Right Under Your Nose: YEAR 1 - Science- Explain

When the power goes off, Big Cuz, Nanna, Little J and Old Dog go to the beach. They use bread to catch hermit crabs, which in turn are used to catch a ‘bluebone’ fish. Big Cuz learns how to fish, Nanna makes a fire to cook the fish, and Little J finds a large clam shell to take to school the next day.

Explain - Use a range of methods to sort information, including drawings and provided tables and through discussion, compare observations with predictions

Theme - BEACH

Revisit Little J & Big Cuz, Episode 4 ‘Right Under Your Nose’, and draw students’ attention to what the beach is made of: Sand. Have students pose questions about what is sand and how it became the foundation of the beach.

Exploration of sand:

Bring to the class, three buckets: one bucket each of (beach) sand, soil, and different coloured pebbles. Lay a waterproof sheet on the floor and pour the soil bucket in a pile in the middle of the sheet. Label this pile as a ‘volcano’.

Tell a story to students about an age a long time before the dinosaurs roamed the earth, when the land had many volcanoes. Invite students to add to the story with information they know about volcanoes.

Continue the story by explaining how large boulders, rocks, and lava are spat out at the time of an eruption and run down to the sea before cooling. Use the bucket of stones/pebbles to illustrate the explosion and the lava trail flowing to the sea.

Explain that over time the sea washes back and forward over the rocks and the lava which touches the sea (take four pebbles in your hands and grind them back and forth). Explain how the boulders, rocks, and lava are ground down, washed, and scattered far and wide with tides before being deposited back on the shore line. Take the sand bucket and pour the sand around the edge of the sheet. View the video clip, What the Heck Is Sand?

“Sometimes the colour of a beach is not just dependent on hinterland geology, but also on organisms living in the water, says Daniel. Some Australian beaches are made up of the tiny fragments of broken up coral and the skeletal remains of sea-creatures.

 ‘Why are some beaches more golden than others?  Dr Richard Daniel, University of Adelaide,

Have students examine the sand closely and, if possible, look through a microscope to observe the different shapes and crystallisation of the grains. Invite students to suggest why we use the word ‘grain’ to describe sand. Look at various microscopic images of sand and have students draw and colour different shapes. Additional information can be found at:

Introduce students to Aboriginal stories and/or Torres Strait Islander stories of coloured sand, e.g. Coloured Sands (Noosa area, Qld.).

Other stories about the use of sand in culture, include:

  • James, M. & Paterson, W.  (2014). Nana dig in red sand.  Alice Springs, NT :  Honey Ant Readers
  • Oliver, N.  (1999). Sand swimmers: the secret life of Australia's dead heart.  Port Melbourne :  Lothian

Have students touch the pebbles and sand, and create a list of questions they are curious about sand (the what, how, and why questions), such as:

  • Why is sand different colours?
  • Why is sand different shapes and sizes?
  • What (industry) is sand used for?
  • How does sand assist the beach ecosystem?
  • Which animals make their home in the sand?
  • Which plants grow in sand?

Divide the class into smaller groups and allocate one question per group. Each group completes and presents a short report/poster presentation for the class. Each student enters their findings in their Science Journal together with images of the marine environment and animals that live in the beach ecosystem.