Wombat Rex: YEAR 2 - HASS - 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 questions about past and present objects, people, places and events

Theme - TRACKS

After viewing Little J & Big Cuz, Episode 2 ‘Wombat Rex’, engage students with the following activities to support their understanding of continuity and change of, and about, living things; place and space; and perspectives.

In episode 2, ‘Wombat Rex’, Big Cuz fools Little J and Levi by pretending to make tracks of the ancient Diprotodon (Wombat Rex). Have students discuss what they feel the real foot prints of such a large animal would look like, and if Big Cuz’s foot prints were accurate.

Introduce students to the following passage:

“An experienced tracker can read the ground like a storybook. If the tracks are those of a mammal, he can probably tell you, from the size and 'weight' or depth of the tracks, its gender and approximate age. If the animal is a female, he will know by the spacing of the hind legs whether or not it is 'parapu' (carrying young). He will usually be able to tell you the species of a lizard and not only which way a snake is travelling, and its size, but how fast it is moving and whether it is harmless or venomous.”

Pat Lowe, Hunters and trackers of the Australian desert, 2002

Have students search for information about Aboriginal trackers, their work, and stories about how the trackers found people who were lost in the bush and desert, for example:

Discuss with students what skills a person would need to be a good tracker. List these characteristics and have the class prioritise which of these would be the most valuable. Have students pose questions about the work of a tracker and which authorities and/or agencies might need trackers. Refer students to these resources:

As a class, develop a catalogue (online or physical album) of various Australian animals and the tracks they leave.

Take the class to the nearest park, nature reserve, beach, or a bush area within the school grounds. Instruct students that they are looking for tracks of animals, birds or insects. Once they locate a set of tracks, the group should record where they were found on a map of the area, the type of tracks, where the tracks started and stopped, and what animal, bird, or insect they think left the tracks. As a class, discuss and list the benefits of knowing how to track properly, and how to teach someone else how to track.

Invite an Elder or recognised representative from the local Aboriginal community or Torres Strait Islander community to speak with the class and teach the students how to track properly.

Divide the students into pairs and each pair is to select one Australian animal, bird, reptile, or insect. The pair are to research what prints or tracks this animal, insect, bird, etc. leaves on the ground.

Using soft wire, wadding, tape, etc. the students can design a pair of animal feet to make tracks on the ground.

In the sand pit or on a soft ground area of the school, each pair should leave a track of their animal. The other students can guess which animal has left the tracks. The first pair to guess all track correctly is the most knowledgeable team.