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Cosmic Discovery Lesson 2



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Cosmic Discovery- lesson 1


During our first lesson we will use “Perspectives Analysis” to compare the the different viewpoints of understandings about space between modern and ancient civilisations.

Please download the ‘Thinking Skills Steps’ Anchor Chart here:


You will use a different thinking skill in each of our lessons.

This short article gives a modern perspective on the origins of the universe, our solar system and the Earth:


There are also 3 videos to watch to get a modern perspective on the origins of the sun, moon, planets and stars:

How the moon was born;

Origins of the Universe The Big Bang

and Expanding & Contracting Universes; and Stephen Hawking – Formation of the Solar System.

These videos are available on:

Student Shared Drive – 5-6 2018 – Space Vid Resources – Lesson 1

After you have read the Australian Aboriginal perspective (below), you can log on to the Big Myth site to read about the perspectives of 2 or 3 other ancient civilisations.

Here is some stories that represent the Dreamtime beliefs about the Cosmos of some Aboriginal Peoples:

Stories of the stars and sky

How The Sun Was Made

For a long time there was no sun, only a moon and stars. That was before there were men on the earth, only birds and animals, all of which were much larger than they are now.

One day Emu and Brolga were on a large plain near the Murrumbidgee River. There they were, arguing and fighting. Brolga, in her rage, rushed to the nest of Emu and seized from it one of the huge eggs, which she threw with all her force up to the sky. There it broke on a heap of firewood, which burst into flame as the yellow yolk spilled all over it, and lit up the world below to the astonishment of every creature on it. They had been used to the semi-darkness and were dazzled by such brightness.

A good spirit who lived in the sky saw how bright and beautiful the earth looked when lit up by this blaze. He thought it would be a good thing to make a fire every day, and from that time he has done so. All night he and his helper spirits collect wood and heap it up. When the heap is nearly big enough they send out the morning star to warn those on earth that the fire will soon be lit.


When the spirits first light the fire it does not throw out much heat. But by the middle of the day, when the whole heap of firewood is in a blaze, the heat is fierce. After that it begins to die gradually away until, at sunset, only red embers are left. They quickly die out, except a few the spirits cover up with clouds and save to light the heap of wood the next day.

The Southern Cross

Tagai is as a man standing in a canoe. In his left hand, he holds a fishing spear, representing the Southern Cross. In his right hand, he holds a sorbi (a red fruit). Tagai and his crew of 12 are preparing for a journey. But before the journey begins, the crew eat all the food and drink they planned to take. So the Tagai strung the crew together on nets in two groups of six and cast them into the sea, where their images became star patterns in the sky. These patterns can be seen in the star constellations of Pleiades and Orion.

The Pointer Stars

Two young brothers had been hunting and decided to make a campfire when a strong wind blew up. Soon the entire mountain was on fire and the brothers ran to the top of the peak to escape the flames, but the fire caught up to them. Just as they started to burn, the ancestor beings took pity on them and gave them the gift of flight. They flew high up into the night sky, where their camp fires can still be seen today as the Pointer Stars.

Lightning Brothers in the sky

Bill Harney, Lightning Dreaming (Lightning Brothers), 2001, acrylic on Galicia linen. Image courtesy of Bill Harney and Didgeridoo and Aboriginal Art Distributors.

The Lightning Brothers travelled from the Warlpiri lands of the Northern Territory, stopping at Yirindale Springs before coming to camp at  Yiwalalay. During their travels, the younger brother, Yabiringi, wanted to take the wife of his brother Yagjabula as his own wife! This ended in a fight between the two brothers. Yagjabula chopped off the head of his brother with a swing from his special stone axe. The Lightning Brothers then went to live in the sky-world, the dwelling place of many spirits.

Stars and family relationships

Knowledge of the stars helped people in navigation across the land as well as the seas. Stars and star patterns represent figures familiar in the Aboriginal environment like crocodiles and eagles as well as mythical figures like the Lightning Brothers.

Knowledge of the star formations also reflects the patterns for social relationships in some areas. People’s relationships to one another are represented in the patterns stars make in the sky. The stars represent a man and a woman ideally suited in marriage, with their parents, children and other relations all marked out in the night sky.

