Since 2016, Science Pathways for Indigenous Communities has developed education resources to support schools and communities to work in partnership to deliver learning activities on country and in the classroom.

Two-way Science: An Integrated Learning Program for Aboriginal Desert Schools

Two-way Science: An Integrated Learning Program for Aboriginal Desert Schools is a 288 page book with curriculum-linked education activities for primary and middle school students, and background knowledge for teachers based on the desert regions of Australia.

It is available for free PDF download or purchase in print from CSIRO Publishing.

Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) Illustrations of Practice

Science Pathways for Indigenous Communities worked with ACARA to develop four Two-way Science videos that describe culturally responsive learning programs at Wiluna and Leonora schools in Western Australia, and Areyonga and Mount Liebig in the Northern Territory. These videos give an insight into Indigenous leadership, cultural knowledge transfer and the connection of Indigenous ecological knowledge to the Australian curriculum in Two-way Science learning programs.

Wiluna Remote Community School

[Text appears on screen is read by a voiceover “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that the following video may contain images and voices of deceased persons.”]

[Text appears on screen is read by a voiceover “ACARA acknowledges that the filming for this illustration of practice took place on the traditional land, sea, sky and waterways of the Martu People.”]

[Image changes to show a multi-coloured three dimensional graph on screen, which is described by the female narrator]

Narrator: This illustration demonstrates how the three dimensions of the Australian Curriculum work authentically together through a focus on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures cross-curriculum priority.

[Music plays and image changes to show Australia, camera then zooms in on where Perth is located and a hand appears to mark out where Wiluna is situated]

[Text appears on screen: Learning together through two-way science]

[Music plays and image changes to show an aerial shot of people walking through the bush]

[Camera moves to show footprints in the dust]

Lena Long: Look here, he’s been here not long ago. Here fresh one, I think we’ve frightened him.

[Image changes back to show the people walking through the bush]

David Broun: Some local community were out looking for emu eggs and came across this malleefowl nest, and that’s led to some scientific research happening down there,

[Image changes to show David Broun, CSIRO Education and Outreach talking to the camera]

some two-way science with the local ranger group.

[Image changes to show Rita]

And Rita was a big part of that, she has knowledge about malleefowl from old people and wanted to share that with the kids here at the school.

[Image changes to show an image of the school campus a loud bell rings]

[Image changes to show Lena entering the classroom where Rita, David and Lauren are seated together and talking]

Lena Long: This the emu egg.

[Camera zooms in on the emu egg in Lena’s hands]

[Image changes to show Lena Long, Senior Ranger, School Board Member holding the egg and talking]

Malleefowl, they little bit smaller size, but they haven’t got the shell. They only got that, inside shell, that white, you see that white one and it’s soft and spongy, no shell on it.

Narrator: Wiluna Remote Community School is a Two-Way Science School. Martu and teachers plan the learning program together, and they connect Martu knowledge with western science and the Australian curriculum.

[Image changes to show Adriano Truscott, Wiluna School Principal 2015 – 2018]

Adriano Truscott: One of the most important ways that we ensure teachers understand about the local context, and also understand what families want in education is through, what we call, the Martu Calendar.

[Camera pans over the Martu Calendar, which is a collection of pictures and notes under the names of the month. Two females point and discuss the different pictures on the calendar]

The Martu Calendar shows what’s happening right now around Wiluna, and it allows teachers a window into the language, into culture, but also a window into understanding what’s important to people right now. How do I contextualise the learning?

[Image changes to show Adriano Truscott talking to the camera]

How do I make the learning real and relevant for our students so they can be successful in learning standard Australian English, so that they can be successful in learning science, and science is really the centre point of what we do.

[Image changes to show Rita, David, Lena and Lauren seated together and talking]

We understand here at Wiluna that two-way science, which is the understanding of science from a Martu perspective and western perspective is not only important for the students own sense of identity,

[Image changes to show a student writing in a column of a piece of paper]

not only important for their sense of academic development, but also for the future.

[Image changes to show Adriano talking to the camera]

As citizens of Wiluna and Western Australia and beyond, two-way science we see as the key to a sustainable and strong future for us all.

[Image changes to show Lauren and another female talking to a group of students who are seated on the floor in front of them]

So the malleefowl story really originated from Anthea and Rita last term after they’d just learnt about it. They were so passionate about it, they thought why don’t we bring it into the school, the kids can start learning about it. We’ve created a whole inquiry project on it, linking Martu culture with the western science.

[Image changes to show Lauren Richards Class 2 – 4 Teacher talking to the camera]

And through these inquiries we get to really have a focus on finding the year two, three, four curriculum, you get to look at biological sciences in particular for this term,

[Image changes to show Lauren looking through a worksheet with the students]

but through the malleefowl inquiry we’ve had physical sciences, biological sciences and chemical sciences, so it’s looking at habitats, it’s looking at life cycles, heat production and transfer, all different things – materials that the birds use to make their nest, it’s so strong and so rich in the curriculum that these inquiry units, that are on country learning they just linkup so well.

[Image changes to show Lauren standing and talking to a group of students]

Boys and girls, what do you think the nest is going to be made of tomorrow? What do you think they’ve made the nest out of? Tyler.

Tyler: Leaves and twigs.

Lauren Richards: Leaves and twigs.

Student: Sand.

Lauren Richards: Sand.

Student: Sticks.

Lauren: Sticks. So lots of things, and where do you think they get all these things from? Are they just next to the nest?

Tyler: From the floor.

Lauren Richards: From the floor.

