Transformation: FOUNDATION - HASS - Explain

Little J finds a Hawk Moth caterpillar on the Tar vine in the backyard that he names ‘Sausage’. He wants to take it to school but the caterpillar has other ideas and disappears underground. Nanna teaches Little J the story about the Yeperenye caterpillar of the Arrernte people from central Australia. Sausage finally returns to give Little J a further lesson on life cycles. Sissy wants to perform a dance for the school with Big Cuz, but Big Cuz feels ‘shame’.

Explain - Collect data and information from observations and identify information and data from sources provided


After viewing Little J & Big Cuz, Episode 10 ‘Transformation’, and ask students to identify parts of the story focused on place and perspective in the many individual stories about each character.

Pose the following questions to the class:

  • Can stories tell us about how people lived in the past? How?
  • Can objects connect stories of people from the past to the present? How?
  1. Read/view the Dhui Dhui story of the Bandjin people (in the Great Barrier Reef).  The story tells the Dhui Dhui origin story of the Southern Cross (the shovelnose ray) and the two Pointer stars (the two boys in the canoe). The story is also published in Language, Totems & Stories by Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority,
  2.  An indigenous story: 'The Be' (ABC Splash):!/media/105266/-the-be-the Gunaikurnai origin story of the Southern Cross and Moon. The story tells of the mighty warrior Narran hunting Ngooran (the emu) and how they became the Moon and the Southern Cross.
  3. Mirabooka origin story of the Southern Cross: The story tells of the Good Spirit, Biame, who gave Mirabooka a spirit form and placed him in the sky (the stars of the Southern Cross constellation) to watch over the tribes he loved forever.
  4. Boorung people’s origin story of the Southern Cross: The story tells of a Bunya, the possum that became the Southern Cross.

These are four different stories told by four different Aboriginal groups about the same celestial object. Have students discuss how and why the stories provide different ‘perspectives’.

Bring an object/s into the classroom, such as a soccer ball, a piece of Lego, a toy dog, and/or a photo of the Queen. In pairs, have students construct a story about a selected object, and share the story with the class. Ask students to examine why and how each group tells their story. What factors influence how the story is constructed, e.g. gender, whether you know who/what the object is, previous experiences with the object, etc.

Examine an image of the Southern Cross constellation using either Australian Indigenous Astronomy, Australian Aboriginal Astronomy and Cosmology (PDF) or the Star Chart app and ask students if they can identify the Southern Cross in the sky on the star chart. Have students explain what they know about the constellation. Introduce students to science information about the constellation and who was the first Westerner (scientist-astronomer) to plot the constellation on a star chart.

Southern Cross resources include:

Divide students into smaller groups and designate each group to find an image of an object that uses the Southern Cross on it, such as:

  • The Australian Flag
  • The Eureka Stockade flag
  • Australian Cricket team uniform
  • Miss Australia Trophy
    among others …

Ask students to explain how the use of an image of the Southern Cross would means to Australians (and New Zealanders).

Suggested resource: Southern Cross