Story Book/Photo

‘Drought’ and ‘Flood’ picture story books

Two books by Jackie French highlighting the impact of Drought and Flood on landscapes, flora, fauna and people.  Read the books or watch the online readings to start discussions about the way climate and natural processes sometimes seem irrelevant in everyday life but their impact on us are brought to the fore in times when nature is out of balance. Use the teachers notes for Drought and Flood to explore the two books with students.

  • General, Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Story Book/Photo, Teacher, Upper Primary, Video/Audio, Water cycles,
  • All Regions,

Desert Lake – The Story of Kati Thanda – Lake Eyre picture book

It’s raining up north and soon everything will change for the desert lake.

The dry salt bed of Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre shimmers in the desert heat. But far up north, the rains have come. Water is flooding into empty riverbeds and swirling down towards the lake. Soon everything will change.

Although Lake Eyre is far from Victoria, this is a beautifully written narrative that explores the unique story of one of Australia’s most amazing phenomenon.  It builds an appreciation of the wonder and resilience of nature along with the function of a catchment.

There are no online versions of this book but a hard copy or big book version can be ordered at your favourite book store.

Alternative teacher notes can be found here.

  • Catchments, Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Salinity, Story Book/Photo, Teacher, Upper Primary, Waterways,
  • All Regions,

Digital story; If We Care We Can: A Story of How One Glider Helped Save a Forest

‘If We Care We Can’ is a digital children’s story which is freely available online.  It is reasonably long, 60 pages, but turn on the audio and it’s perfect to watch/listen to as a serial over several days.  It is set in the forests of northern NSW but has many relevant messages for Victorian students.
‘If We Care We Can’ tells the story of Acacia, a Squirrel Glider, who is rescued as a tiny joey and raised by human wildlife carers. When she is released into the wild she travels to a nearby forest, meeting and learning about native plants and animals, and how important the forest is to them. She overhears humans talking about plans to log the forest and, by collaborating with animals and humans alike, the forest is saved.

This story is best viewed on a tablet or computer in landscape view.

  • Fauna (animals), Lower Primary, Story Book/Photo, Teacher, Upper Primary, Video/Audio,
  • All Regions,

Weaving activity

Use natural items found at your local waterway or bushland, in your school yard or home garden to make a weaving like the one pictured at the link above.  Hang it somewhere special to connect you with nature.

  • Flora (plants), General, Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Story Book/Photo, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary,
  • All Regions,

Mandala Art

Making a nature mandala is a great activity to tune into the colours, shapes and textures of natural objects at your waterway.  Collect some treasures, plan a design and create a masterpiece.  Ideally, this is done by the waterway where collected materials can stay on site.  If collecting from your waterway and completing the activity back at school, try to return the materials later.

Extension: find objects in nature that are mandalas in themselves.  See this article for examples.

  • Flora (plants), General, Guide/Activity booklet, Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Story Book/Photo, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary,
  • All Regions,

Your hand as a catchment

Use this activity sheet to model a catchment with your hand; high points representing hills and wrinkles in your palm representing waterways.

  • Activity Sheet, Catchments, Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Story Book/Photo, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary,
  • All Regions,

The artistry and ingenuity of bird nests video

Whilst visiting your waterway each month for water quality testing you might notice the building and use of bird nests as a key seasonal change.  Bird nests are endlessly fascinating and we can learn much about the skill, patience, resilience, artistry and ingenuity of birds by learning about the way they build and use nests.

Although this is an American video it is a great resource to showcase the many different types of nests that birds build around the world.  There are also some great picture story books about bird nests; Bird Builds A Nest by Martin Jenkins, Birds Build Nests by Yvonne Winer and Mama Built A Little Nest by Jennifer Ward.

Watch this video of nest building up close or challenge students to gather materials and try building their own nest – it’s harder than they might think !

  • Fauna (animals), Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Story Book/Photo, Teacher, Upper Primary, Video/Audio,
  • All Regions,

The Best Beak in Boonaroo Bay picture story book

This picture story book by Narelle Oliver is perfect for understanding how animals, in this case birds, have evolved over time to possess bodies that are just right for finding and eating their favourite foods.  The birds in this watery environment all compete for the title of the ‘best beak’ but discover that they all have the best beak for their own needs.

Use this book as a springboard to studying the adaptions of animals to survive – the ‘feathery friends’ activity is a small way to start with younger students.

  • Activity Sheet, Estuaries, Fauna (animals), Lower Primary, Story Book/Photo, Teacher, Upper Primary, Video/Audio,
  • All Regions,

Louie and Snippy: Save the Sea picture story book

Louie and Snippy: Save Our Seas by Collette Dinnigan is a story of a little boy whose love of the ocean takes him, and the reader, on an incredible underwater journey.

