Territories: FOUNDATION - HASS - Elaborate

A possum disturbs Old Dog, and a ‘cranky’ magpie swoops at anyone who steps into the backyard. Little J and Big Cuz share a room and when Little J steps on Big Cuz’s art project, a disagreement over territory ensues. The result is a clear dividing line to mark their individual territory. But they discover they have to compromise on a shared space, and cooperate in order to move in and out of the room, and to get past the swooping magpie in the backyard. Their joint, inventive solution wins high praise from the class at ‘show & tell’.

Elaborate - Present narratives, information and findings in oral, graphic and written forms using simple terms to denote the passing of time and to describe direction and location

Theme - MAPS

After viewing Little J & Big Cuz, Episode 12 ‘Territories’, engage students with the following activities to support their understanding about place, maps and boundaries.

Introduce students to Aboriginal artworks and/or Torres Strait Islander artworks that depict Country and land/sea features, such as:

Explore the symbols used by Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples to represent important aspects of the landscape, such as billabongs or waterholes, hills and rivers. Suggested resources:

Explain that not all Aboriginal art and/or Torres Strait islander art is the same or made by the same culture, so different symbols may be used to mean the same thing. 

Symbols can also be combined to make complicated meanings. Have students view and explore techniques such as dot paintings, cross hatching, and x-ray. Explore traditional and contemporary artworks to identify other symbols made by people and used for important places, such as shelters, camps and campfires, waterholes or meeting places.

Suggested resources:

Dot paintings

Cross hatching


Take students on a walk around the school grounds with cameras and drawing materials. Provide a series of small items such as counters, bean bags or bottle tops and ask them to think (silently) of a great place where they could hide this ‘treasure’ on the school grounds. (It must be somewhere accessible where other students are allowed to go.)

Allow students time to take photos and make notes about their location. Invite students to create an artwork map using their own symbols influenced by (but not copied from) Aboriginal art and/or Torres Strait Islander art.

Have students share with the class their map and the symbols they used to represent the features of the land. Discuss with students whether an artwork performs the same function as a map. Have students respond to questions about how Aboriginal peoples and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples used their artwork to educate future generations about the land and where to find water and food at different times in the year.