Activities

These activities are neither in any order of difficulty nor in KLA groupings as a report on sustainability may match a Science or an English requirement, an investigation into life cycles may fit to Maths or Science. Nor are the activities in year levels as teachers will modify them according to the capabilities of their students with an emphasis on critical and higher order thinking.

1. Northern Hairy-nosed Wombats are critically endangered. What does this mean?
http://www.kidcyber.com.au/topics/austendangered.htm What is the difference between being ‘endangered’ and ‘critically endangered’? Who decides on this? http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/sprat/public/publicthreatenedlist.pl?wanted=fauna#mammals_critically_endangered How are critically endangered species like the Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat managed? http://www.derm.qld.gov.au/wildlife-ecosystems/wildlife/threatened_plants_and_animals/recovery_conservation_plans.html

2. Why has the Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat become critically endangered? http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Why_are_northern_hairy_nosed_wombats_endangered or http://www.kidcyber.com.au/topics/austendangered.htm or http://www.derm.qld.gov.au/wildlife-ecosystems/wildlife/threatened_plants_and_animals/endangered/northern_hairynosed_wombat/index.html

3. Make a list of ten endangered Australian fauna. http://www.fame.org.au/endangered_wildlife.html Who is supposed to look after endangered species? http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/legislation/index.html Are they successful?

4. Make a list of ten endangered species from around the world. http://www.iucnredlist.org/ or http://www.worldwildlife.org/species/ or http://www.endangeredspecie.com/causes_of_endangerment.htm Place them on a map with ten from Australia. Are the causes for their endangered status different or the same across the world?

5. Survey parents and friends on what they know about wombats (species, habitat, problems, diet, size, age, endangered status, etc) From this make a brochure to ‘fill the gap’ between what they know and don’t know.

6. On a calendar, map out the life cycle of the three different species of wombats. http://www.wombania.com/wombats/wombat-life-cycle.htm Why are they different?

7. Compare skeletons of wombats, humans and dogs. What are the similarities and differences? Make a wombat skeleton from pipe-cleaners or wire or cardboard. http://www.wombania.com/wombats/wombat-physical-characteristics.htm and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_skeleton and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dog_anatomy

8. Watch “Hunting wombat: always did, always will”. Discuss issues of sustainability and traditional ways of life. http://aso.gov.au/titles/documentaries/wirrangul-women/

9. Tabulate ways of accommodating different species of wombat habitats in the country and in rural areas that are being developed. How can we best accommodate wombats? http://www.samdbnrm.sa.gov.au/Biodiversity/DrylandBiodiversity/Wombats.aspx

10. Read or listen to “Death of a Wombat” by Ivan Smith (and recorded by the ABC). How does the author create the awfulness of the fire and the pathos of the wombat? How do you feel about each animal?

11. Choose four elements (a can, a tree, a bike, a bag of flour, a chook, a vacuum cleaner, a shoe, a large rock, five birds, a chair, a tin of paint, a feather, a goanna, etc etc) with a wombat, to create a story. Everyone in the class can choose their own four – see how different the stories are.

12. Crossword Puzzles

Illustrated Plain Answers
Level 1 Level 1 Level 1
Level 2 Level 2 Level 2
Level 3 Level 3 Level 3

13. Advertise The Wombat Foundation. www.wombatfoundation.com.au Decide on your audience, the purpose for the ad., the angle and type of media. Set up a panel of students from other classes to gauge how effective the ad. is and why.

14. Choose from “IF” cards –
- If you had one wish for wombats what would it be?
- If you could enact one law for wombats what would it be?
- If you had three sentences to send to the Prime Minister about Northern and Southern Hairy-nosed Wombats, what would they be?
- If you could eliminate one prejudice against wombats what would it be?
- If you could invent one thing to help wombats what would it be?

15. Design a digging machine to compete against a wombat in “The Great Dig”. Design a wombat burrow for the three different wombat species. Consider location, vegetation, food sources, predators, soil types, etc. Some burrows are more than 100 years old and are still being used. Young wombats dig ‘practice’ burrows.

16. Use a Snakes and Ladders format to create a game. List all the positive things about wombats for the ladders and all the problems for wombats for the snakes.