The Warlpiri people believe their ancestors broke the Milky Way into the individual stars that we see today. Some fragments fell to earth, creating special (sacred) places. This story is re-told in paintings, song and dance as well as re-enacted in ceremonies, where men wear white on their bodies to represent the stars.

In this way connections are made on a daily basis between ancestors, people, stars and land. The telling of the Dreaming stories reinforces knowledge about the Cosmos, social behaviour, land formations and special or sacred places.

After you have filled in the grid, use the information to answer these questions-

( I give my opinion about the differences)

What do they have in common? Why are they different? How was the way it was used to understand the world helpful/problematic?

( I explain what I know now)

Why have people wanted to explain the cosmos? What has helped us to understand the universe in the past? How could we compare ancient myths to modern information reports?  How might future people look back at what we think about the universe

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Flood prevention & Mitigation- Decision matrix





watch & discuss

Don’t Panic: 26/11/2013, Behind the News


New Info:

You are the government ministerial department responsible for flood disasters.

How will you spend your money? On prevention or mitigation (dealing with it when it comes)

Brainstorm what you might be able to do for each:

As a class, scan the resources to identify how we will create our choices and our considerations and our scores



In groups of 4, research and fill in your matrix

 (perhaps break your group up to find out one aspect each and give it a score)

Research from these websites into 2 categories- prevention and mitigation


Extra sources:


As a group, decide on the best choice using your matrix.




Create a presentation/persuasive speech (approx 1 min) for cabinet meeting or for parliament to convince people of your point of view.

Use your weighting and scoring to help you.  

share speeches

Goal reflection:

Did your matrix confirm what you thought would be the case or did it highlight options you hadn’t expected?

  In your opinion, what is the best combination of prevention and mitigation measures and why.

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Research Pacific gyre-


What is it? What does it make you wonder? What solutions could there be?- creativity challenge…

Perspectives analysis of bushfire




I can identify the positive and negative impacts of fire from different perspectives



Thought starter: What is this little girl doing?



What do you see?

What does it make you think about?

What does it make you wonder?


New Information & Application:

When you systematically analyse the different ways different people might see something, you can use this algorithm to make it rigorous and productive:

Analyse Perspectives:  consider multiple perspectives about an issue

  1. I describe a situation
  2. I tell how one person sees it
  3. I tell how a different person sees it
  4. I give my opinion about the differences
  5. I explain what I know now or how to make it better



Fill in the perspectives analysis looking at the different perspectives of the impact of fire.

  1. I describe a situation Fire in the bush: what will they think about it?

Watch these videos and note-take your understandings.

Rise from the Ashes


In Australia we have seen many Bushfire disasters which can make us fear fire.

In contrast, the Aboriginal people have used fire as a tool to manage their lands for many years.


Goal Reflection:

Explain how our attitude and dealing with fire as an inclusive community could help to improve both the management of our land and the management of bushfires as a natural disaster.

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Classifying the effects of a drought




 I can classify/categorise the different types of effects of a drought


Discuss Cape Town Water Crisis

New information:

 When you systematically classify/categorise things, you can use this algorithm to make it rigorous and productive:

Classify: group similar items together based on similar traits

  1. Name items to sort into categories
  2. Decide on possible categories based on possible differences
  3. Sort the items and say why they are in a category
  4. Say how items could go into different categories
  5. Tell what you know now (new idea) or could do with the information (new item)


New info & Application:

 1. Name items to sort into categories- things that are affected by drought

Show pictures of drought- list all things that are affected & how they are affected


In peer mentor partners, you should skim and scan this article to find specific effects of drought (10 min)-

drought effects list

  1. Decide on possible categories based on possible differences– brainstorm possible categories




(e.g- human/ non human;    long term/short term;     living/non living;      plant/animal/non-living;    natural/artificial                                                      things humans can do something about/things we can’t)

Decide on the categorisation process you will use   Write: what are your categories?


3. Sort the items and say why they are in a category

Write:  What belongs in each category?

draw a picture /diagram/infographic of a fictional place that labels/lists effects of a drought/ use a system (such as brackets under your labels) to clearly categorise the items you have labeled


4. Say how items could go into different groups

Write: Could you create/choose different categories- how would you arrange the items now?


Goal reflection:

 4. Tell what you know now (new idea) or could do with the information (new item)

Which type of classification do you think is most useful? Why?

