Teacher background information
Year 3 Science Content Description
Science Inquiry Skills
CommunicatingRepresent and communicate observations, ideas and findings using formal and informal representations (ACSIS060 - Scootle )
consulting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ representations of living things as evidenced and communicated through formal and informal sharing of information
This elaboration provides students with an opportunity to develop this core Science Inquiry Skill whilst addressing intercultural science inquiry skills relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures within the context of the following content description(s) from the Science Understanding and/or Science as a Human Endeavour strand(s).
Living things can be grouped on the basis of observable features and can be distinguished from non-living things (ACSSU044)
A potential way to approach this content description is:
To develop the science inquiry skill of representing and communicating observations, ideas and findings, students could consult local Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander communities to understand the formal and informal ways living things have been, and continue to be, represented and communicated by Australia’s First Nations Peoples. An aspect of the study of living things is the analysis of trace evidence left by living things, such as tracks left on the ground, scratch marks on plants and animal dung, that can provide a signature to identify an animal. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples have long used, and continue to use, trace evidence to identify an animal’s species, habitat, location and behaviours. Tracks often provide information about the observable features of an animal, such as whether it has claws, a tail, or webbed feet and what size or weight the animal is likely to be.
For millennia Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples have communicated the knowledge of tracking and identifying mammals and other animals in formal ways, such as in paintings and petroglyphs and through song, dance and storytelling. For example, petroglyphs carved into rock by the Arrernte Peoples at the Napwerte/Ewaninga Rock Carvings Conservation Reserve south of Alice Springs, show arrow shaped motifs that represent bird tracks. The Jardwadjali Peoples recorded and communicated knowledge of animal tracks, including emu and kangaroo, by painting representations on the surfaces of rocks at Billimina Shelter in the Western Grampians in Victoria. Scientific knowledges are also communicated in informal ways, with many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children learning animal and bird tracks by studying representations drawn in the earth or sand. Many early European naturalists acknowledged the expert skill in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ ability to reliably track and collect animal specimens through the acute observations of trace evidence left by the animal. For example, on the lands of the Kuku-Yalanji Peoples in far north Queensland an Aboriginal expert located a Bennett’s tree-kangaroo for observation by the first European naturalists by detecting distinctive scratches on the bark of a tree.
In identifying living things in an environment, students could take photographs or sketch animal tracks to represent and record evidence. Animal track records help students to recognise observable features of the animal. Students may consult local Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ knowledges to identify the animals in the local environment. Such knowledge may be available in books, online resources, or through direct consultation or correspondence with local Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Peoples. Incorporation of this elaboration can provide students with the opportunity to consult with local Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Peoples to learn about the many formal and informal ways that scientific knowledge of living things has been, and continues to be, represented and communicated. In developing the science inquiry skill to represent and communicate observations, ideas and findings, teachers can guide students to use a variety of methods, such as photographs and sketches, to collect information about living things in the environment, and consult with Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Peoples to assist in the identification of the animal.