On Thursday we had an in-depth look at koalas. We followed the same procedure that we used when we looked at the kangaroo earlier in the week. We listed all the things we already know about koalas on the whiteboard. Someone mentioned that the mother koalas carried their babies on their backs which was the perfect opportunity for me to share my favourite koala joke: Q: Why do koalas carry their babies on their backs? A: Because it’s too hard to push a pram up a tree. (I think it was lost on most of them but a few of the older ones in the class giggled.)
After we talked about what we knew we turned to the ABC of Australian Animals. We searched through until we found K and read the informational text about the koala. We were introduced to some new vocabulary: marsupials. I told the children that a kangaroo was also a marsupial and asked them to think about what a marsupial might be. I prefer the children to try and think it out for themselves before supplying them with an answer. What did the koala and the kangaroo have in common? They came up with a lot of similarities between the two but no-one mentioned the pouch. I then explained that marsupials carry their young in a pouch. The excerpt also mentioned where koalas were found in Australia so we had a look at a map of Australia and pointed to where they were found. We noted that they are not found in Western Australia where we live though one child said, “Well, they are in Western Australia. I have seen them in the zoo.” So there you go, you CAN find koalas in Western Australia but only in the zoo.
On Wednesday we had pre-painted our koala’s bodies so that they would be dry on Thursday to put together once we made the face. The first thing we did was add some detail to our koala’s bodies. They were missing a white fur patch on the front and some claws on the koala’s limbs. We drew them on with some white and black crayons.
We used the instructions from Activity Village to make our origami koala faces. We started by folding the origami paper in half to make a triangle. This was the easy part! We had to talk the children through each step of the process to make the rest of the koala’s head. As you can see from this pic of the back of the koala’s head, it is quite complicated!
We glued the ears down so that they weren’t so floppy and wouldn’t come undone. Then we flipped the head over and drew on some facial features. We stapled the head to the body to complete our koalas. We asked some of the children if we could keep theirs for our display and the rest were sent home. We’re planning on making a display to hang up behind where we have set up our camp site. We’ll keep a few of each animal we have made to decorate our scene.