How might different types of categories help us to understand or to respond to drought?

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Systematic comparison



T&T- discuss these pictures:

  • what do you notice?
  • what do you know?
  • what do you wonder?






I can systematically compare tornados and cyclones.


What is a criterion (plural ‘criteria’)?





– a standard by which something is judged

We are going to systematically compare 2 natural disasters using criteria we decide upon.

So we need a SYSTEM- an algorithm!


When you systematically compare something, you can use this algorithm to make it rigorous and productive:

Compare: describe how items are the same and different

  1. I can identify the items to compare-cyclone(hurricane) & tornado
  2. I can choose the features I will use to compare the items- brainstorm…                                                                                                                                                                              -brainstorm as many as you can- decide which is most important for you to find out about- explain why this is so important- share some of the chosen criteria and reasons
  3. I can tell how the items are the same or different based on the features-research using internet/ /books/


Goal reflection:   

Step 4-I can use what I learned to generate a new idea or item

 Which are the most valuable criteria for judging a cyclone or tornado-why?

How could the information you have found be used by a person or a government when they are deciding how to build (a house/ a community building/ a town)?


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Finn’s Story


Finn Darlington, one of 5-6C’s students from last year has sent me this story and he said he wouldn’t mind sharing. it’s filled with action….and a little bit of MPPS!

SK Squad Omega betrayal

The Earth’s Crust & Natural Disasters


Related image


(2-5 min)

I can explain how the Earth’s crust contributes to natural disasters


(5-10 min)

This video shows where earthquakes have been recorded and where tectonic plate edges are.

What do you see/think/wonder?


New Information & Application:

(5 min)

Show students video / take notes:

5 min

Present students with the following questions.

  • What is the Earth’s crust and how is it defined?
  • How is the Earth’s crust connected to natural disasters?

What other questions do you have with regards the Earth’s crust and its movement?-write in your books

share & organise- 10 min

Share the most important questions they have & choose approx. 5-6 more questions as a class to investigate and attempt to find answers-students can work in pairs.

  • Use a half piece of paper to answer each of the questions -record any information which helps answer the questions. Remember, diagrams can be a great way to answer some of the questions. Name each page and write the question at the top
  • you can use books and websites- each person should use one animated and one still source to find information from. Below are some suggested sources. Try to make sure that a variety of sources are used.

Research 30-40 min (approx 5 min per question- give regular reminders and suggestions to move through the questions).


Info & interactive





25 min

After half an hour, divide the students into the same number of groups as there are questions and present each group with all of the responses to one of the questions. (S0, for example, one group of 3-4 students will be given everybody’s answers to the question: “What is the Earth’s crust and how is it defined?” Other groups will receive all the answers to other questions.)

Each group then has the task of collating the responses to their designated question, determining the common elements and organising a combined response that best answers the question.

This will be glued onto a class poster- The Earth’s Crust- Our Questions Answered


25 min

When groups are ready to present, they hand back research pages, students glue them into their books

A representative from each group will share this information with the class about their question.

As each question is answered and discussed, provide students with a minute or two to discuss their understanding of the answer with a partner and add to their notes.


Goal Review

10 min

Draw or create a visual representation (diagram/graphic organiser) of some of your learning that connects the earths crust with at least 1 natural disaster  10 min

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The structure of the Earth



I can use an analogy to explain the structure of the Earth







What does this picture mean to you?

New Information:

What is an analogy? An analogy is where you compare an unfamiliar thing to a familiar thing to help you understand many things about the unfamiliar thing.


  • Learning a language is like riding a bike.
  • The mathematicians’ toolbox
  • Your brain is like a computer

We will look at information about the earth’s structure, then creeate an analogy that shows we understand many aspects of it.

Give fact sheet/resource about layers of earth-read-take notes on key details

National Geographic:!/register




4 analogies of layers of earth- cake with icing:

A peach:

An onion:

The way skin forms on hot milk:

Which analogy do you like best/why?

Remember, a good analogy should have many things in common, and should help you understand the tricky/unfamiliar one ( the Earth’s interior structure) more

The Earth is like a ……… because………

Share some different analogies

Goal reflection:

After hearing other opinions, do you think one or a combination of analogies is better? Why?


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