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Questions for discussion

Episode 34

23rd november 2010
oyal engagement

  1. Discuss the Royal engagement story with another student.

  2. Prince William is second in line to the British throne. What does that mean?

  3. Queens are higher than kings. True or false?

  4. What is a `commoner’?

  5. Who is next in line to be King or Queen?

  6. When William and Kate marry, what name will she be known as?

  7. Who chooses the title that William and Kate will have?

  8. How might Britain’s current economic situation affect William and Kate’s wedding?

  9. How do you think the wedding will affect Australia?

  10. What do you understand more clearly since watching the BtN story?

Test your knowledge in the online quiz.

Class sizes

  1. What was the main point of the story?

  2. What were schools like in the 1950s and 60s?

  3. Why do some parents and teachers want smaller class sizes?

  4. What were the main findings of a new report about class sizes?

  5. Why do smaller class sizes cost more money?

  6. How many students are in your class? How would learning be different if there were more or less students in the class?

  7. Do you think the number of students in a class makes a difference to kids’ learning?

  8. What other factors are important to helping students learn?
  9. Create a plus, minus and interesting chart about class sizes.

  10. What was surprising about this story?

`Do you think the size of the class affects how you learn?’ Vote in the BtN online poll.

Trade simulator

  1. Explain the Trade simulator story to another student.

  2. Why are kids being encouraged to consider a career in civil construction?

  3. What trades are students having a go at?

  4. How does the simulator work?

  5. What did the kids using the simulator learn?

  6. Why are simulators a great training tool?

  7. In what other jobs could a simulator be used?

  8. What are the benefits of using a simulator?

  9. Illustrate an aspect of this story.

  10. How has your thinking changed since watching the BtN story?

Have a go at playing some games to find out the problem solving skills engineers use every day.


  1. Briefly summarise the Carp story.

  2. Why are there large numbers of European carp at the moment?

  3. In your own words, explain what an introduced species is and give three examples.

  4. Which country are European carp native to?

  5. When were they brought to Australia?

  6. Name some products being made from carp.

  7. Why are carp bad for lakes and rivers?

  8. What impact do they have on native fish?

  9. What methods are being used to control carp numbers?

  10. Think of three interesting facts you learnt watching this story.

Create a carp quiz using the BtN transcript

Musical playground

  1. What materials were used to make the musical playground?

  2. What instruments did they make?

  3. How are percussion instruments played?

  4. What does the word `percussion’ mean?

  5. Why is the musical playground unique?

  6. What types of music are students learning to write and play?

  7. How is the musical playground being used in other subject areas?

  8. What skills are needed to play the instruments?

  9. How is the musical playground encouraging more kids to learn music?

  10. How did this story make you feel?

Write a message about the story and post it on the BtN guestbook


Focus Questions

  1. B
    Episode 34

    23rd november 2010

    Learning Area

    Society and Environment

    Key learning

    Students will develop a deeper understanding of the environment, social and economic impact introduced species have.

    riefly summarise the Carp story.

  2. Why are there large numbers of European carp at the moment?

  3. In your own words, explain what an introduced species is and give three examples.

  4. Which country are European carp native to?

  5. When were they brought to Australia?

  6. Name some products being made from carp.

  7. Why are carp bad for lakes and rivers?

  8. What impact do they have on native fish?

  9. What methods are being used to control carp numbers?
  10. Think of three interesting facts you learnt watching this story.

    Invasive species

Students will research an introduced species in depth. Use the following to help guide students research:

  • Choose an introduced species, for example, carp, cane toads, rabbits, foxes, feral goats or pigs.

  • Native location of the animal. How and why was it introduced?

  • Impact on the ecosystem and other native animals.

  • Economic and social impact.

  • What methods are being used to control or manage the species?

  • Interesting or unusual products are being made from the species, for example carp fertiliser, cane toad sausages.

  • Why do introduced species threaten biodiversity?

Students can publish the information using Microsoft Publisher, Power Point, a podcast or oral presentation.


What worked well with your presentation?

What information would you include in your presentation next time? Why

8 Related Research Links

ABC Landline – Scaling back
Department of Primary Industries – Priority noxious fish species
Basin Kids - European carp
Australian Museum – European Carp
Department of Environment and Water Resources - Managing Feral Animals and their impacts

Musical playground

Focus Questions

  1. W
    Episode 34

    23rd november 2010

    Learning Area

    The Arts

    Key learning

    Students will investigate a range of percussion instruments and how they are played.

    hat materials were used to make the musical playground?