Student: From underneath the ground.

Lauren Richards: From underneath the ground. Oh, these are some great ideas! We’ll find out tomorrow then. Good job, keep going boys and girls.

[Music plays and image changes to show a shot of the school campus, a white 4WD and white van can be seen driving out of the school grounds]

[Image changes to show David Broun, CSIRO Education and Outreach talking to the camera]

David Broun: For me, there are three elements to this idea of two-way science. There’s that connection between Martu knowledge and western science, and there’s also the conditions for that to happen, which is learning on country, which is getting kids out of the classroom with Elders, learning traditional knowledge and science on country.

[Image changes to show the two cars travelling along a straight road]

[Image changes to show Rita Cutter, Senior Ranger, School Board Member]

Rita Cutter: Well, the country… it’s really important. That’s where I first learnt when I was a little girl myself.

[Image changes to show the students walking through the bush with Rita leading them]

I like it on country; even ‘round here, I like taking kids and learning them.

[Image changes to show Rita stopping and showing the students something on the ground]

This one here, you see from long time, it’s a Parnka where he was dragging his tail, looking for [food] Parnka track, goannas tail.

[Image changes to show Rita and the students continuing to walk through the bush]

See Pala ku tjina [small lizard tracks] there, he was walking around, tracking this track, big yiwarra [pathway]. Through here he brought all them little bushes, twigs and warta [stick] to his nest there.

[Image changes to show Rita and the students stop and gather around a malleefowl nest]

Later on when he have it, probably up to here (Rita points to the top of the nest with a stick), he’ll chuck in this.

[Image changes to show Rita in the action of bending and picking up twigs and leaves and throwing them onto of the nest]

Student: Rita, when the little ones grow up, where do the parents go?

Rita Cutter: Families just go away, leave them. They’ve got to get out of that piti [bowl] over there and look after their own self. But you don’t want to be on your own without your parents. You love mum and dad to be beside you. I would when I was a little girl.

[Music plays and Rita and another female arrange the students around the nest and linking hands]

Lauren Richards: So boys and girls, what birds nest are we looking at today?

Student: Malleefowl.

Lauren Richards: A malleefowl, good job. And what types of things can you see that they’ve put in here to make their nest. What can you see, Regina?

Regina: Spinifex.

Lauren Richards: Trudy?

Trudy: Some leaves.

Lauren Richards: Some leaves. Ty?

Ty: Sticks.

Lauren Richards: Sticks. Freddie?

Freddie: Sand.

Lauren Richards: Lots and lots of sand isn’t. So boys and girls, your job now is to pretend like you are the little malleefowls and you need to make your own nest, so you need to have a think about gathering what do you need to make a nest like this?

[Music plays and image changes to show the students walking around and collecting sticks, leaves and twigs]

[Image changes to show Lauren and the students back in the classroom]

What do we now know about malleefowls? I want you to think about what questions were you trying to think about yesterday, what answers were you trying to find and what do you now know? Freddie.

Freddie: They had little footprints.

Lauren Richards: They had little tracks. Do you remember what the track looked like? Did you want to come and try and draw it? Did anyone want to come and try and draw the track?

[Image changes to show a female student get up and take the texta from Lauren and draw the track on the whiteboard]

Good job.

[Image changes to show Lauren Richards Class 2 – 4 Teacher talking to the camera]

So with the Science Pathways program it really provides that link between Martu science and western science, allowing us to see the connections, to see activities and resources that would link the two sciences together.

[Image changes to show Lauren and the students in the classroom watching footage of a malleefowl bird on a screen]

So with that Dave has been able to create resources, to create on country learning opportunities that really help us as teachers understand what can we do with the kids here that are going to relate exactly to Wiluna context.

[Image changes to show students emptying buckets of twigs and leaves onto a grey tarpaulin]

[Image changes to show a wheelbarrow full of dirt being delivered next to the students they proceed to start forming it into a nest, replicating a malleefowls nest]

[Image changes to show Rita sitting with the students showing them an egg]

Rita Cutter: Instead of laying it this way they sit it up, like this, level. No lazy work they do, they’re really busy bees.

[Image changes to show Rita placing three eggs into the nest the students have made]

And then gently sprinkle that… gently, gently!

[Image changes to show the students sprinkling some more twigs and leaves on top of the eggs in the nest]

[Image changes to show students picking up small bottled samples and looking at them]

David Broun: First of all, where do we find all of these things?

[Image changes to show the students gathered around tables listening to David]

Student: On the ground.

David Broun: On the ground, that’s right, this was all the litter that you’ve picked up. So when the malleefowl is making its nest it’s scrapping up all of that litter isn’t?

Student: Yep.

David Broun: And the food that the malleefowl eats is also in that litter.

Aboriginal Ranger Programs are big employers in remote communities. The two-way science work that happens in the classroom builds, you know, inquiry skills and literacy and numeracy that will really support them in those career paths.

[Image changes to show Rita Cutter, Senior Ranger, School Board Member seated and talking to the camera]

Rita Cutter: One day they might grow up and say, ‘oh, Nana Rita is nice teacher to us’ and I’ll be very proud of myself.

[Image changes to show ACARA (Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority logo]

Wiluna Illustration of practice

Leonora District High School

[Text appears on screen is read by a voiceover “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that the following video may contain images and voices of deceased persons.”]

[Text appears on screen is read by a voiceover “ACARA would like to acknowledge that this video was filmed on Wankatja Country, and the Ngalia and Tjupan knowledge-holders’ contribution to this project.”]