Louie and his trusty companion, Snippy the dog, dive into the ocean and are surrounded by brilliant coral reefs. But they soon discover that human rubbish – bottles, plastic straws and plastic bags – have trapped fish and other creatures. What will Louie be inspired to do?  What will you be inspired to do ?

A great book for younger readers to highlight the problem facing our oceans and to explore the links between our waterways and where our rubbish travels.

Grab a copy of the book or enjoy this online reading.

  • Estuaries, Lower Primary, Story Book/Photo, Teacher, Upper Primary, Urban Water,
  • All Regions,

Tarrengower and Lalgambook: A teaching from the Jaara Jaara

As part of North Central CMA’s 2020 NAIDOC week celebrations, Aunty Marilyne Nicholls spent time on Country at beautiful Tarrengower to share this special creation story of a Dja Dja Wurrung storyline from central Victoria.

This book was created by the kids at The Meeting Place and proudly published by Nalderun.

  • Aboriginal Cultures, Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Story Book/Photo, Teacher, Upper Primary,
  • North Central CMA,

On The River picture story book

This book is a delight for all ages from the creator of the bestselling At the Beach series.

Follow the mighty Murray River from its smallest beginnings in the mountains to where it meets the sea on an epic journey with Roland Harvey and his pelican friend, in this glorious picture book full of humorous, intricate illustrations and fascinating information.

Together they discover the story of the river: its secrets, history, ecology, people and animals. And you’re invited, too!

There are no online versions of this book but a hard copy can be ordered at your favourite book store.  Teacher’s notes are available along with a worksheet for younger readers.

  • Activity Sheet, All, Catchments, Fauna (animals), Guide/Activity booklet, Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Story Book/Photo, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Waterways,
  • All Regions,

You And Me, Murrawee picture story book

You And Me, Murrawee by Kerri Hashmi is a simple yet very powerful story for primary aged children about the rhythms of daily life beside a river and the many reasons we enjoy time by the water.  It highlights the timeless appeal of rivers, the constant yet ever-evolving circle of life for people/plants/animals and prompts us to evaluate modern and traditional life through the subtle revelation that the characters are living 200  years apart.

Murrawee means ‘elder sister’ in the language of the Ngarrindjeri people from the Murray River in South Australia but this story is set at an unnamed river and can be used in any location.

Enjoy this online reading of the story or purchase the book at your favourite book store.  Teacher notes for the story are not available but endless learning opportunities abound.

  • Aboriginal Cultures, Lower Primary, Story Book/Photo, Teacher, Upper Primary, Video/Audio, Waterways,
  • All Regions,

Urban Stormwater Journey photos

This series of five photos and short explanations clearly illustrate the journey of rainfall from an urban roof, road or footpath into a nearby waterway.

  • All, Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Story Book/Photo, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Urban Water,
  • All Regions,

Rubbish In The River envirostory

This example of a student-written/illustrated book comes from the Enviro-Stories website.  It is a great example of how the River Detectives program can be embedded into the curriculum and inspire literacy projects.  The topics are endless for solo/group writing challenges.  Check out the enviro-story library for more ideas regardless of how books are eventually published.

  • All, Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Story Book/Photo, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Urban Water, Waterways,
  • All Regions,

Wilam: A Birrarung Story

Wilam: A Birrarung Story is written by Aunty Joy Murphy and Andrew Kelly and illustrated by Lisa Kennedy.  It tells the Indigenous and geographical story of Melbourne’s Yarra River, from its source to its mouth, from its pre-history to the present day and includes words from the Woiwurrung language.

There are no online versions of this book but a hard copy can be ordered at your favourite book store.

Comprehensive cross-curricular teacher’s notes are a wonderful guide to implementing this beautiful book in the classroom.

  • Aboriginal Cultures, All, Estuaries, Fauna (animals), Guide/Activity booklet, Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Story Book/Photo, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Water cycles, Waterways,
  • All Regions,

Urban Stormwater photos

These photos of stormwater sources, stormwater pits/pipes/swales, stormwater pollution, impacts of pollution, pollution prevention strategies and stormwater management solutions can be used as a springboard for discussion, in conjunction with lessons in the Urban Stormwater Environmental Education Resource (see Topics-Urban Water) or with some of the activities on the Urban Stormwater/Rural Runoff activity matrix found under the Dive Deeper tab.

  • All, Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Story Book/Photo, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Urban Water,
  • All Regions,

Catchment/Waterway photos

These photos of catchments, healthy and threatened waterways, wetlands and rehabilitation strategies can be used as a springboard for discussion, in conjunction with lessons in the Waterways Environmental Education Resource (see Topics-Waterways) or with some of the activities on the Waterways activity matrix found under the Dive Deeper tab.

