and apply their understanding to the purpose of each.

Talk about both artists and artworks from different perspectives of viewing and understanding artworks. Display and discuss pictures of Australian animals focusing on how and why these animals are depicted in Aboriginal art and/or Torres Strait Islander art.