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Aboriginal Dreaming Stories


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Year Level:

Kindergarten/Preschool to Year 4

Curriculum Study Areas:

Humanities and Social Sciences


Indigenous Issues; Cultural Studies


Students view some aboriginal dreamtime stories, research further stories, make costumes to act out a story and finally write or draw their own dreamtime stories. .


Lost Lift Off ep. 21A ACTF
Also found in Lift Off to Language and Culture Curriculum Corporation
Related segment: Into the unknown ep. 06A LIFT OFF 1 ACTF Adapted from book form (Magabala Books, Broome WA 1990).

Lstraight arrow connector 1esson plan:

View and discuss

Watch the whole episode with the students and allow time for discussion about the storyline. Focus on the segment when Windaru, the Aboriginal woodcarver, talks about the Dream Time. He says "The time when the Spirit ancestors made all the hills and rocks, trees and rivers. Made everything. In Aboriginal dreaming time all sorts of things happened. A giant snake might have turned into a mountain range. Some people say an emu's egg turned into the sun. Lighting up the whole earth. Or a big fish might have created a river." As Windaru speaks he draws the object in the sawdust and EC visualises the changes. Discuss this with the students.

Re-view How the birds got their colour

This is the animated feature story of this episode. It is an Aboriginal dreaming story told by May Albert of the Bardi people in Western Australia. The illustrator Pamela Tufts uses original paintings by children from St Mary's School, Broome. This is also available in picture book form (Ashton Scholastic 1992) and is one in a series.

Act out the story

Talk about the story and its message. Discuss how this story is relevant for today. Make simple face masks and capes for costumes and act out the story. Present the performance at a school assembly or to a parent group or video an upload on to school’s intranet. The students might use percussion sticks to accompany this. Always acknowledge the source of the story and emphasise that different Aboriginal groups have different stories.

Research other dreaming stories

Ask the students if they know any other dreaming stories. Visit the school or local library and collect some examples of dreaming stories to read to the class.

Write some stories

As a group, have a go at writing a story in this genre. Younger students could draw their stories as a storyboard. Remember that the story should relate to the immediate surroundings, that is, include local birds and animals, geographic features. Make the story into a book and display in the library.

Animated feature story Bip the snapping bungaroo. This is an Aboriginal bush tale about a turtle and incorporates some of the Yidin language, the language of the author's father's people. Written by Narelle McRobbie, the animation by Grace Fielding is rich and traditional. 

© Australian Children's Television Foundation (except where otherwise indicated). You may use, download and reproduce this material free of charge for non-commercial educational purposes provided you retain all acknowledgements associated with the material.

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