  2. What instruments did they make?

  3. How are percussion instruments played?

  4. What does the word `percussion’ mean?

  5. Why is the musical playground unique?

  6. What types of music are students learning to write and play?

  7. How is the musical playground being used in other subject areas?

  8. What skills are needed to play the instruments?

  9. How is the musical playground encouraging more kids to learn music?

  10. How did this story make you feel?

    Musical playground

Students will explore percussion instruments in more detail.

Begin by asking students to look at the words below. With a partner, recall how they were used in the BtN story and illustrate each word.

percussion musical playground

innovation award classical reggae


Students can choose one or more of the following activities:

Create a rhythmic pattern using body percussion (clapping, whistling, stomping feet). Perform the pattern to a small group or class.

Investigate how high and low notes are produced on percussion instruments (what happens when vibrations get faster and slower?)

Working with other students, design your own musical playground using recycled materials. Think about how the instruments can be incorporated into the existing school playground.

Create a hand held percussion instrument. The following websites may help Teach a friend to play the instrument.

Choose one of the following percussion instruments and write a short description (including history/culture, how it’s played, the sound it makes) and illustrate it.
Xylophone, marimba, conga, djembe, timpani, maracas, agogo bells, castanets.

Make a quiz or crossword about percussion instruments. Give it to another student to try.

8 Related Research Links

Northumberland Orchestra – Percussion instruments
Thinkquest – Percussion
Classics for Kids – Percussion family
Online Schools – How does a piano work?

BtN: Episode 34 Transcript 23/11/10

On this week's Behind the News:

  • Does size matter? Why some people think smaller classes might not mean better results.

  • Using joysticks and computer screens to play your way into a trade.

  • And who's stirring up trouble in our waterways.

Hi I'm Nathan Bazley thanks for joining us again for Behind the News.

Also on today's show we'll meet the kids behind this award winning playground and you won't guess what's so special about it.

But first up today there's romance in the air.

Royal Engagement

Reporter: Nathan Bazley

INTRO: Engagements are always pretty big news for the people involved but when it comes to the engagement of the 2nd in line to the throne it gets everyone talking

Prince William has proposed to his girlfriend Kate Middleton.

And that could make her the future Queen of Britain and Australia!

So let's check out what their big day means for them and just as importantly what it means for us.

When a normal couple decide to get married they don't have to ask the Queen's permission.

And they don't have to get blinded by thousands of camera flashes when they announce it.

But this is no ordinary couple.

Kate Middleton has agreed to marry long time boyfriend Prince William who's second in line to the British throne.

And that makes this wedding a pretty special one.

So for those of you who've dreamed of becoming royalty here's our guide to achieving it.

First option you could just be born into a royal family.

Queen Elizabeth, Wills grandmother, was the eldest daughter of the last king; King George VI.

If she had a brother, he would have become King above her because kings are higher than queens.

It sounds unfair but that's how royalty works!

But what if you're not lucky enough to have been born into the royal family? What then?

Well this is where Kate's story comes in.

She will be the first commoner to marry a future king in more than 400 years!

But what's commoner?

Well that's anyone not born into a royal or noble family in Britain so most people!

In the past, royalty were always encouraged to find partners from a noble family but these days it's not as important.

So let's find out how a commoner could become Queen.

Prince William and Kate met at University where they were both studying Art History.

They first started going out in 2003 and after word got out Kate was often hounded by the press.

They dated for 7 years all up, which is why no one was surprised when they finally announced the engagement.

So what is Kate getting herself into?

Well it's a pretty complicated family, but let's start from the top.

Queen Elizabeth holds rule right now.

She had four children but it's the eldest male. Charles Prince of Wales who's next in line to be King.

Then comes Prince William of Wales; he is the eldest son of Charles.

And as his wife Kate would become Queen Catherine when that day arrives.

But that's not where the name-changing ends because as part of being in the royal family you get given different titles as you go up the ranks.

When they marry it's tradition that William and Kate will be given a title of the Queen's choice.

So they could become the Duke and Duchess of Clarence, Cambridge or Sussex to name a few.

With all these titles and lines to the throne it might make you think the royals can pretty much have what they want.

But it's not necessarily the case!

Right now, Britain is in a lot of financial trouble and the government has been cutting spending drastically.

So William and Kate have both said they want to have a smallish wedding.

And the Queen and Prince Charles have said they'll be paying for it out of their own money.

But even so some estimate a smallish royal wedding could still cost around 30 million dollars.

