Transformation: YEAR 2 - HASS - 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 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’.

Engage - Pose questions about past and present objects, people, places and events

Theme - PLACE (MAP)

After viewing Little J & Big Cuz, Episode 10 ‘Transformation’, ask students to identify parts of the story focused on significance and interconnections of the ‘Yeperenye (Yipirinya) Dreaming stories' (pdf) and the place it originated from, and Little J’s connection to his caterpillar.

Focus students’ attention on the Arrernte story of The Three caterpillars that Nanna tells Little J. Have students pose and respond to their own questions about the story (who? what? where? why? and when? questions) to understand the meaning and significance of the story.

Access and listen to ‘Yeperenye (Yipirinya) Dreaming stories' (pdf) that is about the giant caterpillars that rise up out of the ground near what is now named Mt Zeil. The giant caterpillars created the mountains as they moved. These mountains are ‘Tyurretye’, or the West MacDonnell Ranges. Eventually, the caterpillars went underground at Alice Springs.

Use Google Maps to find Mt Zeil, NT (Australia, NT, Mt Zeil, 360 panoramic view from summit (video))

Display a photo of Glen Helen Gorge (use satellite view) which shows the region in the story. Trace the path of the West MacDonnell ranges to Alice Springs. Have students observe the highest and lowest areas of the ranges and the paths that lead to the flat lands. Have students imagine the movements of the caterpillars across the land.

Explain to students that the interior of Australia was an inland sea in ancient times, and as proof of this, geologists have found evidence of shell and fish fossils. Listen to the description of the MacDonnell Ranges in the following resources:

Investigating a location

Divide the class into groups and have each group create questions that direct their investigation about a location and what it is like to live in this area, such as:

  • Physical structure and rocks:                                                                                                                                     When and how were the MacDonnell’s Range formed? (source Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous information); What is it made from? (rocks/minerals), Why does it appear to have different colours at various times of the year?
  • Natural ecosystems/environments:
    What native animals and plants are prevalent in this area? How did Aboriginal peoples survive in the area? What seasons and weather patterns are observable in this area??
  • Waterways:
    What water ways exist? Where can they be found? What fish inhabit the areas? Where are the significant water holes known by Aboriginal people?
  • Significant people:
    What is the traditional Aboriginal name for the MacDonnell Ranges? Who named the‘MacDonnell Ranges’?’, Who was Sir Richard MacDonnell?, Who were the other explorers whose names were given to the MacDonnell Ranges (e.g. Alfred Allen Simpson)?, Who are the significant artists who paint/ed the MacDonnell Rangers? Who were/are the traders, and stockman of the region?
  • History:
    What era (when?) were the MacDonnell Ranges formed?, Which dinosaurs and mega-fauna lived in the region?, What fossils have been found?, When did the Aboriginal peoples come and where did they come from? What are the names of families associated with these Countries? Who are the peoples that live in the neighbouring Countries/communities? Whereare the Ochre pits and how is the ochre traditionally used?
  • Aboriginal Dreaming stories:
    Based on Dreaming stories, Aboriginal peoples were created there (though some did arrive from other places later). What are the significant Dreaming stories from this region? Who are the main Dreaming spirits, and how did they create the land and the people?

Once each student has found one or two facts in respect to the topic investigation i for their group, have the groups assemble a short presentation on what they found out about the MacDonnell Ranges.

Outdoor investigation

Introduce students to geological terms such as ‘folding’, ‘faulting’ and ‘erosion’ and provide image examples. These terms are important to describe rock features.

  • Provide a sloping sand tray or sand on a tarpaulin on a gentle slope.
  • Enable students to experiment with trickling water down the sand slope, and piling the sand washed by gentle rivulets will make rivers.
  • Students can use sticks dragged through the sand to erode tracks, and rocks or logs placed in the sand tray or under the tarp will resist the water, making mountains with a river curving around them.

Have students respond to the Yipirinya/Yeperenye Dreaming story. This could be a 3-Dimensional model or a salt dough land form. If they have undertaken the outdoor activity, their experiences of making land forms should form a part of their response to the Yipirinya/Yeperenye Dreaming story.

Have students retell the original story together in their own words, using their creations as visual prompts.