Transformation: FOUNDATION - Science - Elaborate

In the backyard, Little J finds a Hawk Moth caterpillar on the Tar vine that he names ‘Sausage’. He wants to take Sausage 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’.

Elaborate - Explore change in the world around them, and use their senses to gather different types of information

Theme - TIME

After viewing Little J & Big Cuz, Episode 10 ‘Transformation’, engage students with the following learning activities to support their understanding about time, and seasonal change.

Prior to the activity, investigate the times for sunrise and sunset time for your area. If in Western Australia, use Solar/lunar twilight calculator for Western Australia. Enter the name of your local town or, if remote, your latitude and longitude, to upload a table of the sunrise and sunset for the whole year.

Provide a copy of the times for students and direct the class how to find the current date in the sunrise/sunset tables. Explain how to read the time the Sun rose today and when it will set. Show students these times on a classroom clock. Explore the concept of the times of the day. Discuss what the students were doing at sunrise and sunset. Explore how the daylight hours aren’t the same all year round (Is it always dark when you go to bed?). Count the hours from sunrise to sunset today (e.g. from 5:16 to 18:54 is roughly 14 hours).

Ask students to choose events and actions that make connections with students’ everyday family routines. Have students develop a ‘data chart’ listing:

the sunrise and sunset times for a week a selected day, in a different season,  with very different daylight hours  

Provide students with the data to make a ‘simple bar graph’ showing the number of daylight hours at four days/points in the year for the local area, e.g.

  • 22 December – the longest day, or summer solstice
  • 20 March – equal day and night hours, or the autumn equinox
  • 21 June – the shortest day, or winter solstice
  • 23 September – equal day and night hours, or the spring equinox


Make a sundial to show the time of day and explain why and how the shadow moves throughout the day.

  1. Divide the students into four groups and ask each group to construct a class sundial and track observations of the Sun over time. Each group can set up their sundial at the four compass points of the school.
  2. Have the groups select an object/stick – something that will not move, such as a tree, fencepost or goalpost with open space around it so that the shadow can clearly be seen on the ground.
  3. At the tip of the shadow on the ground, have the nominated groups place a marker on the ground with today’s date and time. Take a photo from the base of the object towards the label. Measure from the base of the object to the tip of the shadow.
  4. Record all the data on a chart so that all groups can see and compare the data. Take photographs of the sundial at different times to record the data.
  5. Have the groups return to the same spot each day at a different time for a week or month.
  6. As a class, develop a time scale from the markings and have students predict what the times of the day could be from the shadows of the sundial. Compare the data and the photographs, and discuss how the arc (track) of the Sun varies through the year because of the Earth’s elliptical orbit.

Have students enter their data and research about animals and their seasonal behaviours into their science journal.

A science journal is a record of a students’ observations, experiences and reflections. Each entry is dated and annotated by the student. Annotations may include written labels, drawings, diagrams, charts, small specimens, photographs, and graphs. Student engagement and learning is evident in the science journal.”

Sourced from: Primary Connections, Linking science with literacy