Tuesday, 27 April, 2021

Pop-It shortages and Perth lockdowns; Burkina Faso’s malaria breakthrough; Sydney’s netball triumph; and Soul wins the Oscar. 



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Well hello there Perth – and welcome back out of lockdown! Excellent to see you again – and we trust the snap lockdown over the weekend wasn’t too hard going.

The Western Australian capital city was plunged into a three day lockdown on Friday after it emerged the coronavirus had snuck its way out of a quarantine hotel aboard a returned traveller. But the WA Premier was satisfied enough with testing rates and yesterday’s zero cases of community spread that he called off the lockdown from midnight last night. It’s nice to have you back with us Perth.

If you did happen to be in lockdown – maybe you passed the time playing with your Pop It? That’s assuming of course you’ve managed to get your hands on one. 

There’s a nationwide shortage of the toys, which despite its simplicity, has become the most in-demand toy in Australia – thanks in no small part to the gazillion TicToc videos dedicated to Pop Its. 

A toy shop owner in Sydney yesterday reported selling almost 100 Pop Its in the space of only ten minutes. 

And apologies to all you parents and teachers out there going slowly mad to the sound of popping … not since fidget spinners has a toy so comprehensively swept playgrounds around the country. Be patient. This too shall pass. 




Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops … and today, we’ve landed in Burkina Faso – a country in western Africa – where there’s been a breakthrough in the development of a malaria vaccine.

Wait. What? There’s more than just one vaccine in the world? There’s not only on the coronavirus vaccine? Yes: that’s right. We might be hearing lots and lots about COVID and its vaccines at the moment, but vaccines already exist and protect us from many other infectious diseases. And in many countries, malaria – which is a disease that can be transmitted by mosquito bite – is a really big problem – especially in Africa.

But a bunch of clever scientists have just reported really promising results of trials they’ve been doing with kids of a vaccine called R21. 

It’s estimated there were 229 million cases of malaria in 2019 – two thirds of which were among African children. 

With early test results showing the vaccine is effective in preventing the disease 77% of the time – it’s given researchers hope that we’re a step closer to wiping out the killer disease once and for all. 




What better way to celebrate your birthday than winning a major tennis tournament? That’s what world number one, Australia’s own Ash Barty did on the weekend, winning the Stuttgart Open in Germany. 

It brings to three the number of major tournaments Ash has won this year – cementing her position at the top women’s player in the world.

And because winning the singles title on the same weekend you turn 25 isn’t enough, Ash capped off her adventures in Germany by winning the doubles title at the same tournament. 

Game. Set. Match.

— and netball fans .. what are you doing in 2027? You’re going to Sydney to watch the Netball World Cup – that’s what – after it was announced yesterday the NSW capital will host the prestigious sporting event. 

It’s the third time the World Cup has been played in Sydney. The Netball World Cup is played every four years, with the next one taking place in South Africa in 2023.




And the winner is ….. The Pixar film ‘SOUL’ which yesterday beat Shaun the Sheep and a bunch of other excellent kids’ movies to the Oscar for Best Animated FIlm of 2020.

The Oscars are a big movie awards ceremony that takes place in America every year. Lots of film makers and actors and actresses get dressed up and hand out awards to each other. It’s a thing.

The winning animated movie – Soul – about the afterlife – beat Shaun The Sheep’s Farmageddon, a movie called Wolfwalkers, a film called Over The Moon and another Pixar film, Onward – to claim the trophy.

It’s the first time the main character in a Pixar film has been black.

On the subject of diversity – the best picture Oscar this year went to Chinese born director, Chloe Zhao – who is only the second woman in the 93 year history of the Oscars to win the Best Picture gong. We salute you Chloe.




If you’re one of the one million Aussie kids who are in years 3, 5, 7, or 9, then you may already know that Naplan testing is coming up next month. And before YOU take the Naplan hotseat, we’ve asked one of the grown ups in charge of Naplan, Peter Titmanis, to take the Squiz Kids Q+A hotseat! Peter was once a teacher, but is now one of the grown-ups in charge of the Naplan tests. So if you’ve got a question about Naplan – now’s your chance to get it answered. Why does it happen? Who is it testing, students or teachers or both? Is it something to study for, or is that not the point? And what’s the answer to question number three?

It’s just a test people. And like everything: the more you know about it, the less there is to be scared of. So email through your questions to [email protected] … and remember, best question wins a prize. 




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

  1. What’s the name of country where testing on a malaria vaccine is going well?
  2. Which Australian city will host the Netball World Cup in 2027?
  3. Which popular toy is selling out all over Australia thanks to its popularity on TicToc?




It’s April 27   … birthday of Aussie tennis ace, Nick Kyrgios and American music sensation, Lizzo …. do your hair toss and check your nails people.. 

It’s also a special day for these kids celebrating a birthday today … Elisha-Rose from Tumut, Daniel and Nicholas from Campbelltown, Liam from Edgeworth, Abbey from Viewbank, Georgia from Pottsville, Liam from Mackenzie, Kerryn from Pascoe Vale, Phoebe from Petersham, Lucy from Wentworth Falls, Zoe from Fadden, Karen from Canberra, Anton (un-TON) from Jindera, and Jake from Lake Munmorah.

Belated birthday shoutouts… Abeedah from Brisbane, Eli from Kariong, Anastasia and Elena from Sheoak Grove, Henry from Stafford Heights, Ada from Strathpine, James from St Ives, Aston from Pascoe Vale South, Reuben from Kempsey, Isabella from Mackenzie, Meadow from Mernda, Lachlan from Exeter, Aston from Mackay and Francesca from New Plymouth in New Zealand.  

Classroom shoutouts… All the kids at St Peter’s All Saints’ College in Maitland, classes 3B and 3WD at St. John’s the Baptist school, class 4/5BG at Woodhill State School, and class 6W at St Bernadine’s. 

And a special shoutout to Mrs Papandrea from Oran Park Public School, who celebrated a birthday last week.  

The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Burkina Faso
  2. Sydney
  3. Pop Its