  • All, Catchments, Flora (plants), Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Story Book/Photo, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Waterways,
  • All Regions,

Now and Then waterbug guide

This booklet was produced quite some time ago by Corangamite CMA but remains a useful resource with waterbug profiles including fantastic photos showing the scale of bugs compared to a five cent piece, life cycle sketches and sketches/descriptions of the six main types of waterbug mouthparts (useful graphics for student research projects).

Information and graphics from this booklet have also been used to produce our Waterbug Fact Sheets.

  • All, Fact sheet, Guide/Activity booklet, Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Story Book/Photo, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Water bugs,
  • All Regions,

“Rivertime” picture story book

Rivertime by Trace Balla follows the adventures of Clancy who goes on a paddling adventure down the Glenelg River in the Wimmera CMA region with his bird-watching uncle.  It is a story about slowing down (‘rivertime’), growing up and connecting with the land and its creatures.  It’s also a fantastic launching pad for doing some birdwatching at your waterwatch site.

There are no online versions of this book but a hard copy can be ordered at your favourite book store.  The story can be read as a class but is best enjoyed by individuals to read and reflect at their own pace, pore over the detailed illustrations and enjoy every comic-style speech bubble.

Teacher Notes provide suggested activities for middle/upper primary students or use this Rivertime-inspired pocket birdwatching guide by Trace Balla to inspire your students to make a guide for your area !

  • Estuaries, Fauna (animals), Guide/Activity booklet, Lower Primary, Story Book/Photo, Teacher, Upper Primary, Waterways,
  • All Regions,

“The Rhythm of the Rain” picture story book

The Rhythm of the Rain by Graham Baker-Smith is a magical book for any educator to launch a lesson or a unit on the water cycle, on the geography of our planet, on the diversity on our planet…there are so many themes hidden within.  This story will stretch students’ imaginations, their curiosity, their appreciation of the amazing natural world that surrounds us and nourishes us.

Thanks to Alice from Coliban Water in the north central region you can watch a reading of the book as a springboard to other discussions and activities around the water cycle, catchments and the responsibility we all share around the world to conserve water for everyone.

For schools in the north central region, visit Coliban Water’s website to get involved in their education resources and incursions.

  • Catchments, Lower Primary, Story Book/Photo, Teacher, Upper Primary, Video/Audio, Water cycles, Waterways,
  • All Regions,

“Water is Water” picture story book

Water is Water by Miranda Paul is a lovely book for lower primary exploring the water cycle, the ways we experience water in all it’s forms; rain, steam, fog, frost, snow, puddles; and how we use water for fun, gardening, drinking, etc.

Thanks to Alice from Coliban Water in the north central region you can watch a reading of the book as a springboard to other discussions and activities around water.

For schools in the north central region, visit Coliban Water’s website to get involved in their education resources and incursions.

  • Lower Primary, Story Book/Photo, Teacher, Video/Audio, Water cycles,
  • All Regions,

“When Water Lost Her Way” picture story book

This is a powerful story by Meg Humphrys of ‘water’ questioning who she is.  She seeks all parts of her cycle for answers until an ‘old tree’ helps her to understand her place in the world and her many interconnections with all living and non-living things.

This book is a must-have in the school library, however you can enjoy the digital version or watch the narrated audio version online.

Indulge in water cycle meditation, discuss extension questions or explore enquiry based lesson plans based on the story.

During National Water Week 2020, Meg was interviewed and the video is a great way to further children’s engagement with this book and the water cycle (they’ll love the edible aquifer idea !)

  • Activity Sheet, Guide/Activity booklet, Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Story Book/Photo, Teacher, Upper Primary, Video/Audio, Water cycles,
  • All Regions,

“Where’s Our Water” digital picture story book

This book came out of a project co-ordinated by Hunter Water in NSW.  Although it is not local, the story has valuable messages that apply to any catchment and the project is an inspiring example of what can be achieved when students work closely with traditional owners.

Where’s Our Water? has been written for primary school students in the Lower Hunter region to teach them about the value of water as a precious resource and that it is everyone’s responsibility to care for it to ensure we have enough now and into the future. Hunter Water has collaborated with both the Awabakal and Worimi communities to create this new story that draws on their traditional wisdom and practices of caring for our land and waterways.

You can also watch a video about the project.

 

  • Aboriginal Cultures, Catchments, Guide/Activity booklet, Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Story Book/Photo, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Urban Water, Video/Audio, Waterways,
  • All Regions,

Salinity Photos

These photos of salt-ravaged land, healthy land, restoration strategies and urban salinity can be used as a springboard for discussion, in conjunction with lessons in the Salinity Environmental Education Resource (see Topics-Salinity) or with some of the activities on the Salinity activity matrix found under the Dive Deeper tab.

  • All, Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Salinity, Story Book/Photo, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary,
  • All Regions,