Monday, 18 October, 2021

 Lockdown lift for Melbourne; India’s solar powered iron; the mystery sound from outer space; and a croc-plosion in the Northern Territory.



Solar powered iron: 

La Palma volcano:


Squiz Kids Instagram:

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Can you hear that? That’s us doing a happy dance for Squiz Kids in Melbourne following the news yesterday that lockdown number six would be ending this Friday, earlier than planned – bringing to an end the longest lockdown any city in the world has endured during the COVID pandemic. 

And it’s all thanks to the cracking rate at which Victorians have been getting vaccinated – with the state expected to hit the magic 70 percent of the population being fully vaccinated by the end of the week. 

Importantly for all you Me lbourne Squiz Kids tired of home learning, and gagging to get back into the playground and see your friends, the gradual return to school for students from grade three to year 11 has been fast-tracked and will begin this Friday. (CHEER) … while schoolkids of all ages in regional Victoria can troop back to the classroom from Friday too. (CHEER)

The news comes hot on the heels of the big announcement from the NSW government on Friday that it was scrapping quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated Aussies – and re-opening the borders so that people could travel overseas again. (CHEER) 

It’s all part of the gradual reopening of the country in line with rising rates of vaccination — and signs that life may soon return to some sort of normal.

Well done Melbourne. Well done Victoria. You’ve done it tough. Squiz Kids salutes you.



Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops, and today we’ve landed in southern India, where a 14-year-old girl has invented an iron powered by the sun. 

In the Indian state where Vinisha Umashankar lives, lots of people make a living ironing other people’s clothes. The problem is, the metal irons they use are heated by charcoal. Burning charcoal causes air pollution, which in turn causes some people to get sick. It also puts a lot of carbon dioxide into the air, contributing to global warming. Vinisha thought to herself… we have 300 days a year of sunshine here, why don’t I build a solar iron? Today, she’ll find out if her mobile ironing cart—powered by a bicycle and the sun— has won the first ever Earthshot Prize. 

Vinisha’s cart has solar-charged batteries that allow people to iron into the night, a horn to let people know the iron vendor is there, and even a phone charging port. Check out the video in your episode notes!




A strange noise is coming from outer space that has astronomers scratching their head – and excitedly wondering if maybe there are real-life aliens out there in the galaxy. 

For nine months now, scientists manning telescopes in both Western Australia and South Africa have picked up a strange radio signal coming from near the very centre of our galaxy, the Milky Way.

The telescopes pick up radio signals from outer space all the time – but most are regular and come from things like dead stars or a massive flare from a star. This signal turns on and off at irregular intervals – meaning there is no pattern – and is like no other radio signal that’s ever been detected before.

Could there be another life form out there trying to send us a message? Here’s hoping… how cool would that be? 




Imagine wandering into your back yard and finding a crocodile nest? That’s what the people of Palmerston, just south of Darwin in the Northern Territory have done – as numbers of saltwater crocodiles in Australia’s north climb to record numbers.

Park rangers reckon that the crocodile population in the NT has climbed to 100,000. Which is quite something given the human population there is barely 250,000. That’s one croc for every two-and-a-half people. Yikes. 

The population explosion is good news: because it means that laws to save crocs from being hunted to extinction have worked. But less good news because there are now so many of them – they’ve started building nests and taking up residence close to where humans live. And as glorious a creature as they are: no one wants to be going to sleep at night knowing there’s a crocodile at the bottom of their backyard. 


SK 4 S

Teachers of the Squiz Kids universe … have you signed up yet for a free trial of Squiz Kids for Schools? A daily suite of classroom resources linked to each day’s podcast and compiled by our very own journalist-turned-teacher, Amanda Bower?

Do yourselves a favour and sign up today. It’s free for the remainder of Term 4 – and a great way to extend the usefulness of this podcast.  As well as daily literacy activities, we’re producing a weekly shortcut – or deep dive into a big news story. 

This week’s shortcut is all about volcanoes and earthquakes .. And to get you in the mood, I’ve stuck a link in today’s episode notes to amazing video of giant boulders being carried along rivers of lava on the Spanish island of La Palma where a volcano has been erupting for over a month now … 




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

  1. The population of what great big reptile has exploded in the Northern Territory?
  2. In which country does the 14yo inventor of a solar iron live?
  3. Telescopes in Western Australia and what other country in the southern hemisphere have detected a strange noise from outer space?




It’s October 18 … on the subject of kids returning to school kindy, Year 1 and Year 12 students in NSW are back in the classroom today … hoorah!

It’s also a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today …Sarah from Lysterfield, Samantha from Bogan Gate, AJ from Orange, Siyara from Canberra, Cooper from Albany Hills, Sienna from Rochdale and Gabriel from Sydney.

And belated birthday shout outs go to…Annabelle from Thornleigh, Lachie from the Gold Coast, Jack from Fernhill, Charlie from Blaxland East, Miles from Northcote and Lachlan and Mark from Munno Para. 

And because many of our friends in Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney still aren’t at school we are sending out home learning herograms … to Kahu from Abbotsford Public School, to class 5/6 Barty at Appin Public School and class KB at Double Bay Public School.  Shout out to Mrs Rosa and Grade 3 at Waitara Public School and to Austin from Padstow Heights for doing a great job schooling at home. 

Lucy and James send a herogram to the students and teachers in class 3/4SM and 1/2C from Ainslie School in Canberra – while Rose sends a herogram to all of Grade 2 at Gladesville Public School. Lastly a herogram to Mr Salvaire and Class F2 at Hammond Park Primary School. 

And finally classroom shout outs – to those lucky Squiz Kids NOT in lockdown… to Year 3, Mr Corben and Mrs Livingstone at St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Orange. Also to 6B at St Joseph’s Primary School in Kempsey and to Oval Room 2 at the Narbethong Special School in Woolloongabba – who say they are big Squiz Kids fans! Aww — that’s so good to hear. 

The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Crocodiles
  2. India
  3. South Africa