Teacher resources: Exploring themes of ‘luck' and ‘superstition'

Themes of ‘luck' and ‘superstition' are explored in both the Early Years Learning Framework and the Australian National Curriculum.

Given this, the first episode in the new animated children's television series Little J & Big Cuz begins a conversation around these themes and provides educators with a range of innovative educational resources to use in classrooms to complement the viewing of this episode.

The series, which premiered on NITV on 28 April, follows two Aboriginal children who live with their nanna and lovable dog.

In Episode 1, titled Lucky Undies, Levi convinces Little J that his bright new undies have special powers. After Old Dog destroys them, Little J loses his confidence to play in the big kids' basketball game. Big Cuz saves the day with the remnants of the undies made into a sweat band, and Little J finds confidence to play the game and score the winning goal.

Watch a short clip from Episode 1

The resources that complement this series are available free to download for teachers. They suggest questions and activities for students in Foundation to Year 2 that can be attempted following the viewing of each episode, and provide links to other relevant online resources.

In Episode 1 of the series, the resources explore what other world cultures identify as superstitions, and how and why each is associated with everyday life.

One suggested classroom activity asks the teacher to bring to class a group of objects that they consider as special or ‘lucky'.

‘Tell the students a story about each: how you obtained the object, why you keep it, who may have owned the object before you, where it comes from, and any sentimental reasons for why you don't dispose of it. And, what you feel may happen to you if you don't have the object. Discuss with students that people from many different cultures have beliefs about certain objects that make them special to them.'

Another activity asks students to suggest reasons why Little J believed his yellow undies to be lucky. ‘Have the students consider how a new object in your life can coincide with other events of “luck”. Ask the students to list the lucky events in the order of what happened to Little J after Nanna gave him his new undies.'

The resources cover the Indigenous knowledge, understandings and skills explored throughout the series, as well as the relevant curriculum areas.

Visit the Little J & Big Cuz website to view the full suite of resources for each episode in the series. The site also includes interactive games, tips for parents and carers on getting your child ready for school, and behind the scenes interviews with cast members, including Miranda Tapsell (Little J) and Deborah Mailman (Big Cuz).

Little J & Big Cuz airs on NITV 4pm weekdays and 7.30pm every Friday.

Consider how you teach certain themes and stories in your classroom. How could you use educational programmes like Little J & Big Cuz to engage students in their lessons?

In what ways do you use the medium of television to explore ideas with students in preschool or early primary?