Where’s Aaron: YEAR 1 - Media Arts - Explain

The class is taking turns hosting ‘Aaron’ the class mascot, taking him on adventures. It is Little J’s turn, so Little J, Nanna, Big Cuz, and Old Dog take Aaron on Country to look for mica rock, and along the way they photograph the expedition. Distracted by the events of the day, Little J loses Aaron and the family enrols the help of Uncle Mick, a Search and Rescue officer, to return him.

Explain - Respond to media artworks and consider where and why people make media artworks, starting with media from Australia including media artworks of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

Theme - SYMBOL

After viewing Little J & Big Cuz, Episode 8 ‘Where’s Aaron?’, engage students with the following activities to support their understanding of the conventions of media production and symbolic elements. Access the Little J & Big Cuz eBook for “Where’s Aaron”. As the students read the story each frame will respond with different sounds that are elements to the specific part of the story.

Have students identify in Episode 8 ‘Where’s Aaron?’, the following technical elements that media producers use to create their story:

  1. story structure (plot): beginning, middle and end
    What action happens in each section?
  2. characters:
    Who is the hero, villain, sage, and facilitator?
  3. setting:
    Where does the action takes place?
  4. sound: dialogue, narration, music (title and background), sound effects
    How does sound add to the story?

Have students consider what other elements in the animation assist the audience to understand the meaning of the story and react to it.

Select one of more of the Aboriginal Dreaming stories and/or Torres Strait Islander Bipo Bipo Taim (Before Before Time) stories, such as:

Have students watch the video clips and retell the stories in their own way. Have students describe if they feel the stories are happy or sad, or a mixture of both. Have students explain how they knew to describe the stories in the way they did. Focus their attention on the technical elements used to make the video clip: story, setting, character and sound. Ask students to suggest in what ways did the action in the video clip reinforce their thinking.

For example, use Girawu The Goanna, and ask students to explain how, at the start of the video clip, did the filmmaker give the audience a sense that the animals were desperate for water? Students may respond with suggestions, such as: the Kangaroo was crying; the crow was squawking; and the koala was lying on the ground looking as if he was dead. Ask students to study each of these actions and sounds separately, and assess if everyone in the class would read the intention of the filmmaker as the same.

Introduce students to the ‘Symbolic Elements’:

  1. Language:
    the manner of voice and the pace used by the narrator to tell the story, the choice of words, and the pauses
  2. Visual:
    colour relates to emotions (brown – parched/dry, black – death, white – pure, green – clean, etc.), objects have meaning (clock – time, bed – sleep, dawn – -day, cross – church, etc.
  3. Gesture:
    type of movement, for example, the kangaroo crying, the koala dragging itself across the desert
  4. Audio:
    the sounds attached to scenes, for example, the squawk of the crow is symbolic of the hot, dry country
  5. Spatial:
    the sameness of the red/brown land with nothing growing on it is symbolic of the dryness of the country side.

In pairs, using a I Think, I See, I Wonder visual thinking strategy, invite students to identify and explain the symbolic elements used in any of the Aboriginal Dreaming stories or Torres Strait Islander Bipo Bipo Taim (Before Before Time) stories. Ask students if they feel that the meaning of the story is enhanced because of these elements.

Ask students to draw or photograph a picture or scene where they have used one or more symbolic elements. Have students share their story and image with the class, and have the other students guess which symbolic element they have used.