Investigating, learning and taking action: How one Perth school helped the mighty numbat
Category: News

In the Perth suburb of Duncraig, Year 1 students from St Stephen’s School took action to help local endangered marsupial – the numbat – by engaging in an inquiry project and producing and selling artwork about the animal to raise funds for its conservation.

Once the class had voted and chosen the numbat as the endangered animal they were most concerned about, students brainstormed ways to support the numbat.

Ideas included spreading awareness about numbat conservation, helping to preserve its natural habitat and raising awareness of the importance of good cat management through posters and books.

The children undertook research on the numbat’s habitat in Western Australia and the threats to its survival, compiling their learnings into their own hand-written and illustrated books and posters. Their investigations were supplemented with visits from a number of experts who shared their own conservation efforts with other endangered wildlife, including a retired Zookeeper.

The children then promoted their learnings by creating artworks and hanging their posters around the school. The finished information texts were placed in the school library for other students to borrow and read. They also held a non-uniform day to support awareness of numbats and it’s environmental around the wider school community.

The children’s art show event was a huge success, with all art pieces successfully sold. Altogether, the students of Class 1E raised $501.90 which they donated to Project Numbat.

Their outstanding knowledge of numbat features, habitat and threats makes them great ambassadors for the precious numbats and conservation of the land they reside.

One Junior Landcarer in action, Teagan, pointed out that her “favourite bit was learning about why numbats are so endangered. Feral cats, foxes and fires are the threats. We wrote about that in our books.”

Through this amazing project, these Junior Landcarers in action were supported to foster their interest and knowledge in threatened species conservation, and learn in a hands-on way how local action can make a difference.

“My favourite bit was when we found out how much money we raised. We got so excited that we got so much money so that we can help save the numbats”, shared Nicholas.

Year 1E’s teacher, Andraea Egan, was really impressed by her students’ enthusiasm and encouraged other schools to support student-led projects like this.

“We would encourage other schools to be led by the children’s interests. In giving them autonomy over the species we chose to support, the students took so much ownership in their inquiry project. They were so excited to see us acting on their suggested ideas and really felt that they were having an authentic impact on our local endangered wildlife.”

Andraea also explains how the project was extended into many subject areas.

“As the inquiry journey went over the entire 10-week term, being fully integrated through all subject areas, there were many highlights. One being the ‘Art show’ to display their creative numbat pieces and hosting parents and guests to share their new knowledge of the numbat’s plight. Another being a visit to Perth Zoo at the conclusion of the inquiry to see the numbats in real life.”

“Reconnecting with our beautiful learning space after the floods has been an essential part of the healing for all members of the school community,” concludes Julie.

There were a number of curriculum areas covered throughout this project, including;

  • Science – students learned about the numbat’s external features and their habitat. They explored how their habitat provides for all if it’s needs. They found out about their biggest threats (cats and foxes)
  • Literacy – students utilised their reading skills to research the numbat through information texts and online sources. Children used their writing skills to carefully put together engaging books for others to read. A number of picture books were shared in class with the students, including Nelly the Numbat by Nathan Ferlazzo and Numby the Numbat by Tim Faulkner,
  • Maths – Students gathered information and displayed this on bar charts and graphs, and explored Australian money as they collected and counted the money raised.
  • Art – Students used their ‘sharp eye’ to draw realistic life drawings of the numbat, ensuring that they were lifelike.
  • First Nations Perspectives – Canvas paintings were created after being inspired by the book, The Two Hearted Numbat by Ambelin Kwaymullina and Ezekiel Kwaymullina.
  • Digital Technology – Students used ‘Pages’ to create digital posters to print and hang around the school. ‘Clips’ was also used to create videos.

Well done St Stephen’s and Class 1E!

To learn about supporting wildlife in your school or local community, check out the biodiversity themed resources about creating a wildlife habitat in the Junior Landcare Learning Centre.

To locate a Landcare Group in your area or near your school, search the National Landcare Directory here.

Boy with numbat