Friday, 4 June, 2021

Project Venus has lift-off!; China’s three child policy; rattlesnakes on a plane; and My Lockdown Life unveiled.



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Squiz Kids is proudly supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.





How well do you know your neighbours? Well in our solar system, we don’t know nearly as much about our neighbours – like the planet Mars and the planet Venus – as we should.

Which is why the American space agency NASA has just announced not one, but two missions to Venus to be launched in eight years’ time. 

Following the success of the recent Mars missions – and with multiple Moon missions in the planning for the next couple of years – it was decided it was time we got to know more about our nearest planetary neighbour, Venus.

It’s thought that there might once have been life on Venus – with evidence that it might once have had an ocean and a climate similar to Earth.

Now – it’s an altogether different place. A mostly dead planet, with an atmosphere filled with poisonous gases and the hottest planet in our solar system – where temperatures reach up to 462 degrees. 

Think about that for a moment. We can barely cope when the temperature here reaches 40 degrees. That’s more than ten times hotter. Sheesh.

One of the missions will concentrate on unlock the secrets of Venus’ atmosphere – and the other one would focus on its surface. 

It’s been almost 30 years since we have sent a probe to Venus. Thirty years is far too long to leave between dropping in a neighbour.


Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops. And today we’ve landed in China .. where families are now allowed to have up to three children.

Wait. What? There are rules on how many children you can have in China? Yes, indeed there are. Unlike here in Australia, where you can eleventy hundred children if you really wanted to – in China there are strict limits on how many children can be in each family.

For a long time – when the Chinese government was trying to control how quickly the population was growing – Chinese couples were only allowed to have one child. Five years ago – in an attempt to make the population grow again – they passed a law increasing that number two. But recent figures suggest it hasn’t worked – and so they’ve increased the official number of children allowed in any one family to a total of three. 

It’s pretty unusual for a government to control how many kids are in a family – and many people don’t think it’s up to governments to make those sorts of decisions – but rather it’s a decision for each individual family. So there’s something for you to discuss in your next civics lesson .. ))




And it’s off to the Mojave Desert we go, in California in the United States, where some of the planes parked in the desert while international travel has been locked down have had a few unexpected visitors. 

Lots of the world’s big passenger planes – including a bunch of Qantas A380s – have been parked in the Mojave – because the air there is dry and that’s good for the machinery and electronics that make a plane fly. 

But the Mojave is also home to rattlesnakes. And they’ve taken quite a liking to the many planes that are parked there – slithering up into the landing compartments and setting up homes inside the plane’s big wheels. 

That’s meant engineers looking after the planes have had to arm themselves with wheel whackers – to bang the wheels and scare off the rattlesnakes. 

Rattlesnakes are venomous – meaning they are poisonous – so, you know, not something you want biting you. Pass the wheel whacker.


My Lockdown Life 


All this week we’ve been giving you snippets from the audio diaries of  Victorian kids, telling us about how they’ve been coping with life in lockdown. And today, we’re excited to bring you an entire feature-length episode of My Lockdown Life – which – if you’re listening now on an app should play immediately after this episode – or is otherwise searchable in the app or easily found on our website,

And for a sneak peek – take a listen to some of the answers we got to the question: What’s the first thing you’ll do when you get out of lockdown?

AUDIO of the kids answering the question… 

Big thanks there to Millie, Charlie, Georgie, Louis, Molly, Tillie, Ardal and Luca. And don’t forget: we’ll have a new set of questions for Melbourne kids next week.




Attention school principals … Squiz Kids needs you! 

We talk a lot to Squiz Kids and their excellent parents, carers and classroom teachers. But we have some really important questions we need to put to school principals that will help us make Squiz Kids bigger and better. So if you’re a school principal – and you think Squiz Kids is a valuable resource for your students and teachers – please get in touch with us directly by emailing [email protected] with your name, your school and a contact number. And if you’re a parent or teacher who loves Squiz Kids and knows a school principal .. please give them a nudge to drop us a line. It’s really important and we’d really appreciate it. Thanks! 




This is the part of the podcast where you get to test how well you’ve been listening …

  1. To which neighbouring planet is NASA planning to send a couple of missions in eight years’ time?
  2. How many children can families in China now have, according to Chinese law?
  3. What sort of snakes have taken up residence in jumbo jets in the Mojave desert?




It’s June 4… National Cheese Day, National Donut Day, and National Hug Your Cat Day in the United States … i know which one I’d want to celebrate. Mmmm. Donuts … 

It’s also a special day to these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today…  Tate from Goomalling, Nathan from Fadden, Samuel from the Sunshine Coast, Benji from Rozelle, Angus from Carine, Estrella from Strathfield, Blake from Narrabeen, Freya from Coniston, Andrew from Ivanhoe, Elliot from Como, Matthew and Charlton from Forest Lake, Summer from Wodonga and Gurjaap from Glendenning.

And a belated birthday shoutout to… Charlotte from West Wallsend.

Weekend birthday shoutouts… Nate from Gosford East, Cohen from Kempsey, Ethan from Maitland, Declan from Spreyton, Bethany from Maidstone, Frankie from Bentleigh East, Sasha from Hawthorn, Finn from Gosford East, John from Fairfield Heights, Gabi from Exeter, Mykenna from East Branxton, Sanuth from Western Australia, Lucas from Ivanhoe.

The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Venus
  2. Three
  3. Rattlesnakes