Transformation: YEAR 1 - Science - Engage

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 Arrente 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’.

Engage - Pose and respond to questions, and make predictions about familiar objects and events


After viewing Little J & Big Cuz, Episode 10 ‘Transformation’, engage students with the following learning activities to support their understanding about living things and their life cycle.

Ask students to pose and respond to questions about the caterpillar. Direct questions so that students develop a full range of possible inquiries, e.g.,

  • Where was the caterpillar Little J found?
  • What colour and shape was it?
  • Why did the caterpillar disappeared, and how did Little J know it would come back?
  • What did Nanna say to Little J about where caterpillars go and what happens to them?
  • She also said something else had to happen – did you notice what it was? (flowering)
  • Did you see the moth that the caterpillar turned into? What colour was it?

Ask students to pose questions about what other insects have a life cycle like the moth, e.g. butterflies, silk worms, etc. Have students observe the shape, size, colour and markings of a caterpillar and the shape, size, colour and markings of the moth it becomes. Question students about how insects and animals use camouflage to protect themselves from attack.

Ask students to list other animals with markings, such as animals with spots and stripes on them, and how these markings act as camouflage to protect them from other animals who want to eat them (predators).

As a class, watch the slide presentation about 25 animals that use camouflage. Question students about their observation on how the animals and insects camouflaged themselves. Direct the student responses to the texture, shape, colour, and pattern which are similar to the environment where the animal/insect lives.

Show students images of Little J’s ‘Yeperenye’ caterpillar’ that will transform into a Whitelined Hawk Moth. So, the caterpillar can also be called a ‘Whitelined Hawk Moth caterpillar’. Have students describe the shape, colour, texture and patterns of the caterpillar, observing the ‘horn’, the stripes and the spots. Other resources include

Read the Yeperenya (Yipirinya) Dreaming stories written by an Arrernte ElderOther resources include:

After viewing these resources, have students make observations about the Australian caterpillars they saw, particularly noting the commonalities and the differences they observed. These scientific resources will be of use to explore the caterpillars of Australia:

Read/view story books about caterpillars, such as

Have students observe the shape, number of legs, head, eyes, mouth and antenna of all caterpillars. Using empty egg cartons, students can make their own model of the Yeperenye caterpillar. They can create their own patterns, colours and textures as camouflage design for a specific environment where their caterpillar may live. Remind students to include the horn on the caterpillar’s head and the legs, if relevant.

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

Set up a caterpillar game in the classroom, so students can pretend to be caterpillars and do a ‘caterpillar crawl’ through a tunnel under chairs or tables, using cushions in the middle. Students wriggle in one end and push the cushions as they wriggle, making ‘landforms’ with the cushions at the other end of the tunnel. Emulate Little J, and have students create a caterpillar dance.