Monday, November 6, 2023

Your daily kids news podcast.

Pandas in play in China visit; Galapagos Islands’ strawberry squid; Big win for Aussie cricketers; and playing Quidditch in Africa.


Uganda’s quidditch

Galapagos’ strawberry squid:


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There was a big banquet on Saturday night, and a busy day at a trade fair yesterday for Aussie PM Anthony Albanese as he became the first Australian Prime Minister in seven years to visit China … yet strangely enough, the success of the trip could well be measured by whether a couple of pandas stay at Adelaide Zoo. 

Wang Wang and Fu Ni have been living at Adelaide Zoo for over a decade. They’re one of the top attractions at the zoo – bringing in thousands of visitors every year. But they’re only on loan from China – which is where the world’s pandas come from.

You see – China lends out pandas to zoos around the world – as a form of what’s called ‘diplomacy’. Diplomacy is the way countries manage relationships between one another. 

From Helsinki in Finland to Adelaide in Australia, there are 63 pandas on loan from China to 19 different countries – it’s called ‘panda diplomacy’ – a gesture of friendship if you like, in the form of one of the world’s most adorable animals.

But here’s the thing: if the Chinese government is unhappy with a country where it has its pandas on loan, it will bring them home. As is happening with pandas that are living in a United States zoo now but will be packing their panda bags to head back to China next year. 

The loan of Wang Wang and Fu Ni to Adelaide Zoo has already been extended by five years – and is due to expire next year. Whether or not they stay could depend how well Albo’s visit goes this week. 


Have you done your family sweep? Do you know which horse you’ve been assigned for tomorrow’s big race? I’m talking of course about the Melbourne Cup – also often called ‘the race that stops the nation’. 

Twenty four horses and their jockeys will race just over three kilometres for a share in $8 million in prize money. A horse from Ireland called Vauban is the current favourite – meaning experts reckon it has the best chance of winning. But out of the 150 Melbourne Cups that have been run, the favourite has only won 34 times … or 23%. So, you know, it’s really any horse’s race .. may the odds be ever in your favour.  



Each day, we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops – and today we’ve landed in Uganda – which is a country in Africa – where a new film has been made about the quidditch revolution sweeping school yards. 

Quidditch – as all good Harry Potter fans will know – is the fictional game played on flying broomsticks by junior witches and wizards at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. 

Lots of kids can’t easily get to school in Uganda – where families don’t always have the same amount of money that families in Australia tend to have – and kids sometimes need to go out and get a job from a very early age. So teachers have found that holding quidditch competitions at schools is a great way of getting kids – and their parents – excited about attending school and getting an education. Which – though you might be sitting in a classroom right now, or on your way to school, or just finished a day at school and might want to disagree – is really, really important.

I’ve stuck a link to a trailer of the new quidditch documentary in today’s episode notes. And before you ask: no, they don’t fly, no there isn’t an actual Golden Snitch – but they do have a creative version of bludgers and beaters. Ouch!  


A-ha … there goes the Classroom Companion Clarion … letting teachers know that Christie has made some excellent, curriculum-aligned classroom worksheets tied to this story in the podcast. And today teachers, you can get your class to practice their summarising and predicting – as well as organising their ideas. They’re free literacy worksheets, made by Squiz Kids’ very own school teacher – available via our website:




And so to the Galapagos Islands we go … where a group of islands in the ocean off South America – where scientists have discovered a mystery series of reefs deep underwater where a whole new bunch of never-before seen animals have been discovered – including a strawberry squid. 

No – not a squid made out of strawberries – but rather, a pink coloured squid.

The researchers used a remote underwater vehicle to dive 400 metres down below the surface to discover a couple of cold-water coral reefs – one of which is the size of eight football fields – a couple of underwater volcanoes and a whole lot of deep sea varieties of sharks, squid, crustaceans and fish. How cool would that job  be?

I’ve stuck a link to a photo of the strawberry squid in today’s episode notes. It’s one freaky-deeky looking thing .. 


Another weekend – another bunch of big sporting results … starting with the surprising news that defending champs England have been all but bowled out of the men’s cricket World Cup in India after suffering a comprehensive defeat at the hands of the Aussies – who now look set to head to the semis.

A comprehensive defeat means a convincing loss.

Which is what the Aussie men’s rugby league team also suffered at the hands of the Kiwis at the weekend, as captain James Tedesco and his merry band of Kangaroos lost to New Zealand in the Pacific Championships game in Hamilton by a crushing 30 points to nil. Ouch. NRL favourites Jamayne Isaako and Ronaldo Mulitalo starred for the Kiwis.

And in the WBBL – Brisbane Heat are sitting at the top of the table after beating the Hobart Hurricanes at the weekend, as the Sydney Thunder thrashed the Melbourne Stars.

Because too much sport is never enough .. 


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

  1. What’s the name of the islands where scientists have discovered a strawberry squid?
  2. On which continent is the country of Uganda?
  3. Name the two pandas at Adelaide Zoo? (Wang Wang, Fu Ni)




It’s November 6 … today is National Nachos Day in the United States .. can you believe nachos get their own national day over there? Wacky.


It’s also a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today AND tomorrow… Sebastian and Dustin from Woongarrah, Tessa from Mount Annan, Lucas from Barrack Point, Ethan from Cobbitty, Lucia from Gulgong, Alice from East Ryde, Tyce and Alicia from NSW, Piper from Mount Gravatt, Zion from Wattle Grove, Joe from Junee, Shreyanshi from Point Cook, Pepe from Chester Hill, Harry from Capalaba, Jaydon from Wahroonga, Sharlotte from South Turramurra, Emma from Mandurah, Ava from Cardiff and Lola listening over in Lille, France.


And belated shout outs go to… Wiley from Maroubra, Henry from Buninyong and Amaka from Sefton. 


Classroom shout outs go to … class 4D with Mrs B at Mark Oliphant College in South Australia, grade 5 and 6 with Mrs Dickinson at St Mary’s Primary School in Rutherglen, class 4S with Miss Smallhorn at Greystanes Public School, class 5/6M with Mrs Spruce at Cessnock Public School, class KL with Mr Lye at Russell Lea Public School, the year 3 Tiny Turtles with Miss Ruth at Silkwood School in Nathan, year 6 with Mrs Johnson at St John the Baptist School in Freshwater and class 3K with Miss Knattress at Macarthur Anglican School in Sydney. 


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Galapagos Islands
  2. Africa
  3. Wang Wang and Fu Ni