So that's how you can become the King or Queen of the whole Commonwealth which includes 16 countries around the world including Australia.

But before you enrol in Art History becoming a royal isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Think photographers, strict rules and boring royal functions and it's a wonder Kate is interested at all.

Presenter: It'll be a big day!

The Wire

OK so what else has been in the news?

Alfie's on it.


Last week we brought you the story on a vote to get rid of the small stalls pregnant pigs are kept in. Well the pig industry has voted in favour of phasing them out.

By 2017 pig farmers will have to remove the stalls and give pregnant pigs more space to move.

Animal liberation groups have hailed the decision but some farmers say the changes will cost too much.


And it seems after 7 movies the Harry Potter phenomenon still has its magic.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 opened around the globe last week and it's gone on to smash records all over the world.

It has chalked up around 335 million bucks in just its first weekend.

The final ever film in the series is due out in the middle of next year.

Class Sizes

Reporter: Kirsty Bennett

INTRO: Have you ever taken much notice of how many kids are in your class?

Well, there's been a lot of talk lately about class size.

Some people reckon the more people in a class the harder it is to learn.

Others think if you've got a good teacher it doesn't matter how many kids there are.

But a new report reckons smaller class sizes don't actually help kids to learn better.

Tash goes back to school to learn all about it.

NATASHA THIELE, REPORTER: School in Australia around the 1950s and 60s was a lot different from what we're used to now.

There were no computers, they used blackboards and uniforms were compulsory.

REPORTER: You're probably used to being in a class of about 25 to 30 students. But back then, things were a lot different. They had up to 40 or 50 students in one class!

Some parents and teachers believe that with a large number of kids in a class, the students don't get the attention and education they need.

Smaller class sizes is an issue some teachers around the country have been pushing for a long time.

AEU CAMPAIGN (2005): Georgia has a great maths brain, but when I spend extra time with her it means I have less time with for Dan.

They believe they could spend more time with their students, if their classes were smaller.

It would give students extra support, especially for those with learning difficulties.

For example, they could spend more time helping those with spelling problems, because there would be fewer students to look after.

But a new report suggests smaller classes don't actually help kids learn better.

It says the performance of the teacher is more important than class size, because a good teacher makes a difference.

DR BEN JENSON, GRATTAN INSTITUTE: We can all remember the great teachers we had, the teachers that made an impact on our learning. What I don't think we can remember is whether or not a specific class had one or two or maybe three fewer students.

The review found that between 1995 and 2006, when class sizes were reduced, students fell behind in subjects like maths and reading.

So the report claims making class sizes smaller might not make a difference.

And its author reckons keeping student numbers down isn't cheap!

Keep in mind, if classes were downsized by a couple of students, more teachers and more classrooms would be needed.

The research also found it doesn't cut down bullying or stop absentees.

Others say it doesn't matter if you're in a big class. As long as you have a good relationship with your teacher it'll encourage you to learn.

And this principal, who has classes of 34 at her school, agrees!

LOUISE MINOGUE, PRINCIPAL: They make no difference what so ever. From my personal experience, it makes absolutely no difference, the size of a class

But not everyone agrees with the report and thinks classes should be kept to a minimum!

Some teachers are outraged by the study, saying you need both good teachers and small class sizes.

ANGELO GAVRIELATOS, AUSTRALIAN EDUCATION UNION: More manageable class sizes enable teachers to dedicate more time to individual children to meet their needs. It's a no brainer.

There are schools that say their decision to reduce the number of kids in a class was the right move, because teachers can give individual students more attention.

It's obvious, class sizes is a touchy subject and not everyone believes in the recent report.

Presenter: So what do you guys think?

I'm sure there are a few strong views around so let's make that our poll this week.

Online Poll

The question is: Do you think the size of the class affects how you learn?

To vote just head to our website.

And let's look at the results of last week's poll.

We asked if you would pay more for free-range products.

And the results are:

64% said yes and 36% voted no.

Trade Sim

Reporter: Kirsty Bennett

INTRO: Imagine helping build something like a major freeway a railway or a huge housing development.

The people who put all that stuff together work in an area called civil construction and they're in big demand.

Now there's a new gadget visiting schools to get more kids interested in working heavy machinery to do those jobs.

As Kirsty found out, it makes you feel like you're in one big computer game.

KIRSTY BENNETT, REPORTER: There aren't any bad guys or aliens to capture on this circuit. It's all about digging and moving earth!

INSTRUCTOR: Press the right trigger, now you're in dig mode.

