Bowerbird Blues: Year 1 Science and Geography 

All curriculum links in this unit use the latest national and state curriculums. Use this guide to compare codes across AC versions.  

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Author: Aura Parker 

Publisher: Scholastic

Unit writer: Ingrid Gilholme

Synopsis: I am a collector. Always looking, finding ... and keeping! Bowerbird loves blue. Magnificent cobalt. Brilliant, vibrant blue! But something is missing. What could it be? This picture book from Aura Parker stars a beautiful bowerbird on the search for blue! It’s a moving story of longing and connection, that unfolds as the bowerbird’s search sends him soaring across the sea, sky and city. He swoops and snatches vibrant treasures for his collection, and soon his bower – a mix of natural and unnatural objects – attracts something greater and more fulfilling than he could ever have imagined. (Publisher synopsis)

Rationale: In this unit students will make connections between the text and their personal experience and make relevant comments to demonstrate their understanding of a text. Students will identify key words and the meaning they carry and understand that images add to the meaning of texts. As scientists and geographers students will explore their local school environment and make observations about the things that live there. They will use their observations to create a written text, artwork, or role play, telling the story of a living thing in their school environment. They will combine visuals with written text where appropriate and use vocabulary in their writing adapted from the text. 

Cross-curriculum links: Science; Geography

English concepts: Narrative; Code and Convention; Connotation, Imagery and symbol

Overarching questions: 

  1. How do authors use words and images to convey meaning?
  2. How can a text help us to understand the world around us and connect with our environment? 
  3. How does our environment impact living things? 

Rich assessment task: After spending time outside in the local environment/schoolyard, noticing, observing, photographing, and drawing a chosen living thing (e.g. a bird), students are invited to tell their chosen animal’s story, using a format of their choice. Innovating on the words and illustrations in the text as a model, students will consider how well their local school environment supports the needs of their chosen living thing and show this through an artwork, role play or story. Students can incorporate their point of view regarding adaptations that could be made to the environment to better support their living thing.  

Curriculum codes, links and descriptions

Australian Curriculum

Year 1

English: Language

AC9E1LA01 understand how language, facial expressions and gestures are used to interact with others when asking for and providing information, making offers, exclaiming, requesting and giving commands

AC9E1LA08 compare how images in different types of texts contribute to meaning

AC9E1LA09 recognise the vocabulary of learning area topics

English: Literature

AC9E1LE01 discuss how language and images are used to create characters, settings and events in literature by First Nations Australian, and wide-ranging Australian and world authors and illustrators

AC9E1LE02 discuss literary texts and share responses by making connections with students’ own experiences

AC9E1LE03 discuss plot, character and setting, which are features of stories

AC9E1LE04 listen to and discuss poems, chants, rhymes and songs, and imitate and invent sound patterns including alliteration and rhyme

AC9E1LE05 orally retell or adapt a familiar story using plot and characters, language features including vocabulary, and structure of a familiar text, through role-play, writing, drawing or digital tools

English: Literacy 

AC9E1LY03 describe some similarities and differences between imaginative, informative and persuasive texts

AC9E1LY05 use comprehension strategies such as visualising, predicting, connecting, summarising and questioning when listening, viewing and reading to build literal and inferred meaning by drawing on vocabulary and growing knowledge of context and text structures

AC9E1LY06 create and re-read to edit short written and/or multimodal texts to report on a topic, express an opinion or recount a real or imagined event, using grammatically correct simple sentences, some topic-specific vocabulary, sentence boundary punctuation and correct spelling of some one- and two-syllable words

HASS: Geography

AC9HS1K03 students learn about the natural, managed and constructed features of local places, and their location

AC9HS1K04 how places change and how they can be cared for by different groups including First Nations Australians


AC9S1I03 make and record observations, including informal measurements, using digital tools as appropriate

AC9S1I06 write and create texts to communicate observations, findings and ideas, using everyday and scientific vocabulary

AC9S1U01 identify the basic needs of plants and animals, including air, water, food or shelter, and describe how the places they live meet those needs

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Learning intention: Using our knowledge of texts helps us to predict and confirm meaning


Display the double-page front cover of the text, ensuring it is clearly visible for the class. Invite students to closely observe the illustrations and finer details before sharing their predictions of what the text is about.

Key questions:
• What can you see on the front cover?
• What type of bird do you think this is?
• Who do you think collected these items? Why?
• What are the similarities and differences between the items on the cover?  


Teacher to demonstrate how to record thinking using an OWI (observe, wonder, infer) chart. Students complete an individual OWI chart recording their thinking about the text.

Guiding questions:
• What objects can you observe on the front cover? 
• What are you wondering about this text? 
• What does it mean to infer? What can you infer from the front cover? 

Evidence of Learning

• retell the sequence of events in a narrative
• identify narrative features

Learning intention: Developing our background knowledge can help us to better understand the information in a text


Read the text to the class, taking the time to display and explore the illustrations. During the reading, ask students to listen for new vocabulary that may be important to finding out more about the text. Record new vocabulary on a large sheet of paper. 

Key questions:
• What are some of the important words in the text?
• Are there any words that you are not familiar with?
• Do the illustrations tell us more information than just the words? 
• What additional information can you infer from the illustrations?
• What does skerrick mean? What word could the author have used instead of skerrick?


As a class, jointly construct an infographic sharing information about bowerbirds using webpages like Great bowerbird facts for kids, Satin bowerbird facts for kids, Britannica's page on bowerbirds, and NSW Environment and Heritage's information page.

Guiding questions:
• What is a bower?
• Why is the bowerbird so interested in the colour blue?
• How can we present information that is interesting for the audience to read?
• What have we learnt about bowerbirds from our research that can help us to better understand the text? 

Evidence of learning

• identify and develop their understanding of new vocabulary 
describe facts about the bowerbird
organise information to inform the reader

Learning intention: Authors can use alliteration to affect the reader 


Introduce alliteration, explaining that alliteration is the repetition of a consonant sound at the beginning of words or within words. The words can be right next to each other or spaced out, and at least two words are needed for alliteration. 
Ask students to share some examples of alliteration with a partner, then share as a class. Read Bowerbird Blues, asking the class to record examples of alliteration on a whiteboard as you read. Examples from text:
Swooping, snatching, scouring, scavenging.  
Peeping, peering. Perhaps I will find it? 
Sliding, slipping through the air.  
Into wanting and wandering. Fluttering, fidgeting in all this grey. 

Key questions:
• Why did the author use alliteration throughout the text?
• Where have you seen or heard alliteration used before?
• How does alliteration affect you as a reader?
• What do you notice about the words? Are they all a certain type of word e.g. verb, noun? 


Using images from the text, students record their own examples of alliteration to describe the image. Students may like to write their ideas or record themselves speaking. 

Guiding questions:
• What words can you use to describe the image?
• Can you find words that start with the same sound?
• Do certain letters lend themselves to create an alliterative phrase?   

Evidence of learning


• identify examples of alliteration
• describe the impact of alliteration on the reader
• write a sentence using alliteration 

Learning intention: Words can be used to add precision and provide new ways to express concepts

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Complete list of learning intentions covered in this unit: 

  • Using our knowledge of texts help us to predict and confirm meaning
  • Words can be used to add precision and provide new ways to express concepts 
  • Observing living things in their environment provides us with information about their lives 


  • Developing our background knowledge can help us to better understand the information in a text 
  • Narratives involve a sequence of events
  • Information can be shared through telling a story 
  • Authors can use alliteration to affect the reader 
  • Images in texts provide us with details that help to convey meaning