[Image changes to show a multi-coloured three dimensional graph on screen, which is described by the female narrator]

Narrator: This illustration demonstrates how the three dimensions of the Australian Curriculum work authentically together through a focus on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures cross-curriculum priority.

[Music plays and image changes to show Australia, camera then zooms in on where Perth is located and a hand appears to mark out where Leonora is situated]

[Image changes to show to a sign that reads Leonora District High School]

Female: Leonora District High School is a small Level 4 school, in the Northern Goldfields.

[Image changes to show students walking in the school grounds]

[Image changes to show students seated on the floor in front of a teacher]

We have a 139-students enrolled and 86-per cent of those students are Aboriginal.

[Image changes to show aerial footage of Leonora, it is similar to a desert landscape, orange and dusty with a variety of trees and shrubs]

[Image changes to show Jeannette Maxfield, Principal, Leonora District High School talking to the camera]

Jeannette Maxfield: When I first game to the school in 2016 I discovered that going out bush was a long-standing tradition of the school,

[Image changes to show students and teachers walking in a line in the bush]

and I was really keen to continue that because I saw it as a great opportunity to build positive relationships with the community, to develop our cultural understanding,

[Image shows teachers and students participating in cultural activities]

and also, to give students and teachers the opportunity to connect the learning we can do on country back into Australian curriculum.

[Image changes to show David Broun holding a stack of plastic tubs above his head and talking to the students]

David Broun: So we’re going to look for invertebrates, and we can put some in here if we find any on the way and then we’ll go and look for the Mamutjitji.

[Text appears on screen: Two-way Science Leonora District High School]

[Image changes to show David Broun, Senior Coordinator, CSIRO Science Pathways For Indigenous Communities talking to the camera]

David Broun: So Two-way Science is pedagogy, it’s an approach that connects the traditional ecological knowledge of Aboriginal people, and that is the scientific and cultural understanding of people, animals and the environment, with western science inquiry and links that to the Australian curriculum in a learning program.

[Image changes to show students and teachers walking through the bush]

Fifi Harris: Who can see it? Look, look, look here!

[Image changes to show a female teacher pointing to something on the ground and the students gathering around her to see it]

One, two, three, four, five… how do you get it out? How do you get it out of the hole? Do you dig it? – no.

Student: You’ve got to blow it.

[Image changes to show students crouched down on the ground and blowing]

Fifi Harris: You blow it inni? So when you blow, you’ve got to blow really gently or else you’ll blow the Mamutjitji out and you won’t be able to see it unless we’ve got a magnifying glass.

[Image changes to show the students collecting Mamutjitji and putting them into plastic containers]

Student: Got ‘im, got ‘im, now see ‘im.

David Broun: Ah, well done. Here we’re looking at the Mamutjitji, the antlion, and learning about the story and part of that is looking at the structural features, the pincers, which has direct curriculum links to investigations around the structural features of animals and adaptations.

[Image changes to show David and students closely studying a Mamutjitji]

Student: That looks like a Mamutjitji.

David Broun: It is, that’s a Mamutjitji isn’t? You can see its giant pincers. That’s it, got ‘em, that’s a beauty!

[Image changes to show Kado Muir, Cultural Protocol Officer, Ngalia Heritage Research Council talking to the camera]

Kado Muir: The value here of engaging in Two-way Science learning on country is to reconnect our kids.

[Image changes to show Kado seated on the ground with students gathered around him]

If you go back to a traditional system of learning, it’s our mothers, it’s our auntys, it’s our uncles, our fathers who teach the children.

[Image changes to show a teacher and student looking closely at a bush]

Fifi Harris: See the little flower?

Student: Yeah.

Fifi Harris: One, two, three… it looks like a little hand?

Student: Yeah.

Fifi Harris: See this bush here?

Student: Yeah.

Fifi Harris: This is a medicine bush, and you know what old people do? They break it all up and they boil it all up and they can drink it like a cup of tea and it fixes them up.

[Image changes back to show Kado seated on the ground with students gathered around him]

Kado Muir: So a dreamtime story, there was all the Mamu kids and all the human kids. All the Mamu kids coming up and all the human kids said, “Hey, we don’t want to play with these Mamu’s, they might eat us…

[Image changes back to show Kado talking to the camera]

So the Mamutjitji story, which is the little performance, or the childs corroboree, teaches you where you can find the animal. Why it’s in the earth, it was beaten into the earth by these dreamtime children, who were fighting with the Mamu kids.

[Image changes to show Kado teaching the students the Mamutjitji dance moves]

See like this, this movement, that’s like when you’ve got the bushes, you’re chasing the Mamu kids.

Student: And you’re whacking ‘em.

Kado Muir: Yeah. And the song go like this, it go…

[Kado commences to sing the students a song in Ngalia language. It gets louder and faster and the hand actions become more vigorous until Kado lifts his hands in the air and the children lean out of the huddle, giggling]

[Image changes to show Suzanne Fowler, Primary Teacher, Leonora District High School talking to the camera]

Suzanne Fowler: So this year in my Year Three/Four class we’ve been focusing on biological sciences,

[Image changes to show the camera panning over labelled pictures of Mamutjitji’s]

where living things have observable features and the science inquiry skill that we’re focusing on is representing ideas, scientific ideas through scientific drawings.

[Image changes to show students around a contained pit of dirt in the classroom]

Student: Some of the features are antennae, pincers, abdomen, legs, thorax and the head.