KIRSTY: These kids are getting a taste of what it would be like to drive an excavator. Their mission is to dig a hole deep enough for a swimming pool! Excavator drivers are part of a group of workers called plant operators. They have special licences to drive all types of earth moving machinery like front end loaders. They work in the civil construction industry, which builds infrastructure for towns and cities. So that's things like railways, roads and housing.

If that's a job that tickles your fancy you may be in luck. People in the know say there's a huge demand for civil construction workers. They say one of the reasons for this is that older workers are retiring and there aren't as many young people taking up these jobs. And that's where this simulator comes in.

It's been touring primary and secondary schools to show students what it would be like to work in the civil construction industry. It doesn't feel all that different from playing an arcade video game. Joysticks are used to drive it around, swing the arm and tilt the bucket to scoop up the dirt.

KIANA, STUDENT: It got easier as I learnt how to control it but yeah it's fun.

TONI, STUDENT: Well I hit the truck a few times yeah at first it's a bit confusing with all these bits because you don't know what's what but like after a while you now what they are.

KIRSTY: This is just to give kids a taste but there are bigger simulators out there that are used for proper training. They have more programs to simulate machines like forklifts and dump trucks.

VOX POP: Yeah I learnt a few things, it's much harder to drive than I expected, but yeah, it's good.

KIRSTY: They look like a lot of fun but there's a serious side to all of this.

Simulators like this a great training tool because if you crash - no-one gets hurt and there's no damage.

STEFAN KIRYK, CIVIL TRAIN SA: And learn that way before you actually go out and use expensive plant items that if you do cause damage with those obviously there's a lot of money for repairs etc.

KIRSTY: And he's not joking, an excavator is worth around $200,000! For these keen controllers, moving dirt has suddenly become more appealing!

MAX, STUDENT: The building is very fun and the digging is very fun.

SAMUEL, STUDENT: It's very entertaining, it's easy to lose your mind into which is what I like in something to do.

TONI, STUDENT: I usually like outdoor things and stuff and learning how things are built and everything which is cool.

KIRSTY: It's hoped that this simulator will dig up more keen workers, who will one day work these monsters for real!

Quiz 1

OK time to test you out with a quiz.

The question is:

Which is Australia's largest freshwater fish?

Murray Cod

Silver Perch


Answer: Murray Cod


Reporter: Kirsty Bennett

INTRO: They can get over 100kg and 1.8 metres long!

We're always hearing about the problems that feral pests cause.

Well there's another one stirring up trouble in Australia's largest river system.

Some freshwater fish known as carp are growing in huge numbers thanks to the flooding rain this year.

But some say that isn't great news for native fish and there's a mission to get rid of carp for good.

Kirsty was keen for a spot of fishing so she checked out what's going on.

KIRSTY BENNETT, REPORTER: In Australia, there's no shortage of invaders, on the ground, in the air and even in our waterways. OK so this one won't eat you. These fish are called carp and they're found throughout Europe and most of Asia.

It may be a fish you've caught on the bank of a river or lake once before. Carp were brought into Australia in the 1800s and they've been here ever since. This man makes a living out of catching carp. He sends the fish to places like Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Carp fillets are sold for food and other parts can be used to make fertiliser and even leather products!

KEITH BELL, K&C FISHERIES: That will range from things like purses to belts, to wallets, those sorts of things.

KIRSTY: So there are some uses for carp but they're not all that welcome in Australian lakes and rivers. Carp are blamed for a lot of things - one of the big ones is that they help muddy up the water. Carp collect food by sifting through the mud on the bottom. They release the stuff they don't want through their gills and pick out other food when it's suspended in the water. All this vacuuming makes the water really murky so plants can't get the sunlight they need to grow properly. Some people reckon another problem is that native fish can't get back to huge populations because they have to compete against carp for food and space. The trouble is, unlike native fish, carp are pretty tough and can survive in all kinds of conditions. If you threw a net out in the Murray-Darling Basin it's more than likely most of the fish you catch would be carp. That doesn't impress a lot of people so they're trying to bring carp numbers under control. There's no simple way to do this so there a few tactics being thrown at them.

Some of the fish have been picked to wear a radio transmitter to lead fishers to their friends. And this makes the whole school easy to find and catch. In Tasmania, they're also using electro-fishing. That's when they send out a jolt of electric current to stun the fish and then net them. Natural predators like pelicans and other fish can help but once the carp get too big the predators can't eat them!

