Monday, 31 October, 2022

NAPLAN results are in; haunted hotels for Halloween; a week to watch our ‘Roos;  and animal nose-picking.



NAPLAN 2022:
America’s most haunted hotels (allegedly!):
The aye-aye digs deep: 

Your Shortcut to Halloween:
Apple –


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Attention year 3, 5, 7, and 9 students: do you remember when you sat your NAPLAN tests, back in May? Well, this morning the results were released. The full NAPLAN report is about 100 pages long—I’ll put a link to it in your episode notes—but overall, the results for 2022 are about the same as they were in 2021, but with drops in scores for Year 9 spelling and Year 5 numeracy – numeracy means maths. 


Now, Squiz-E the Newshound is betting his favourite chew toy that some people will think these results are great, and others will find them disappointing – even though they’re looking at exactly the same facts! That’s because people can choose to focus on different facts. 


For example: there were people who predicted that NAPLAN scores would fall drastically, because of all the disruption caused by COVID. They are probably pretty pleased with the fact that overall, the results for this year are about the same as last year.  


Then there are likely to be people who focus on the fact that there was a drop in year 5 maths, or year 9 spelling, and worry about that. 


And there’s another fact that’s causing some people concern. The 2022 results show that there is a higher proportion of year 9 students than ever before who do NOT meet the national minimum standard in reading—that’s the lowest level of reading ability that the experts have decided is acceptable. And with only a few years of school to go, more than one in 10 year 9s – more than one in every ten kids – cannot read at that fairly basic level. 


No matter how anyone interprets the different facts about the NAPLAN results, it is important to remember that it’s only a couple of tests, on a couple of days, during a whole year of school. NAPLAN doesn’t measure how fantastic you are at science… or thinking about history… or making art… or playing music… or sport… or being a good friend.



Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops. And today we’ve landed in America, where people COMPLETELY different from me are celebrating Halloween by booking themselves into hotels that claim to be haunted. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m the kind of person who has never liked being scared. Ghost stories? Hate them. Horror films? No thank you. Rollercoasters that make you feel like your stomach is coming out your mouth? Just, why?? But the fact that horror films, ghost stories, and rollercoasters exist means some people do like the rush of being terrified. And it’s those people who stay in hotels that, this Halloween, have been advertising that they are, allegedly, haunted. (Allegedly means that someone claims something to be true, but it hasn’t been proven.) There’s the Biltmore, in Florida, which apparently has the spirit of a gangster called Thomas “Fatty” Walsh—who was shot decades ago at a party on the 13th floor… or the Crescent Hotel in Arizona, where the many ghosts roaming the hall apparently include Morris the cat. I’ll put a link in the episode notes to the full list—read it if you dare! 




It’s going to be a week for watching ‘Roos… not the animal kind, but our sporting roos! The Kangaroos, Australia’s men’s national rugby league team, are through to the quarter finals of the Rugby World Cup, after smashing Italy yesterday 66-6.  The Kangaroos are the red-hot favourites to win the tournament—not only did they dominate in their first two games, thumping both Scotland and Fiji, but they’ve won eight of the last nine World Cups. They’ll play the quarter final on Friday—the same day that the Wheelaroos have their first game of the tournament, against the hosts, England. Our national wheelchair team already claimed victory in this year’s Rugby League World Championship, so there are high hopes that they’ll win the world cup, too.  

Meanwhile, the Jillaroos—our women’s team—have their first game of the tournament on Thursday, against the Cook Islands. They won the last rugby league world cup in 2017, and are looking to defend their title. Kangaroos, Wheelaroos, Jillaroos… all hot favourites, all in the green and gold. Go, you good things. 




Over the years, modern technology has allowed scientists studying animal behaviour to learn all kinds of incredible new things. The most recent example, thanks to a low light camera, is the discovery of another species of animal that… drumroll please… picks its nose and eats it. And this particular animal—the nocturnal aye-aye lemur from Madagascar—has evolved to have a middle finger that nose-picking humans can only dream of. 

Scientists already knew that the aye-aye’s super long, super skinny finger was used to tap on wood, listen if it was hollow, then scoop out the delicious grubs inside. But using a low-light camera at night, they were able to see that the aye-ayes also insert that finger so deeply into their skull that they can scrape the back of their throats, scoop out the snot, and eat that, too. Mmmm. Of course, I’ve put a link in your episode notes to the video and a CT scan—which is like an x-ray—showing the lemur’s finger inside its nose and throat. And, to those whose stomachs are easily turned, I’m sorry. 



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

  1. What are the names of our three rugby league World Cup teams? 
  2.  Scientists have just discovered that which type of primate picks its nose and eats it?  
  3. Thrill seekers in America are booking themselves into what this Halloween? 




It’s October 31… Halloween! Are you mumming and guising today? What? You don’t know what that means? Then you haven’t listened to our Squiz Kids Shortcut to Halloween! We’ll take you through 2,000 years of Halloween history, from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, to the 16th century Irish and Scottish tradition of mumming and guising.  Usually our shortcuts are only for subscribers, but this one is a little treat for you all. I’ll put a link in your episode notes. 

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

Hannah from Perth, Josie from Winston Hills, Samson from Cammeray, 

Harper from Ballajura, Remy from Mt Crosby, Sunny from Kotara, Beau from Yass, Tate from Coromandel, Catalina from Ringwood North, Ela currently touring around Australia and Olivia, Xavier and Alexander all from Petersham. 


And belated birthday shout outs go to…Olivia from Carlingford, Sophia from Moonta Bay, William from Hornsby and Noah from Ballina. 


Classroom shout outs go to… Miss Skilleter’s year 5 class at Jindalee State School, class 6SW and Miss Wong at Tarneit P-9 College, class 3/4S at Cobar Public School, year 4/5/6 and Mr Hoskins at Mingenew Primary School and lastly class D18 at Craigburn Primary School thank their teacher Mrs Hepworth, for always having their backs and for being an amazing teacher. 



The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Wheelaroos, Kangaroos, Jillaroos
  2. Aye-aye lemur
  3. Haunted hotels