17. Create a game to inform players about wombats. It could be a “Monopoly” type game, a computer game or quiz. Consider the information you want players to know, the entertainment value, accuracy of information and age level.

18. Debates – explore both sides of issues relating to wombats, eg: that more effort should be put into saving the Northern and Southern Hairy-nosed Wombats; that Bare-nosed Wombats should be kept off the roads; that ‘rent’ is paid to wildlife and the money used for conservation and research; that farmers in wombat areas are paid to accommodate them; that areas of national parks in wombat areas be wombat-fenced; that development is a threat to our environment, etc.
Invite people or take the role of The Wombat Foundation, farmers groups, miners, researchers, carers or the public.

19. Discuss the meanings that nouns and verbs bring to writing:

Farmers accommodate wombats
Developers ignore
The public destroy
National Parks people control
Governments welcome
Miners support

20. Listen to Elena Kats-Chenin’s “Russian Rag”, sometimes knows as the “Waltz of the Wombats” (ABC ‘Late Night Live’). Or find music that sounds like wombats. Create a dance to match. Make a percussion story about wombats.

21. Make lists of wombat related words – nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs. Create spelling bees. Hang mobiles (words not phones).

22. List types and locations of wombats, problems and support. www.derm.qld.gov.au/register/p02490aa.pdf and http://www.derm.qld.gov.au/wildlife-ecosystems/wildlife/threatened_plants_and_animals/endangered/northern_hairynosed_wombat/index.html#recovery_actions and http://www.samdbnrm.sa.gov.au/Biodiversity/DrylandBiodiversity/Wombats.aspx
If you were in charge of National Parks, or Government policy, or a museum, or research, etc. what changes would you make? Compare different habitats, support, issues, zoos or not zoos. Why are wombats important? What are the issues for wombats in your state?

23. Find maps and show where the three types of wombats used to live and the size of their habitat now. www.derm.qld.gov.au/register/p02490aa.pdf Decide how wombats can continue to live and breed. We have laws to protect things in our society. What laws protect wombats, State and Federal (see Wombat data)? http://wombatresources.com/wombat-data/information/#legal
Why are the laws different in each state and what does this mean for the three species of wombats? Who makes and enforces these laws? Who can change these laws? What changes need to be made? What is being done to preserve and protect wombats? http://www.wombatfoundation.com.au/scientific-index.htm.

24. What are some possible ways to conserve a critically endangered species like the Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat? (ie enclosed habitat versus captive breeding programme versus habitat protection, or all of these). Make a list of each conservation activity, where are they happening, who is doing them, what does it cost and what are the problems?

25. Read three picture books about wombats (see Bibliography) and compare how wombat characters are depicted. Why are they different? What difference does it make to the book? Do the books stereotype wombats? What do you think were the intentions of the author?

26. Hypotheticals.
- Your family is out driving and you see another car injure a wombat. What do you do? And why? What is the ‘right’ thing to do? Write your feelings into a journal.
- A new colony of Northern Hairy-Nosed Wombats is found on a private property. What should happen – move them or compulsorily acquire the land? What if they survive because of good farming practices? Are public lands safer than private lands?
- “I’ve purchased a property in South Australia/Victoria/New South Wales/ Tasmania. Now I find I’ve got lots of wombat burrows. You’d better tell me the problems and how can I solve them or I’ll just have to shoot them, even if it is illegal!”.
- What is the difference between humans and animals? Is one more important than the other?
- You’ve been put in charge of the Northern Hairy-nosed Wombats in Australia. What steps will you take to ensure survival of the species?
- Dodos in Africa were hunted and eaten because visiting seamen were hungry, the birds were easy to catch and there seemed to be lots of them. Now they are extinct. When does it become not ‘all right’? Right versus might?
- You have three minutes to convince the Prime Minister that Northern Hairy-nosed Wombats must be better protected. What are the main points you would like to make?
- Epping Forest National Park in Central Queensland, the home of the Northern Hairy-nosed Wombats, was also the home of Indigenous people; then a cattle grazing property up to the 1950s; proclaimed a National Park in the 1970s; cattle were excluded in the 1980s; fencing excluded most predators in the 1990s; a dingo-proof fence was constructed around the 200km perimeter in 2000 and finally a translocation project in 2009 to the St George “Yarran Downs” donated property. What attitudes to land management and wildlife have changed over the time? What more needs to happen?