In this lab in Hobart scientists are working on a way that could get rid of carp for good. They're taking fish eggs and trying to make all the offspring male. So that means, without any females, they can't breed and eventually the carp would die out. So overall the future doesn't look good for these guys. For some they're a tasty treat and a very useful fish, but it seems like the carp just isn't welcome.

Presenter: I'm pretty sure Kirsty didn't catch any fish there.

OK, let's see what's been happening in sport.

The Score

The countdown to the Ashes is on with both teams arriving in Brisbane for the opening test match starting Thursday.

The Aussie team has come off some shaky form and the nerves are showing.

MIKE HUSSY: Obviously it's going to be a huge deal to try and get the momentum going our way early and I think and I think everyone's going to be on edge but it's going to be a great series.

The English team are looking much more relaxed.

`Hello and welcome.’

They've even created their own victory dance in anticipation of success they're calling it the sprinkler.


Staying with cricket and one of our most talented players has broken a 108 year old record.

Ellyse Perry has become the first woman to play alongside the guys in a Sydney grade cricket competition.

She opened the attack with the ball and quickly got amongst the wickets finishing with an impressive 2 for 14.

PERRY: It was actually a really fantastic experience. I absolutely enjoyed it and I think it took me a little bit back to my junior days of cricket, when I played with the boys.

Ellyse is warming up for the national women's team series against England in January, before tackling the World Cup in June.


Finally, while we're just getting into our summer sports in Sweden they're ramping up their winter ones and we mean ramping up.

This is the Big Air Snowboarding comp which involves one ramp, one jump and one chance to score as many points as possible.

The only challenge for some - stopping before the end.

Musical Playground

Reporter: Natasha Thiele

INTRO: A good strong beat is the backbone of a lot of the music we hear.

Well the beat and rhythm often come from a group of musical instruments called percussion.

You can actually make percussion instrument from all sorts of weird things.

And an Aussie primary school has scored an award for their unusual musical creation.

So we sent Tash there to test it out.

NATASHA THIELE, REPORTER: QUESTION: What do you get when you mix scrap aluminium, agricultural pipes, old wheels and some chemical bins?

ANSWER: A musical playground!

But what is a musical playground?

Well, it's a place these guys can play as much music as they like, because it's open 24-7.

The playground was created last year. It cost more than 7-thousand dollars and took two weeks to put together!

The materials used were cut, glued, sanded and transformed into these 'Percussion Instruments'.

They're the instruments you'll usually find at the back of a band or an orchestra like xylophones bells and of course drums!

REPORTER: Percussion instruments are played by either rubbing them, shaking them or hitting them to produce a sound.

You might like to know, that 'percussion' comes from a word which means to beat or strike musically.

History books say the first percussion instruments were our hands and feet that were used to clap and stomp a rhythm.

People then discovered they could get deeper and louder sounds by using different surfaces and objects.

That's where this creation comes in!

The musical playground's won a special innovation award.

Organisers of the competition say it's the first one they know of in Australia.

The students learn to play and write different types of music, from classical to reggae.

They study the maths and history behind the instruments too and even use them for science experiments!

KID 1: I think we did one with how long it takes for the sound of the bells to get to you, from how far away you are.

KID 2: We've learnt where they've come from and what they've made from.

KID 3: You can't play all songs, because some songs have sharps and flats and these instruments don't have sharps and flats, they only the other notes.

Like any band, playing a song using all these instruments is a team effort.

You need someone to lead.

Everyone needs to concentrate and listen in.

And learning how to play the instruments can be tricky at first, it just takes a bit of practise.

WILL YOUNG, MUSIC TEACHER: You've gotta have good concentration good listening, then once you've got the hang of it, you can start progressing faster. But at first, it's just a matter of listening and watching and learning.

They've even been showing off their musical talents at community events.

But getting to a gig can be a major operation, because some of the instruments are three metres long, and they need to be loaded on to a truck.

But it's all worth it judging by the reaction from their audience.

Teachers say the musical playground is encouraging more kids to learn music.

ANDY BEDFORD, PRINCIPAL: Some of them have gone on further to do formal instrument training and others are just getting really heavily involved in this aspect.

So next time you listen to your favourite music, listen out for all the percussion instruments and try to work out what's being used to create those awesome sounds!

Presenter: OK while we're still feeling musical, let's have a quick quiz before we go.

Quiz 2

Quiz Opener

The question is: Which of these is a percussion instrument?




Answer: Piano

And that's because when you press a piano key. It makes a little hammer inside hit a string and that's percussion!


We'll put some links on the story page so you can find out how it works.

Well that's all we have for you today.

We'll see you next time!

© ABC 2010


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