[Image changes back to show Suzanne talking to the camera]

Suzanne Fowler: We’ve been able to look at the way the Traditional Owners have communicated their ideas and understandings of the scientific processes through song and dance,

[Image changes back to show Kado Muir with the children and then changes back to show Suzanne talking to the camera]

and then we can relate that to our science inquiry skills of communicating and representing ideas, but this time, we’re not actually going to be doing it in song and dance like the traditional owners would have,

[Image changes to show students drawing pictures of Mamutjitji]

we’re actually doing it through scientific drawings.

[Image changes to show the students back out in the bush with a teacher all holding small pit traps]

Tayla Hughes: Alright, so what we’re going to do today is put out our pit traps. Now the reason we’re doing this is to catch different types of invertebrates.

[Image changes to show Tayla Hughes, Secondary Teacher, Leonora District High School talking to the camera]

Before we came out here to conduct the field work we had to plan and work out where it would be best suited to put those pit traps.

[Image changes to show school work, different photos and text: 2 Way Science. Questioning – Do different invertebrates live in different habitats? Predicting]

We also had to work out what we predicted. So that is a part of their science inquiry process,

[Image changes back to show Tayla talking to the camera]

 and the predicting involved if a different site would be better to collect invertebrate, so we’re comparing school to Malcolm Dam.

[Image changes back to show Tayla talking to the students who are gathered around her]

And we’re going to compare and analyse the data we collect, and we’re going to put it in a tally and see how many different invertebrates we can find here. Once we’ve done that we get to have a discussion about whether we think it’s a fair test.

[Image changes to show David Broun talking to the camera]

David Broun: In any field investigation, the model that we promote is one where students are making sure that what they are doing fits within ethical and cultural guidelines of local people, as scientists should be doing in their research.

[Image changes to show Kado Muir talking with a group of students]

Kado Muir: So as you guys are working as scientists, one of the important things about science is you need to have ethical clearances, you’re taking an animal whose going about their daily life in the bush, doing their thing, and you’re disturbing them, you’re taking them away and you may end up killing them, and it does raise ethical questions, you need to have these ethics approvals to basically do this kind of work and make sure that you’re doing the right thing.

[Image changes to show Kado assisting the students to set up traps]

One of things to keep an eye out for when you’re setting up the pit traps in these sort of areas, you’d not want to dig a pit trap near here, there’s two reasons. One, is there’s evidence of Aboriginal occupation and use of the land, as well as it’s actually protected by the Aboriginal Heritage Act.

[Image changes to show David Broun talking to the camera]

David Broun: In these Western Desert regions Aboriginal people are involved in the management of huge areas of land, whether it be through the Aboriginal Ranger Program,

[Image changes to show Kado vigorously rubbing two stones together]

or participation and support of research undertaken by other scientists.

[Image changes to show a small group of students digging in the dirt and then moves back to David]

Developing in students this idea of science being a consultative process between traditional owners, community and science in the research is really important.

[Image changes to show Fifi Harris, Aboriginal and Island Education Office, Leonora District High School talking to the camera]

Fifi Harris: Going out at Malcolm Dam and Two Way Science and teaching language on country, ‘cause I think it’s really important that we’re given the opportunity to teach the kids language on country, because doing and seeing, I think, the kids, like it sticks with them better. So, you know, if they can run around and go OK, I found a ngurtal out bush, you know, the ngurtal comes off the kurtan tree. Kapi is the water, waan for creek, if they can see, feel, taste, you know, you got Wangai word, English word, so much better for the kids, I think.

[Image changes to show the camera panning a school building]

[Image changes to show Jenna, talking to a group of students who are seated on the floor in front of her]

Jenna Corlett: OK, so one of the activities we‘re going to be doing this morning, is we’re going to be using the iPads.

[Camera zooms in on Jenna Corlett, Primary Teacher, Leonora District High School talking to the camera]

Having the children able to go out on country and experience something that they are already confident and capable of is a really nice way to engage them in the program in the classroom.

[Image changes to show students walking around in the bush and then changes back to them in a classroom gathered on the floor while Jenna is talking to them]

And what have been learning about in our class at the moment?

Students: Mamutjitji!

Jenna Corlett: Mamutjitji’s well done! And what do Mamutjitji’s like to eat?

Students:  Ants!

Jenna Corlett: And how do they catch the ants do you think?

Students: With a pit trap!

[Image changes to show Jenna talking to the camera]

Jenna Corlett: I’m able to integrate it through a range of different learning areas. So, for example, today we’ve been able tie it into digital technology through using the Scratch App

[Image changes to show Jenna showing the students the Mamutjitji on the screen of an iPad and then changes to show the students working independently on iPads at their tables]

And so the kids are able to use coding to move the ant to the Mamutjitji pit.

[Image changes to show Jenna talking to the camera]

We’re able to incorporate the visual arts through painting; the students are able to do mural.

[Image changes to show children painting a mural]

We were just using the microscope to basically zoom in on the different insects and we’re looking at their external features, because we know that all insects have a variety of external features, so they are able to identify and label the different features of the insects.

[Image changes to show Tayla gathered around by students standing together under a marquee with tables set up with scientific equipment]

Tayla Hughes: This stage is, is when we are classifying what we have found in our pit traps. We are using our flip guide, and images from our microscope that we have to help us classify. Once we’ve got this information and we’ve tallied it all up on our data sheet, we’re going to go back and we’re going to collate all of our data together and then graph what we found.

[Image changes to show students tipping insect samples onto white trays]

Whoa! Look at that one!

