Thursday, June 2, 2011


Platypuses have been the theme this week. They are a very unusual looking animal found only on the east coast of Australia. When Europeans first came to Australia, they drew pictures of the platypus and sent them back to England, but the people there thought it was a joke and that there couldn't possibly be an animal that looked like that! But there is and we've learned all about it.

We read a story called The Silver Stream by Robert Roennfeldt. It's about a platypus who lays her eggs in a burrow and cares for and teaches her babies as they grow up. Even though it was fiction, the author knew alot about platypuses and included some real information in his story. We learned a lot. We've also been reading some non-fiction books so that we could learn more facts about platypuses.

We've learned that platypuses:

  • cannot breathe underwater, so they need to hold their breath
  • have a wide tail to help them steer in the water
  • have webbed feet, with claws, to help them swim fast
  • have a bill like a ducks which they use to dig in river sand to find food
  • are carnivores and eat things like yabbies, snails, larvae and insects
  • are a special type of mammal called monotremes (this means they lay eggs but also produce milk for their babies to drink)
  • have two types of burrows - one for nesting and one for sleeping
  • dig burrows in river banks and block them with leaves and mud to keep predators out
  • have poisonous spurs on the feet (male ones only)

We've loved learning about platypuses and were inspired by some of the pictures in the books we've been reading. We created platypus habitat art. We blew bubbles with a straw in some blue paint, mixed with detergent, to create our background. It looks like bubbly water. We glued sand and lentils along the bottom to look like a riverbed and then we glued shredded paper to look like reeds. Finally, we drew platypuses and stuck them onto our underwater habitat.

As well as learning about platypuses, we've also been learning about fiction and non-fiction books. We know that fiction books are stories and non-fiction books are information books. We completed a table to compare them. It's important to know about different types of books, so we can choose the right book for what we want to do.

Miss H, Mrs N's student teacher, has been teaching us about telling the time. She found a fun website where we can practise our skills online! We've also made our very own clocks. We're getting pretty good at it now, so no more excuses for sleeping in on school days!

Love from The Smarties and Mrs N


  1. Wow smarties, you have been very busy. I loved the platypus pictures, they must look very good on the wall! I learnt a lot about platypuses from your post. Do you think there will a platypus at the zoo when you go?

  2. Smarties, your platypuses are gorgeous! Now if I could just figure out how you did the beautiful bubbly water, I'd try it with my year 2 class too!

  3. @ Miss Mac

    Thanks! We love our platypus art too!

    We're hoping to see platypuses at the zoo when we go, but we're not sure if they have any. There'll be plenty of other Australian animals for us to look at though, so we'll still learn lots.

    Love from The Smarties and Mrs N

  4. @ Mrs Wilson

    Our bubbly water was made by mixing a little blue paint with a little bit of water and a few drops of washing up liquid in a cup. We took a straw and blew bubbles (making sure we didn't suck, or we'd have a mouth full of blue paint!). The bubbles puffed up over the top of the cup and then we gently pressed our paper onto them. We had to do it a few times to cover the whole page.

    Love from The Smarties and Mrs N