Where’s Aaron: YEAR 1 - Science - Engage

The class is taking turns hosting ‘Aaron’ the class mascot. 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.

Engage - Pose and respond to questions about familiar objects and events

Theme - FAUNA

After viewing Little J & Big Cuz Episode 8 ‘Where’s Aaron?’, engage students with the following activities to support their observations and understanding about Australian animals that are diurnal, crepuscular, and nocturnal.

Ask the class to list the animals that Little J and Big Cuz encountered on their walk on Country, such as a skink, an echidna, an owl, and Old Dog (whom the family took with them).

Have students pose and respond to questions why the skink and the echidna were visible during the day, and the owl was not. Introduce students to the terms ‘nocturnal’ (night) and ‘diurnal’ (day) and classify each animal as such. The echidna is both diurnal and nocturnal. Explain to students that scientists also nominate a third category, the ‘crepuscular’ animals, and these animals are most active at twilight, in both morning and evening. (Crepuscular comes from Old French and it means ‘twilight’ or ‘shadow’.) A kangaroo is a crepuscular animal.

Suggested resources to investigate diurnal, nocturnal and crepuscular’ animals, include

Using a clock face, have students suggest what time/s apply to nocturnal and diurnal foraging by animals. Therefore, students could research the local times of dawn and dusk. Remind students that these times will change depending on the seasons during the year.

Use Geoscience Australia chart covering Australia to find out the times of dawn and dusk for your local area. If remote, use your latitude and longitude to get a table of the sunrise and sunset for the whole year.  (enter a date or year at the bottom to get the data) Another suggested resource: Perth Observatory data covering Western Australia.

Provide students with a 24 hour clock template and have each student plot the current sunrise and sunset times. Focus students’ attention on how long they think ‘grey dawn’ and ‘twilight’ zones last. (On average, there are about 80 minutes of grey twilight before the sun breaks the horizon at dawn. At dusk, after the sun sets, there are about 30 minutes of twilight before dark, but this varies by season, weather condition and location). Mark the two twilight zones (pre-dawn and post-sunset) on the clock face. 

Around the edge of the clock, invite students to select Australian animals that are nocturnal, diurnal, or crepuscular and place them in the daylight zone, the night zone, and the twilight zones.   A variety of animals to sort and include might be: Echidna, skink, owl, quoll, kangaroo, bilby, ghost or fruit bat, tawny frogmouth, wolf spider, wallaby, possum, owl, wedge-tailed eagle, magpie, blue-tongued lizard, red-bellied black snake, bush rat, galah, brolga.

Have students enter images and information about nocturnal, diurnal and crepuscular Australian animals in their science journal. They should also note the times of the day when the animals are active in the environment.

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