[Image changes to show a Mamutjitji under a microscope]

You can see the head, the thorax and the abdomen just looking at it.

[Image changes to show David Broun talking to the camera]

David Broun: When I come out to these communities now, I see this as just full of opportunity and potential.

[Image changes to show an aerial shot of the desert, a body of water, tracks and cars can been seen in the shot]

What kids in remote communities have on their doorstop in terms of culture and country,

[Image changes to show David talking to the camera]

provides opportunities that many kids in an urban setting just don’t get access to.

[Image changes to show Fifi Harris, Aboriginal and Island Education Office, Leonora District High School talking to the camera]

Fifi Harris: The kids are learning who they are.

[Image changes to show the students in the bush]

And when they find out who they are they’re going to be stronger people.

[Image changes to show Fifi talking to the camera]

If they have success out here then they’re going to have success in the classroom because say if it’s a flow on isn’t it, a flow on? Yep, let’s go.

[Image changes to show Fifi back in a classroom and working with the students]

You know, out bush, into classroom, we can do it.

[Image changes to show Suzanne Fowler, Primary Teacher, Leonora District High School talking to the camera]

Suzanne Fowler: I’ve actually found the engagement has gone through the roof.

[Image changes to show David working with the students in a classroom]

There was a reluctance to put things down on paper, but because we’re now connecting it to their everyday lives, you know, I’m find that they’re more willing to write things, or draw things,

[Image changes to show Suzanne talking to the camera]

and they’re actually more willing to talk about it as well, so therefore, I’ve got more that I can assess on.

[Image changes to show students around a contained pit of dirt in the classroom]

Student: When they build their home, it’s like a trap for them. They build their house and it’s like an inside out cone, and then when an ant comes walking along, it falls down into that little inside out cone and then the Mamutjitji launches up and grabs it with its pincers.

[Image changes to show Jeannette Maxfield talking to the camera]

Jeannette Maxfield: There are many benefits from working with this project,

[Image changes to show Suzanne and Fifi seated together and talking]

and the first and most important one is that its helped us to create a stronger link between school and community. The Aboriginal Cultural Standards Framework is guiding us to become a more culturally responsive school.

[Image changes to show Jeannette Maxfield talking to the camera]

We are creating a respectful environment where students’ language, and culture, and experience is being valued.

[Image changes to show Kado Muir talking to the camera]

Kado Muir: I’m hoping with what we’re doing now is that valuing Aboriginal knowledge, incorporating that into the curriculum,

[Image changes to show Kado showing a small group of students gathered around him something in the dirt]

and then seeing the world through our eyes.

[Image changes to show Kado talking to the camera]

We’re able to add an element of, you know, our knowledge to the curriculum.

[Children singing can be heard and image changes to show the desert on dusk and text: Wangkatha adaptation of original son “Wanjoo” by Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse]

[Image changes to show ACARA (Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority logo]

Two way Science at Leonora District High School

Areyonga School

[Text appears on screen is read by a voiceover “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that the following video may contain images and voices of deceased persons.”]

[Text appears on screen is read by a voiceover “ACARA acknowledge that this video was filmed on Pitjantjatjara Country, and Pitjantjatjara and Luritja knowledge-holders’ contribution to this project.”]

[Image changes to show a multi-coloured three dimensional graph on screen, which is described by the female narrator]

Narrator: This illustration demonstrates how the three dimensions of the Australian Curriculum work authentically together through a focus on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures cross-curriculum priority.

[Music plays and image changes to show Australia, camera then zooms in on where Perth is located and a hand appears to mark out where Areyonga is situated]

[Image changes to show a sign with text: MacDonnell Welcome to Utju Areyonga. Many voices, one dream, building a quality desert lifestyle]

Jonathon Fernando: Areyonga is a community based 215-kilometres southwest of Alice Springs.

[Image changes to show an aerial shot of Areyonga, including the houses and buildings]

It has approximately 250 people living in the community.

[Image changes to show the camera zooming in on the school]

Our school has 35-students and a hundred per cent of those are Indigenous.

[Image changes to show students and teachers inside a classroom]

[Image changes to show Jonathon Fernando, Teaching Principal, Areyonga School talking to the camera]

Learning on country here at Areyonga School involves the entire community,

[Image changes to show teachers and students in country]

and it’s where the students get to experience learning outside of the four walls of the classroom. It’s just a hands on experience of their own culture.

[Image changes to show Fiona Webb, Project Officer, CSIRO Science Pathways for Indigenous Communities talking to the camera]

Fiona Webb: Two-Way Science aims to explore and validate Indigenous scientific knowledge,

[Image changes to show Fiona and other teachers seated on the ground together looking at something collected in a bowl]

which shows that two different knowledge systems can be used together to reach the same conclusion.

[Text appears on screen: Two-Way Science, Areyonga School]

[Image changes to show Tarna Andrews, Indigenous Language & Culture, Areyonga School talking to the camera]

Tarna Andrews: If I want to do our culture, it’s up to me, I have to talk to the teacher, ‘this is what I want to teach the kids’.

[Image changes to show Tarna in the classroom talking to a group of students seated on the floor in front of here]

I want to teach about trees. I want to teach the kids about water.

[Image changes to show Tarna talking to the camera]

Then we sit down and do the planning.

[Image changes to show Fiona talking to the camera and then an image of a canyon that is long and winding]

Fiona Webb: Today’s Two-Way Science investigation is to find out if these particular springs here, called Manta Manta, are healthy at the moment.

