Nothing Scares Me: YEAR 2 - HPE - Engage

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.

Engage - Practise strategies they can use when they feel uncomfortable, unsafe or need help with a task, problem or situation


After viewing Little J & Big Cuz, Episode 11 ‘Nothing Scares Me’, engage students with the following learning activities to support their understanding about phobias, and how to overcome them.

As a class, revisit Little J’s story within Episode 11 ‘Nothing Scares Me’, and ask students to recall the time that Little J was fearful of climbing the rope frame at school. Using the ‘I See, I Think, I Wonder’ visual thinking strategy, engage students with understanding what fear to them looks like, feels like, and sounds like.

Access the animation sections where Little J is scared of climbing the rope and the cliff, and analyse his appearance and voice. Access other parts of the episode when Old Dog, Elly, Uncle Mick, and Big Cuz are also fearful. Have students suggest the avoidance or defence actions/strategies adopted by the characters in this incident and/or the episode.

As a class, discuss what it feels like to be ‘afraid’. Play a ‘Freeze-Frame game where students act out various scenarios about their fears and being scared. Develop a list of cards with the names of living and non-living scary things, such as ‘being alone in the dark’, ‘loud unfamiliar noises’, ‘being left alone in the house’, ‘a barking aggressive dog’, ‘spiders’, ‘heights’, ‘being lost in the bush’, ‘being chased by a mouse/rat’, etc.

Have students stand in rows or a circle so they have space to act out their ‘fear actions’. Allow between 30 secs and 1 min. for each action, then call ‘freeze’. Once stopped, randomly select a student to take one card with another fear written on it, and the class acts out that fear. Take photos of the expressions and the movements of students. Discuss the exaggerated actions, and how the students evoked the feeling of ‘fear’. Display the images.

Discuss the real fears each student evoked in the game. List the fears they suggest and prioritise which fear is the most common. Talk with students about ways they cope with their fears and list these also.

Introduce students to some quotes about fear, and discuss what these quotes mean to the students, and how they can apply these in their lives. Sample quotes include:

“Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself”

                                - Franklin D. Roosevelt’s First Inaugural Address

“It’s OKAY to be scared. Being scared means you’re about to do something really, really brave.”

                                - Mandy Hale

“Saw a little girl touch a big bug and shout, "I conquered my fear! YES!" and calmly walk away. I was inspired.”

                                - Nathan Fillion

“Overcoming what frightens you the most, strengthens you the most.”

                                - Matshona Dhliwayo

Introduce students to examples of poems that describe overcoming fears, such as:

Discuss the imagery each poem evokes for students and which words are the triggers that become a mental image. Source any of the poets’ advice on overcoming fears.

Invite students to write their own short poem about their fears and how to overcome them, and illustrate their poem. Collate all students’ poems and drawings into a class anthology.

Suggested poetry resources: