Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Bushfire season has begun; England’s Halloween hillside; Afghanistan’s historic cricket win; and an escalator to the sky.


World’s largest pumpkin mosaic:


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While summer’s not quite yet here, bushfire season has well and truely commenced across this wide, brown land. On Sunday, the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge (a 3020 kilometre race from Darwin in the Northern Territory, to Adelaide in South Australia) got underway. The race, which is contested by teams from all across the globe who build and drive their own solar-powered vehicles, ran into trouble on day two when smoke haze and ash from two bushfires burning north of Alice Springs caused problems for the drivers. The smoke blocked out sunlight needed to power the vehicles, causing teams to rely heavily on their backup batteries. 

Safety officials are on hand to steer teams clear of the fires and, all going to plan, the vehicles will start arriving in Adelaide this afternoon.


Meanwhile, Northern New South Wales and Southwest Queensland have been experiencing their own fires this week. With consecutive (meaning one after the other) days above thirty degrees and strong wind gusts fanning the flames, firefighters have been hard at work to keep the blazes under control. A southerly wind change is forecast for this afternoon, and it is hoped that it will bring with it enough rain to dampen those fires. Here’s hoping…



Each day, we give the world-globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops – and today, we’ve landed in Southhampton, in the United Kingdom. At Sunnyfield farm to be precise, [Animal Noise] (not that sort of farm), where pumpkin farmers have created the world’s largest cucurbita mosaic. Cucurbita is a word that describes the family of vegetables that includes pumpkin, squash and zucchini. The Nelson family, who own the farm, used more than  10,000 pumpkins and squash to create the image mega-mosaic. There’s a link to a time-lapse video in your episode notes.

But why? I hear you ask. Well, the mosaic depicts The King of Halloween Town, Jack Skellinton, from the 1993 movie classic, The Nightmare Before Christmas. The mosaic is a tribute to the film The Nightmare Before Christmas which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. The Nelsons are obviously fans because they spent ten whole hours perfectly placing the pumpkins. Oh my gourd! [Mum Joke Buzzer] You know, gourd, as in pumpkin …I thought it was funny.

[CCC] and there’s the Classroom Companion Clarion. Today’s classroom companion worksheets ask students to use time connectives to get this story straight. If you haven’t already, you can sign up for free at The worksheets are differentiated for grades 2 to six and beyond. So sign up and start having more fun with literacy today!



In astronomy, a constellation is a group of stars that is associated with a mythical figure. Well, I think that’s exactly the right word for our Aussie netballing legends. That group of stars have taken out the four-game Constellation Cup series against New Zealand’s Silver Ferns. After the Aussies won the first two games, the Silver Ferns fought back to take out the final two matches, but with the overall point score reading 208-195 to the Aussie Diamonds the women will retain the cup for another year.. 

But don’t worry, the netball action is not over. The Aussie team have flown straight to Cairns in North Queensland and will be playing South Africa this evening. Keep sparkling Diamonds!

And over in India, the underdogs continue to take down the favourites in cricket’s One Day International World Cup. This time, there was dancing in the outfield as Afghanistan chased down Pakistan’s 282 runs with one over and eight wickets still in hand. For non-cricketing people, that just means that it was a very convincing win. 

This is the second big win in this tournament for Afghanistan after also beating England. Although I’m sure that no one is feeling any joy at seeing England now relegated to the bottom of the ladder. [pop] Excuse me while I take my tongue out of my cheek.




Do you fancy spinning around on a mountain top, Sound of Music style? And if you haven’t seen that movie, pause the podcast right now and come back in three hours when you’re done.  That’s better. 

So, if you like the view from mountain tops but don’t fancy the climb, the Chinese province of Zhejiang [ zher zhang] has you covered, having recently built a mountain escalator!

Yep you heard correctly, a three hundred and fifty metre escalator, which cuts down climbing time from fifty minutes to just ten. 

Some people are upset that the joys and physical benefits of the climb may be lost, but my  dodgy knees and I are totally on board. For just 30 Chinese yuan, or about $6.50 Australian, I think it’s a bargain. Talk about ‘how do you solve a problem…’

NGS AD (LIVE READ pls) .. NB: also need to include this ad in Friday’s S’Quiz – thanks

Psst – a message for all those teachers and parents listening… Are you ready to take a walk through history and discover the big education moments that have shaped. Australia Buckle up, because our friends at Squiz Today released their first episode of  Season 2 of How Far We’ve come… a six-part  podcast series made with the help of NGS Super. You’ll be taken on a wild ride through the challenges and triumphs of Australia when it comes to education, the big issues today, and what the future may hold. The first episode is on the birth of compulsory and free education in Australia. You can check it out in the Squiz Today feed.


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

  1. Between which two capital cities is the World Solar Challenge taking place?
  2. What movie were pumpkin farmers paying tribute to by creating a huge pumpkiny mosaic?
  3. What was the final number of points scored by the Australian and New Zealand women in the netball Constellation Cup series?





It’s October 25  … 100th Birthday of one of Australia’s favourite foods.. and the one we delight in having all visitors from overseas try… Vegemite!


It’s also a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today…

Miller from Boronia, Quinn and Jordi from Echuca, Bridget from Tarrington, Samuel from Kensington, Mikael  from Tempe, Josh and Sam from Gulgong, Elaine from Abbotsford, Jago (pronounced Jay-Go) from Bellevue Hill, Ada from Shenton Park, Angeline from Broadbeach Waters, Thurston from Perth, Grace from Glenbrook and Prim listening over in Bangkok, Thailand. 


And belated shoutouts go to…. Matt from Manly Vale, Alisa from Mitcham and Danial from Melbourne.


Classroom shout outs go to …  class F3 and Mrs Lanello at Hammond Park Primary School in Perth, class 4C and Ms Kerryn at Bialik College in Hawthorn, to all the teachers and students at Kambala School for Girls in Sydney, year 6 with Miss Jensen at St Aloysius Primary School in Cronulla, class 5B with Ms Russo at St Brendan’s Catholic School in Bankstown, Jimboomba class with Miss Penfold at Farmborough Road Public School in Unanderra, Year 5 and 6 with Ms Mitchell at St. John’s Primary School in Lambton and class 5X with Mrs Fotakopoulos (pronounced Fota-Kapoo-Lus) at Claremont Meadows Public School.


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Darwin and Adelaide
  2. The Nightmare before Christmas
  3. 208-195