[Image changes to show Bryony Hardy, Senior Primary Teacher, Areyonga School

Bryony Hardy: So prior to coming out to the springs we did a lot of work on living things, their life cycles, their habitats, how they affect their environment, and how the environment affects them.

[Image changes to show Bryony and Fiona back in the classroom talking to the students]

On top of that we’ve also done a lot of sort of science inquiry skills, so predicting and questioning.

[Image changes to show Fiona standing next to a screen and reading the students a question]

Fiona Webb: So the question we’re trying to answer today is, is Manta Manta a healthy water place? And, is it more or less healthy than it was last year?

[Image changes to show Fiona seated with Daphne Burton and talking]

Daphne Burton in an Elder in the community who’s lived here for a very long time, so she’s seen the use and management of the springs over time.

[Image changes to show Daphne seated and talking to a group of students]

She was talking to the students about the dams that have been built over the years and how they were used by the community, both for the community water source and for fun things like swimming races.

[Image changes to show Fiona talking to the camera]

Daphne also was able to tell the students about the dreaming story associated with this place.

[Daphne proceeds to tell the dreamtime story in Pitjantjatjara language. The translation plays on screen: One night when the people were sleeping, up over the hill came the Wanampi]

[Image changes to show the teachers and students walking to the springs]

As we walked into the springs Indigenous teacher Tarna Andrews taught the students about the different plants and the different animals that are coming into the springs.

[Tarna proceeds to explain these things to the students in Pitjantjatjara language. The translation plays on screen: What makes this track? Dingo]

Student: Dingo.

[Tarna: What about this one? The little one? Yes, baby dingo, a pup.

Student: Baby dingo.

Student: They want a drink of water!

Fiona Webb: So the way we were testing the health of the water was to search for the small animals living in the water.

[Image changes to show the students gathered around Fiona as she puts a net into the water]

So we’re going to scoop around. We don’t want to pick up lots of gung; we just want to scoop down low in the water like this, OK? If we sit really still and watch,

[Image changes to show the students coming closer to Fiona who is holding a white plate out with items she has scooped out of the water]

we’re going to see some little creatures moving. To use the pipet, you squeeze it, squeeze the top and then put it in the water and when you let it go, it’s going to suck it up like that, OK?

[Music plays and the students walk around to different areas with nets and scoop them into the water]

[Image changes to show Bryony talking to the camera]

Bryony Hardy: When the students are out bush they seem much more engaged, they ask a lot more questions, which is a key skill in science learning.

[Image changes to show Jonathon talking to the camera]

Jonathon Fernando: They understand the concepts a lot better and they can certainly take a lot more ownership of the learning that’s happening.

[Image changes to show different images of the student in country]

Student: Hey! I got the biggest fish!

[Image changes to show the student running over to the teacher with the fish in his net.

Fiona Webb: Whoa! Bring him up here to the water.

Student: It doesn’t look like all the other fish, so we have to send it to the doctor to make sure it belongs to the Finke River.

[Image changes to show Fiona seated with two students and looking at something on a laptop]

Fiona Webb: So once we’ve collected all the animals the children brought them all together and we had a look at them under the DinoXcope, which is a small microscope that you can plug in to your computer. We use that microscope to have a look at animals that are very small and potentially identify animals that we haven’t been able to, and also, to keep a record of what we’ve caught.

[Image changes to show Fiona holding up a piece of paper with the students gathered around her]

Fiona Webb: Alright, so now we’re going to fill out the Waterhole Creatures in Central Australia Identification Sheet. This is where we circle all the things that we found today. Did you find yabbies?

[Image changes to show a student placing a yabby onto a white plate along with other yabbies]

We found lots of yabbies didn’t we? Did anyone see a tadpole?

[Image changes to show Fiona talking to the camera]

So it’s really important having the Elders on the trip, they bring a sense of community; they bring a certain depth of language.

[Image changes to show Elders seated on the ground with the students talking, they switch between English and Pitjantjatjara language]

Daphne Burton: What is kurtji-kurtji?

Student: Tadpole.

Daphne Burton: Kurtji-kurtji and…

Student: Frog.

Elder: What do we call a frog in our language?

Student: Nganngi.

Daphne Burton:  Nganngi. Tadpole and a frog, it’s called kurtji-kurtji and nganngi.

[Image changes to show Fiona talking to the camera]

Fiona Webb: On the other side of that identification sheet we’ve got a pollution indicator chart.

[Image changes to show Fiona talking through the worksheet with the students]

Now these ones down the bottom are the animals that can live in all sorts of water.

[Image changes to show Fiona talking to the camera]

The amount of animals in the different categories of sensitivity on that chart will give you an idea of the level of pollution of the water. So if you’ve got lots of animals that are quite sensitive to pollution then you can make an estimation that the water’s fairly healthy.

[Image changes back to show Fiona talking through the worksheet with the students]

So look we haven’t got much in this top row this time. I think last time we’ve had a lot more things that we’ve found.

[Image changes to show Elders seated on the ground with the students talking, they switch between English and Pitjantjatjara language]

Daphne Burton:  We came here the first year, there was lots of creatures. Why?

Student: There was more water.

Daphne Burton:  There was more water! After the rain!

[Image changes to show Bryony talking to the camera]

Bryony Hardy: So once the students had collected their data we went back to the classroom and compared the data we found today with data that we found in previous years.

[Image changes to show Bryony, Fiona and the students back in the classroom]

[Image changes to show Fiona talking to the camera and then back in the classroom with students]

Fiona Webb: And then we talked about comparing that data over the three years and how that could give us an idea of things changing at the springs, and also things that stay the same.

