Monday, 22 February, 2021

Let the great vaccine roll-out begin! Teacher rows solo across Atlantic; all hail tennis’ Naomi Osaka; and flying a helicopter on Mars. 



First images from Mars:

Ingenuity: the Mars helicopter:

Japan’s Cat Day:


Squiz Kids Instagram:

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






Just close your eyes and look the other way … that’s the advice of our Prime Minister, Scott Morrison who yesterday became one of the first in the country to receive the Pfizer COVID vaccine. Rolling up his sleeve alongside the first woman in Australia to get the jab, 84 yo Sydney aged-care resident Jane Malaysiak, the PM said he’s no fan of needles, so he looked away when the injection was administered. Sounds like a good plan.

Today marks the start of the nationwide roll-out of coronavirus vaccines – as our elderly, front line health care workers and hotel quarantine workers start to receive the first doses. 

So when can you expect to get a jab?

The roll-out is expected to happen in five phases. First will be the elderly – classified as people over 70- disabled Australians and health and hotel quarantine workers; next will be people aged over 60, critical workers and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people; then it will be the rest of the adult population – followed finally by  children. That’s you lot. But only if clinical trials that are currently under way say the vaccines are safe in younger people. 

So you can stop tensing your arm for now ..

Why is the roll-out happening in that order? Because it’s starting with Australians who are most vulnerable – which is to say, the ones who would be most in danger if they caught the virus – and ending with those who are the least affected by it. So the fact you’re on the end of the queue is most definitely a good thing.




Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops. And today we’ve landed in Antigua – in the Carribean. Where a 21 year old British school teacher has just become the youngest woman ever to row across the Atlantic Ocean.

Jasmine Harrison took 70 days, three hours and 48 minutes to row the 5000 kilometres from the Canary Islands – off the coast of North Africa – to the island of Antigua. If you’ve got a world globe or atlas handy: now would be a good time to whip it out – just to see how far that is and what a remarkable feat it represents. 

Jasmine says she rowed for two hours, then  slept for two hours – for 70 days. Her boat tipped over a few times in the middle of the ocean, it was exhausting and it got lonely out there, but Jasmine said it was the greatest thing she had ever done – and she hoped it would inspire young people to take on challenges they might think are too hard to tackle.




All hail Naomi Osaka – the new queen of the tennis world – after her convincing win on Saturday night against America’s Jennifer Brady to take home the trophy at this year’s Australian Open. 

Osaka – who comes from Japan – took just under 90 minutes to beat Brady 6-4, 6-3 – to claim her second Australian Open title, and her fourth Grand Slam title. There are four tournaments in the prestigious ‘Grand Slam’ category –  the Australian Open, the US Open, the French Open and Wimbledon. 

And in the men’s singles final last night, world number one Novak Djokovic proved why he’s top of the pile beating Russia’s Danill Medvedev 7-5, 6-2, 6-2.



The Mars rover, Perseverance, has sent back its first photos from the surface of the red planet after touching down successfully on Friday morning. 

Scientists are doing cartwheels over the first set of images to have been sent back to Earth – capturing eerie shots of Mars’ barren surface and detailed shots of rocks they hope may contain evidence that life once lived on our big red planetary neighbour.

The rover is still being put through it’s paces – having all its systems tested – before it starts the serious business of driving around, collecting rock samples and doing experiments. 

And in about a month’s time, Ingenuity, the little helicopter that is tucked away underneath Perseverance, will be dropped on the ground as the first attempt ever is made to fly a machine in Mars’ atmosphere.

There’s a cool link in today’s episode notes to a video showing how Ingenuity – the super cool Mars helicopter – will work.




And yes – we most certainly do have a winner … As promised, we’ve got a book pack to give away to one lucky parent or teacher who took the time to fill out the Bigger Better Squiz Kids Survey. Congratulations to Christy Hutt, a year ⅚ teacher at Exeter Public School – down in the Southern Highlands of NSW – a beautiful part of the world. Close to the spectacular Fitzroy Falls .. there’s a book pack winging its way to you — filled with a bunch of excellent books for your class. 

Thanks to everyone who gave freely of their time and thoughts to send us such incredibly valuable feedback. Watch this space as we put your thoughts into action.




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 island nation in the Carribean to which British teacher Jasmine Harrison rowed to to complete her Atlantic crossing?
  2. Name the tennis player from Japan who won the women’s singles title at this year’s Australian Open?
  3. What’s the name of the hi-tech helicopter that will soon take flight on Mars?




It’s February 22   … today is Cat Day in Japan … where all lovers of the feline form celebrate one of humankind’s favourite furry friends … there’s a fun link in today’s episode notes to different ways the Japanese celebrate Cat Day.

It’s also a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today … Harry from Marshall, Annabelle from Ballarat, Eve and Matisse from Port Melbourne, Amalia from Abbotsford, Amber from Wallaroo and Tilly from Bondi Junction.

And some belated birthday shoutouts…Star from Forest Lake and Leo  from Cromer

Happy birthday one and all!

And today’s classroom shoutouts go to… 3/4E at Rangebank Primary School, 5/6 Steelwood at Thurgoona Public School, Mrs Thompson and her Year 6 Legends from Townview State School, class 3D and Miss Durand from Batemans Bay Public School, and a very special shoutout to class 3/4R at Abbotsford Public School with Miss Alby, who celebrated a birthday last week.  


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Antigua
  2. Naomi Osaka
  3. Ingenuity