27. Create a table for the three different wombats, compare and contrast the different challenges. Think of numbers, dangers, predators, food sources, farming, legislative support, research knowledge, soils, etc.

28. What is a’ wombat gate’ and why are they needed? http://www.samdbnrm.sa.gov.au/Biodiversity/DrylandBiodiversity/Wombats.aspx

29. Listen to wombats at play and when they are upset. http://wombania.com/wombats/wombat-vocalizations.htm or http://www.wombats.info/articles/48800/How-does-a-wombat-sounds-like. Create a soundscape and a story about wombats in different situations.

30. Contact one of the Wombat Organisations (see Wombat Data) and ask what their major concerns are and what solutions there could be.

31. Consider the ways you can help raise public awareness about wombats. Choose one wombat species and consider the best ways to let more people know that they need to be better protected. Consider letters to the editor, letters to politicians, talking to researchers, fund raising, schools participating in wombat breeding programs or habitat restoration, schools adopting an area to install ‘wombat gates’ that deliver anti-mange medication, informing the public and contributing to newsletters, etc.
“The secret life of wombats” by Jackie French (p152) has a list of other activities.

32. What endangered the Northern Hairy-nosed Wombats in the past? www.wpsa.org.au/pdf/wombat/WPSAProject_Wombat.pdf or http://www.kidcyber.com.au/topics/austendangered.htm What might threaten them in the future, ie disease or parasites passed from humans or other animals, flood, fire, drought, climate change, vandals, predators, changes in Government Legislation, farming practices, etc. What can help protect wombats against threats?

33. Wombat burrows are ecologically sound. http://www.wombania.com/wombats/wombat-burrows.htm Using the same principles design a group of houses for a human community that will also withstand flood and fire.

34. Write a letter from an endangered Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat to the people of Australia, to State and Federal Members of Parliament, the Farmers’ Federation, Mining Groups, an advertising agency, and/or the children of Australia.

35. How many grains of rice or apples or carrots are needed to weigh as much as the average sized wombat? Who weighs more, you or a wombat?

36. As a wombat out to eat at night, imagine the sounds that would surround you. Describe the sounds, then write them as words. This is called onomatopoeia.

37. Invent the rules for a new game – “Wombilla”.

38. Develop opinions whether wombats are doing wrong pushing through fences or digging under sheds or fences or making webs of burrows. List reasons for these opinions. Debate your different points of view.

39. Choose four stories from the bibliography to be read aloud to the class. Graph how each one is liked and list all the reasons why.

40. Using a wombat shape add texture for fur, soil, claws, etc by using different strokes, marks, colours and materials to create your wombat. Make notes as to why each element was chosen.

41. Describe a wombat to someone who is sight-impaired.

42. To what extent does the media help create stereotypes, eg that wombats are not very smart; or a pest; or so common there is enough of them not to worry about; or so endangered we shouldn’t bother about them at all?

43. How much does the media determine which social issues are important, eg that Giant Pandas are more important to conserve than Northern Hairy-nosed Wombats. Make lists of emotive words used about wombats … for and against. In what sorts of articles might these words be used – news, article, editorial, reports. What types of images are used to depict wombats in different types of media? Why don’t Northern Hairy-nosed Wombats get a lot of media coverage? Conduct a poll of family, friends and other classes: do they think pandas or Northern Hairy-nosed Wombats are more endangered? Report back to the class and together graph your results. Why do Australians know more about the pandas than about critically endangered wombats?

44. Devise ways so people can understand and remember that Bare-nosed Wombats are not bear-nosed wombats.

45. How important are donations from the public or business, of money and property to help conserve endangered wildlife such as the Xstrata project to translocate wombats to St George? Or the donation from the Underwood family? http://www.derm.qld.gov.au/wildlife-ecosystems/wildlife/threatened_plants_and_animals/endangered/northern_hairynosed_wombat/xstrata_reintroduction_project.html How, why or should the Government support this?

46. If you were a scientist undertaking a study of Northern Hairy-nosed Wombats what would you want to observe and measure? www.wpsa.org.au/pdf/wombat/WPSAProject_Wombat.pdf What would you study for the Southern Hairy-nosed Wombats? wombatawareness.com