[Image changes to show Bryony talking to the camera]

Bryony Hardy: So what I think is really valuable about the program, and what I love about getting the kids out of the classroom and teaching out in the bush is that the science that we’re learning that is very sort of western science, and what I learnt in school, is being tied together with the Anangu way of looking at science and explaining the world around them.

[Image changes to show Fiona talking to the camera]

Fiona Webb: So one of the goals of the Two-Way Science program is to empower Indigenous students to aim towards employment in scientific fields in future.

[Different images of the students at the spring play on screen]

For remote community students that can often be as a ranger in the community, looking after the environment and caring for country that way.

[Image changes to show Tarna talking to the camera]

Tarna Andrews: If you don’t teach any culture that means children have no identity. It’s better to teach the kids their culture, our culture. Kids can learn both ways.

 [Image changes to show ACARA (Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority logo]

Two-way science at Areyonga School

Mount Liebig School

[Text appears on screen is read by a voiceover “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that the following video may contain images and voices of deceased persons.”]

[Text appears on screen is read by a voiceover “ACARA would like to acknowledge that this video was filmed on Pintupi-Luritja Country, and the Pintupi-Luritja knowledge-holders’ contribution to this project.”]

[Image changes to show a multi-coloured three dimensional graph appears on screen is described by the female narrator]

Narrator: This illustration demonstrates how the three dimensions of the Australian Curriculum work authentically together through a focus on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures cross-curriculum priority.

[Music plays and image changes to show Australia, camera then zooms in on where Alice Springs is located and a hand appears to mark out where Mt Liebig is situated]

[Image changes to show an Aboriginal child holding some sticks with leaves, speaking in Pintupi-Luritja language to the camera, which is translated on screen]

Child: This is pangkuna (dogwood).

[Image changes to show an Aboriginal child holding some grass, speaking in Pintupi-Luritja language to the camera, which is translated on screen]

Child: This is yawila (lemon grass) and it grows on hills. They make medicine from it.

[Image changes to show an Aboriginal  child holding some leaves, speaking in Pintupi-Luritja language to the camera, which is translated on screen]

Child: This is kurrkapi (desert oak) and food grows on it.

[Image changes to show an Aboriginal child holding some leaves, speaking in Pintupi-Luritja language to the camera, which is translated on screen]

Child: This is yutjanypa (ironwood). They made fine ash from it.

[Image changes to show an Aboriginal child holding some grass, speaking in Pintupi-Luritja language to the camera, which is translated on screen]

Child: This is wangunu (woollybutt grass) has good food on it.

[Image changes to show an aerial shot of the community of Watiyawanu Kuula]

Larry Kenny: This Watiyawanu Kuula and its 325-kilometres west of Alice Springs,

[Image changes to show Larry walking along a path next to a school building, and then changes to show students seated in a classroom listening to an indigenous man talk]

and we can have anything from 15-children, up to 55-children, depending on what events and activities there might be going on around in the community.

[Image changes to show a teacher seated at a table and working with a student]

The children’s first language out here is Pintupi-Luritja.

[Image changes to show Larry Kenny, Teaching Principal, Watiyawanu Kuula talking to the camera]

So a Language and Culture Program allows us to have Aboriginal teachers, or assistant teachers, teach the children in their first language.

[Image changes to show the teachers and students back in the classroom]

And we usually tie that to other curricular areas that we’re covering, and it might be science, or it might be English, and so we try to integrate the other western curriculum areas with our Language and Culture Program.

[Music plays and text appears on screen: Two-way Science Watiyawanu Kuula]

[Image changes to show Larry talking to the camera]

Our whole program started with Roderick and Rita and a couple of the local Elders coming to the school expressing concern that their children were losing their language.

[Image changes to show Rita Turner, Senior Assistant Teacher, Watiyawanu Kuula, talking to the camera]

Rita Turner: They’re always say, ‘what here, what here, what here? Lots of plants they’ve got names, that’s why they gotta to learn more about bush.

[Image changes to show Roderick Kantamara, Senior Assistant Teacher, Watiyawanu Kuula, talking to the camera]

Roderick Kantamara: It’s important for our kids to learn, you know, so they can carry on.

[Image changes to show Rita with a group of children who are digging in the dirt with sticks]

‘Cause we learn through old people, so that’s why we’re trying to pass it on to young people, you know.’

[Image changes back to show Rita Turner, Senior Assistant Teacher, Watiyawanu Kuula, holding some labelled images of animals while she’s talking to the camera]

Rita Turner: If we ask them we always teach kids about bush medicine and the plants from the cards.

[Rita proceeds to flip through the labelled images]

These all animals and sometimes we tell the kids where they live and which one is good to eat when you go out to the bush.

[Image changes to show three white 4-wheel drives driving through the bush]

County visits are essential to Language and Culture Program. Children can’t learn about their country if they’re sitting in the classroom or if they’re stuck in school grounds.

[Image changes to show Larry talking to the camera]

So we’re quite lucky, we have partnerships with Tangentyere Council and CSIRO,

[Image changes back to show three white 4-wheel drives driving through the bush, students are waving through the opened windows]

and we have partnerships with Central Land Council and through those we’re actually able to have a really specific focus for the children when we go out on country.

[Image changes to show Roderick showing the students something in a tree, which he describes in Pintupi-Luritja language that’s translated on the screen]

Roderick Kantamara: OK young ones! This wanpanpi (bush coconut).

