Thursday, 18 February, 2021

Back to school for Vic kids; Italian volcano erupts; Ash Barty crashes out; and chocolate in the mail.



Mt Etna erupting:

Reddit snack exchange

Reddit snack exchange video:

Squiz Kids Instagram:

Got a birthday coming up and you want a shout-out? Send us an email at [email protected]

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






Hip-hip-hooray! It’s a back-to-school-we-go day! Following the news yesterday that Victoria had recorded no new cases of locally transmitted coronavirus, the Premier Daniel Andrews announced that the state’s five day hard lockdown would come to an end – meaning all of you lucky Victorian Squiz Kids get to go back to school today. That plume of dust you see? It’s your parents at school drop off this morning. 

You’ll still be expected to wear masks in public, Victorian friends, and there will be limits on how many friends you can over at your place – but otherwise most other restrictions are lifted. Woo-hoo!

Oh no! Ash Barty’s campaign to hold aloft the winner’s trophy at the Australian Open has come to a shuddering halt. Which is a fancy way of saying: Australia’s world number one women’s player lost her quarter finals match yesterday to world number 25,  Karolina Muchova. 

Despite a strong start, the Aussie champ lost momentum when her rival took an extended medical break. But despite the loss, Barty – being the legend she is – remained what we call ‘philosophical’ – which is a fancy way of saying she kept it all in perspective – saying after the match: “the sun will come up tomorrow. You’re either winning or you’re learning, and today is a massive learning curve for me.”

And that’s what a real champ sounds like.




Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops. And today, we’ve landed on the island of Sicily – in Italy – where one of the world’s best known volcanoes has erupted.

Mt Etna yesterday sent a plume of volcanic ash into the sky, and rivers of lava down its slopes.

Lava is molten rock – rock that is so hot that it has been turned into liquid. Really, really, hot liquid. Luckily, there were no reports of anyone being injured in the eruption – which happens on average once a year at Mt Etna. 

Despite the impressive display put on by Etna, an Italian vulcanologist – which is a person who studies volcanoes – was not all that impressed, telling a local news agency: “Ah – I’ve seen worse’.

Tough guy, eh?

You judge for yourself – there’s a link in today’s episode notes to video of the eruption. 



Remember those Mars probes that are all making their way to the red planet? Last week, the probe from the United Arab Emirates reached its destination – and all going well, the probe sent up last July by the United States, called Perseverance, will touch down on the surface of Mars tomorrow morning (Ed: FRI MORNING). And when it does, it will be the invention of an Australian scientist, Dr Abigail Allwood, that will start to do the really technical, really important work of examining rocks on Mars for signs of life. The invention is called PIXL – and is basically a super hi-tech box on a robotic arm that x-rays rocks. The x-rays will be examined for signs of chemicals that would indicate life may once have existed on Mars. 

Dr Allwood developed her invention studying rocks in Western Australian when she was a university student 25 years ago. And now she’s the first woman – and first Australian – to be a principal investigator on a Mars mission. Which – is frankly – remarkable. 




If you’ve ever been lucky enough to travel to another country – you’ll know that one of the coolest experiences is going into a supermarket and checking out all the cool chocolate bars and biscuits and lollies and chip flavours they have. And then buying as many as you can and stuffing your face with them.

With COVID, of course, no-one can much travel overseas. And so the movement of foreign snacks across borders has been limited too. But thanks to a group of Reddit users, a snack exchange has been set up which allows you to connect with someone overseas and send boxes of snacks to one another from your respective homelands. It’s like having a penpal – but instead of exchanging letters, you exchange chocolate biscuits. Genius! 

The Reddit group currently has more than 100,000 members – and is growing by the day. They can add one more member to that tally – I’m signing up and doing a lolly swap tonight!

There’s a link in today’s episode notes to the Reddit group – and to a cool video of one group member opening a box full of chocolates… yum.




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 volcano in Italy that erupted yesterday?
  2. On which planet is an Aussie invention about to touch down?
  3. Name the Aussie tennis champ who maintained her trademark dignity yesterday, despite a shock loss at the Australian Open? 




It’s February 18   … birthday of rugby league player Jake Trboevic and BTS band member J-Hope – real name Jung Ho-seok – which I am sure I have not pronounced properly. It’s also International Aspergers Awareness day – a day to raise awareness about the condition, educate the general population and highlight the challenges people with Asperger’s face.

It’s also a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today … Mika from Berowra, Gracie from Albany Hills, Lucius from Shoal Bay, Nathan from Lysterfield and Alex from Five Dock. 

And some belated birthday shoutouts… Mia from Perth and Arwen from Tumut.

Happy birthday one and all!

Classroom shoutouts… Grade 5P from Panton Hill Primary School, Mr Alston’s Grade 6 class at Lysterfield Primary School, 5/6 Emus at Weston Public School, Mr Dowsett and 5/6D from Mandama Primary School, and Class 3S at Fairfield Heights Public School with Mrs Stoeckl, who is celebrating a birthday today. 


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Mt Etna
  2. Mars
  3. Ash Barty