Tuesday, 5 October, 2021

It’s goodbye to Gladys; India’s running water fix; Mercury in close up; and koalas wearing Fitbits.



Koalas wearing Fitbits:  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-03/koalas-wearing-fitbits-in-the-adelaide-hills/100508552 

Photos of Mercury: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-58754882


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





There’s a famous expression that goes: a week is a long time in politics. It means that things can change lightning fast – and you only have to turn your back for, say, a two week school holiday period – or even just the weekend just gone – to discover on your return that everything is just a little bit topsy turvy.

That’s certainly the case in NSW – the biggest state in Australia – whose Premier Gladys Berejiklian resigned on Friday after it was announced she was being investigated by an independent body that looks into corruption – which is a fancy way of saying doing the wrong thing with the power you’ve been given by voters. 

In a weekend filled with drama, the popular NSW Premier wasn’t the only politician to announce her departure. Her deputy, John Barilaro also bowed out, and another senior member of Ms Berejiklian’s government, Andrew Constance, told the world he too had had enough. 

Here’s a name you’re going to hear a lot in the next few months: Dominic Perrotet: he’s the man widely expected to become the new Premier of NSW when his party, the Liberal Party, meets to vote today. 


In other big news over the long weekend, the Penrith Panthers won only their third NRL premiership ever, just holding on against the South Sydney Rabbitohs in a nail-biting 14-12 grand final victory. And the streets of Western Sydney exploded in celebration … yee-ha!



Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops, and today we’ve landed in India … where the government has promised to deliver clean, running water to every home in the country in the next three years.

Wait. What? Houses in India don’t already have clean running water coming out of taps? India is one of the biggest countries in the world … 1.4 billion people live there. That’s billion with a ‘b’. And in many home especially in the countryside, there is no running water – and that means many millions of Indian women have to walk miles and miles every day to collect water in containers for cooking, cleaning and washing, and walk it back to their homes. Which is kind of astounding, isn’t it?

At the moment, only 43 percent of homes in rural India have running water: and the government has promised to lift that to 100 percent within three years – meaning all those women walking to get water will be able to do something more productive with their time. Hoorah for that. 




Hands up if you wear a FitBit, or some other kind of wearable technology that tells you about your steps, heart rate, and more? Guess who else does? About 40 South Australian koalas! 

That’s right, a researcher who studies animal behaviour has recently strapped black Fitbits onto koalas at Cleland Wildlife Park in the Adelaide Hills. (She tried other colours, by the way, but the koalas chewed them.) And if you’re wondering why these notoriously sleepy and slow animals need to know about their step count—they don’t. But the researchers were worried that the drones they were using to identify and monitor the koalas were stressing them out. Fitbits allow researchers to measure the koalas’ heart rates while the drones buzzed overhead. 

The good news? So far, the drones don’t seem to bother them at all. And yes, of course, there are some pictures of our cuddly friends in Fitbits in your episode notes. 




A spacecraft that was launched from Earth three years ago has just made it to the planet Mercury – the closest planet to the Sun – and completed the first part of its mission: to send back to Earth for the first time really clear photos of the mysterious little planet. 

The Bepi-Colombo space probe flew within 200 kilometres of Mercury’s surface on Friday, and sent back photos of the planet’s surface – which reveal what its like to be the closest planet to the sun. Namely: sun-baked and covered in pock-marks. A little bit like the surface of the Moon. 

Because the Bepi is flying so close to the sun, it’s covered in special heat-resistant material to cope with the extreme heat … estimated to be about 350 degree celsius. There are not enough Quelches in the universe to cope with that sort of heat. I’ve stuck a link to the photos of Mercury in today’s episode notes. 




Are you someone who loves dreaming up crazy situations and inventions? Well, best selling author Andy Griffiths wants to hear your ideas for a new level of his famous treehouse. The 143-Storey Treehouse is coming out on October 19, and Andy is already busy writing about the next 13 storeys. Which is where you come in. Send in a paragraph—and a picture, if you like—describing your whacky idea for a treehouse level. We’ll choose the best ones to present to Andy when he takes the Squiz Kids hot seat for a special Squiz Kids Q+A. So get those creative juices flowing, and send your submissions by next Monday to [email protected]



Attention all students and teachers… today is a REALLY special day at Squiz Kids, because we’re launching an exciting new project: Squiz Kids for Schools. 

What’s that? I’m so glad you asked. 

Squiz Kids is now providing teachers with daily, differentiated literacy activities, all linked to stories in the daily podcast. We’ll also be producing a weekly Squiz Kids Shortcut podcast, with classroom activities for that too. This week’s is on the Nobel Prizes, which are being awarded later this week in Sweden. 

Best of all, if you’re keen to test out Squiz Kids for Schools, your teacher can sign up and get completely free access for the rest of this year! Just go to squizkids.com.au and follow the prompts. Frankly, you’d be mad not to. 




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

  1. Which planet – the smallest in our solar system – has just been photographed by the Bepi Colombo space probe?
  2. Which cute creatures are the latest to catch on to the Fitbit craze?
  3. Which rugby league team won this year’s NRL grand final? 




It’s October 5… World Teachers’ Day … where around the world teachers are celebrated for the awesome job they do every day. Australia will have its own version of this world day at the end of the month – but we figure teachers are so cool they deserve two bites of the cherry. If you’re near a teacher today, let them know how much you appreciate them …

It’s also a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today…. Zoe from Roseville, Olive from Melbourne, Deakin from Townsville, Adam from Sydney and Puneet from Blacktown

Over the next couple of days we’re going to be giving a lot of belated shout outs to those kids who celebrated birthdays during the school holidays just gone … and there were A LOT of birthdays in the holidays.  So if that was you: make sure you keep listening this week.  Belated birthday shout outs go to ….Astrid from Elwood, Tayla, Sabine and Gabriel from Abbotsford, Tyler, Nevaeh and Gracin from Shoal Bay, Sam from Coogee, Xavier from Berridale, Walt from Rose Bay, Callie from Albion Park, Henry from Bald Hill, Hayden from Broken Hill, Aidan from Carlingford, Ruby from North Kellyville, Lucas from Sydney, Oliver from Diamond Creek, Clyde from Book Book and Max – who’s listening all the way over there in Tokyo.

And finally … because our friends in Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney are still in lockdown we are still sending out home learning herograms – but hopefully for not too much longer…

Home learning shout outs go to class 6M at Croydon Park Public School, Ms Kenny and class 2K at Campbell Primary School, Miss Moloney and class 5M at St Ives Public School. Lastly, Edelia and Alex send a herogram to the whole of Majura Primary School in Canberra and say thank you for the magnificent home learning. 


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Mercury
  2. Koalas
  3. Penrith Panthers