[Image changes to show Rita showing the students something in a tree, which she describes in Pintupi-Luritja language that’s translated on the screen]

Rita Turner: You get wanpanpi from arrkinki (bloodwood). Under wanpanpi there are edible grubs.  You can chop this to see the edible grubs.

[Image changes to show the students showing Roderick something in a tree, which I spoken in Pintupi-Luritja language that’s translated on the screen]

Student: Is this pangkuna (dogwood)?

Roderick Kantamara: No, this piruwa (corkwood).

Students: Piruwa!

Roderick Kantamara: So they use this one, the old ladies, when their lips get sore, they used to rub them with this one.

[Rita can be heard speaking in Pintupi-Luritja language off screen that’s translated on the screen]

Rita Turner: This is wanari (mulga). They get many things from this tree, edible grubs, and they get takaturru (mulga apples). Tjupi (honeyants). They dig under these trees and get tjupi (honeyants).

[Image changes to show Meg Mooney, CSIRO Science Pathways for Indigenous Communities project, Tangentyere Council talking to the camera]

Meg Mooney: Two-way science works here by supporting the Indigenous Language and Culture Program in the school by asking the senior assistance teachers what they want to teach the students,

[Image changes to show Meg and Rita seated together and talking]

and providing resources and activities to support that and bringing in western science aspects.

[Image changes to show Larry in a classroom talking to the camera]

Larry Kenny: We do a lot of pre-stuff before we do bush trips; everything’s usually tied to a bush trip,

[Image changes to show students on a bush trip inspecting a variety of different plants]

this term it’s biological sciences, so we’re doing plants and medicines and the uses of plants. That’s the big focus for the Language and Culture Program.

[Image changes to show Rita showing the students the plants, which she describes in her Pintupi-Luritja language that’s translated on the screen]

Rita Turner: What’s this one’s name? Ngalurrpu (emu bush). Yes, people made smoke from it (to make babies stronger). And other medicine too.

[Image changes to show Larry in a classroom talking to the camera]

Larry Kenny: The science curriculum is a little bit more in-depth, it talks about biological process for living things and non-living things so we can extend that.

[Image changes to show a sign hanging in the classroom, which reads: Habitat – a habitat is the home of an animal or plant. It is where the animal or plant lives]

So we talk about the lifecycle for plants and the lifecycle for local plants.

 [Image changes to show Rita showing the students the plants, which she describes in Pintupi-Luritja language that’s translated on the screen]

Rita Turner: When this wangunu (wollybutt grass) is full of seeds they grind it up to make damper. The is yawila (lemon grass) and you can make medicine from it.

[Roderick can be heard speaking in Pintupi-Luritja language off screen that’s translated on the screen]

Roderick Kantamara: When it rains this becomes green and you can smell it. And if you have diarrhoea, this medicine is good for that.

[Image changes to show a student holding a plant to the camera and speaking in Pintupi-Luritja language that’s translated on the screen]

Student: This is ilykuwarra (witchetty bush) and has edible grubs.

[Image changes to show a student holding a plant to the camera and speaking in Pintupi-Luritja language that’s translated on the screen]

Student: This is wanukutu (whitewood).

[Image changes to show a student holding a plant to the camera and speaking in Pintupi-Luritja language that’s translated on the screen]

Student: This is punti (senna).

[Image changes to show a student holding a plant to the camera and speaking in Pintupi-Luritja language that’s translated on the screen]

Student: This ngalurrpu (emu bush). They used to put small babies in the smoke from this bush.

[Image changes to show Meg talking to the camera]

Meg Mooney: They learn about something like 25-different local plants and we collected specimens of those plants for classroom follow up.

[Image changes to show the teachers and students back in the classroom]

Back in the classroom we took out the pressed specimens out of the press and we laid down labels for local Aboriginal groupings of plants and each student was given a specimen, a plant specimen and asked to put it, or help to put it in the right category.

[Image changes to show Larry showing the students work and talking to the camera]

Larry Kenny: So we’d asked the kids to group plants and classify plants according to the way use them, and then we point out the way we classify plants.

[Image changes back to show the teachers and students reviewing the plant specimens]

So we look for the comparisons between the two and if there are we draw their attention to those comparisons, but we also draw their attention to the differences,

[Image changes back to Larry]

and this is where you get the comparative analysis and that’s where you get a lot learning.

[Image changes back to show the teachers and students reviewing the plant specimens]

Meg Mooney: It’s building on the knowledge that they already have. They learn far more deeply in their own language and then that can be a link to learning some of the western science terms and ways of doing things.

[Image changes to show Meg talking to the group of students]

This is what scientists would call a herbarium,

[Camera pans over the plant specimens]

all these pieces of paper with specimens of different plants on them with the name and some information about the plants.

[Image changes to show Larry talking to the camera]

Larry Kenny: Student engagement levels and attendance and learning are all dramatically increased through the Language and Culture Program.

[Image changes to show the students in the classroom working with their plant specimens]

 We get great results because it’s all done in first language,

 [Image changes to show Larry talking to the camera]

and it’s up to the English teachers later on to draw those connections for the children to the English curriculum.

[Image changes to show Meg talking to the camera]

Meg Mooney: It’s made a big difference to the whole feeling in the school, the morale of the Indigenous staff and of the students,

[Image changes to show the teachers and students in the classroom]

that their language and culture are valued here.

[Image changes to show Roderick talking to the camera]

Roderick Kantamara: That’s what we wanted in our school, for kids to learn both ways.

[Image changes to show ACARA (Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority logo]

Two Way Science at Watiyawanu Kuula

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