Wombat Rex: FOUNDATION - Science - Explore

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.

Explore - Participate in guided investigations and make observations using the senses

Theme - FOSSIL

After viewing Little J & Big Cuz, Episode 2 ‘Wombat Rex’, engage students with the following activities focusing on time, and seasonal changes to the environment.

Introduce the concept of ‘time’. Have students ask questions in respect to time.

  • What is time?
  • How do we represent time?
  • How do we calculate time?
  • Are there different ways to understand different understandings of time?

Set up small experiments for students to calculate and test concepts of time. For example:

  1. Time a student moving between one object and another.
  2. Measure time through observing and documenting the change in shadow lengths and positions of shadows during the day.
  3. Observe and document the sun’s position in the sky.
  4. Count the days of the week, month, and year using a calendar. Count and complete activities that last for a second, a minute, an hour, etc. Estimate and measure how long it takes to complete daily activities.
  5. Chart and compare the different periods of time for the average life expectancy for a human, dog/cat, fish, bird, insect, trees of different varieties, flowers in the garden, cut flowers, etc.

Introduce the concept of prehistoric time, particularly the era of dinosaurs. Suggested resources

Ask students to observe the differences between a map of Gondwana and a map of the world today.

Have students develop questions they would like to know about, such as what happened to the earth over time. Use the I see, I think, I wonder visual thinking strategy to develop thinking and questioning.  Direct questions about what the earth may be like into the future.

Explain what a ‘fossil’ is and why fossils are important to science.

Have students search for examples of prehistoric fossils and develop a prehistoric picture gallery. Suggested resources:

Fossil activity

Have students design and construct their own ‘fossil’ using found objects such as shells, hard seeds - such as an avocado seed, larger flowers, leaves, ferns, twigs, etc. Build a small box and fill with wet sand. Press the singular items into the wet sand so that they leave a deep impression.

Mix dry plaster with water (within safety guidelines) to a consistency of ‘pouring cream’ and pour the plaster into the sand impressions. Leave to dry and harden before removing the fossil impression. Invite students to paint their fossils and display and label them as if they were in a museum.

Divide the remaining sand into five different lots and colour each lot a different colour. In an old fish tank, layer the coloured sand/soil, distributing the fossils in the different layers but making sure they are visible through the glass. The layers can be labelled different prehistoric eras.