Wombat Rex: FOUNDATION - Science - Engage
One night, Nanna teaches Little J, Big Cuz and Levi about the star constellations through stories of the past. At school, Ms Chen encourages the students to investigate the evidence of dinosaurs. Little J and Levi set out to find evidence of dinosaurs themselves, happening upon the fossil of Diprotodon, also called Wombat Rex.
Engage - Pose and respond to questions about familiar objects and events
Theme - LIVINGS THINGS
After viewing Little J & Big Cuz, Episode 2 ‘Wombat Rex’, ask students to categorise which characters and/or objects would be ‘living organisms’ and which objects would be ‘non-living materials’. Develop two lists, one for each category, on the board/IWB.
As a Western concept of living and dead, establish that students understand that the fossilised skull of Wombat Rex is ‘non-living’ but that the skull is the remains of a living animal of the past. Have students pose questions about what a fossil is and how it was formed over time.
**Teacher note: Explain to students that Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples believe that when a living organism, human or animal passes away, their remains stay on Country, and are deemed to be spiritual entities that continue to live and protect the land.
Ask students to think about what changes happen to their own body over time: How does my body grow?
In a small group of 2–4 students, have one member of the group lie on a large sheet of paper while the others draw an outline of their body. On the sheet, have the other students list what changes can happen to the different parts of a body over time, e.g. teeth, hair, ears, nose, muscles, skeleton (bones), feet, hands all grow larger and/or longer.
View evidence of human aging and change through the following clips:
- Portrait of Lotte, 0 to 16 years in 4 ½ minutes
- Portrait of Vince, 0 to 16 Years
- Time lapse video shows 'little girl growing into an old woman'
Ask students to think about what other non-human living things in the environment also change over time, e.g. grass, trees, weeds, flowers, birds, insects. What affects that change?
Have students ask questions and hypothesise about what factors influence change in non-living structures and/or materials? (Non-living environmental objects include rocks, rivers, creeks, soil, and mountains, etc.). Catalysis for change include the sun, wind, rain, snow, earthquakes, volcanoes, etc.
Ask students what are the most significant factors for the annual weather and climate patterns changing, e.g. western seasons: winter, spring, summer, autumn. View clip from the ABC program, Dirtgirl: Seasons with Dirtgirl!
As a class, discuss:
- How do the seasons change over time, and why?
- How do we know when we are experiencing a different season?
- Are the seasons in Australia always the same for all parts of the country? Why or why not?
Introduce students to the various Aboriginal seasonal calendars and/or Torres Strait Islander seasonal calendars, such as
- Indigenous seasons across northern Australia
- Indigenous Weather Knowledge
- Kaartdijin Noongar – Noongar Knowledge
- Miriwoong Seasonal Calendar
- Observing the seasons
Have students compare the two main concepts (plant/animal change, weather/climate change) of a seasonal calendar to see which calendar suits their local environment.
Invite students to draw a picture of their favourite season and include what they see, feel, hear and taste in that season. Share these illustrations with the class and invite students to explain why they described the season of their choice as they did.