Connecting to prior knowledge

Prior Knowledge

The bunyip provides an excellent opportunity to link into Indigenous story telling, although the Indigenous bunyip is best left alone as it is an evil creature. The beginning of this unit revolves around story telling and discussion.

Prior to reading or telling the story of The Bunyip of Berkeley’s Creek discuss with the class the idea of reading a book with a mythical creature in it.
What is a ‘mythical creature’?
What types of mythical creatures do you know?
What makes a mythical creature mythical? For example unicorns, dragons, elves, imps, mermaids, ogres, phoenix.

Activity: In small groups create and draw a mythical creature; explain why your creature is mythical.
(ACELT1582)   (EN1-4A)


Exploring the text in context of our community, school and ‘me’

Indigenous Dreamtime stories are a way to explain why things are the way they are. They are told through dance, music and art.

Share and examine books such as Tjarany Roughtail by Joe Tramacchi. View the stories on DustEchoes including How Kangaroos got their Tails and How Birds got their Colours by Billiluna.

Discuss the similarities and the structure of these stories. Through the discussion identify the narrative structure.

As a class shared writing activity, create a simple story using that structure. Try, ‘How did a frill neck lizard get it’s frill?’ ‘How does the sea make waves?’ ‘How did the porcupine get its quills?’ or ‘How did the platypus get it’s bill?’
ACELY1661)   (EN1-2A)

Native Australian Animals

Teacher: The book we are going to explore is called The Bunyip of Berkeley’s Creek. It is an Australian book that is about a bunyip in the bush; it has lots of different Australian animals in it. What animals might we find in this book? What are your experiences of the Australian bush? What might you hear, see and smell in the bush?

Provide images of an assortment of animals; Australian native, jungle and farm animals. Students sort these into animals we might find and animals we won’t find in the Australian bush.

Discuss the animals, their names, the knowledge students have about the different animals, the features of the animals and the types of environments you might find these animals in. This is in preparation for reading the book.


Rich assessment task

Children create an illustration of their favourite native Australian animal and using simple sentences, provide facts about this animal; how it moves, where it lives, what it eats and it’s special features. Use the teacher rubric (PDF, 191KB) to provide feedback.
(ACELY1661)   (EN1-2A)

Responding to the text

Focus of this lesson is storytelling, expression and movement

The teacher begins by orally telling the story of The Bunyip for Berkeley’s Creek using gesture and expression to relay the different characters.

After the storytelling ask students to recall different characters and what they thought about these characters. Prompts: How would you feel if you meet one of them? Why do you think they were like that?

Act Out

The aim is for students to experience and make connections between expression, emotions and body language.

As whole group ask the children to act: “How would a creature that is very large and very muddy would sit and walk?”

Discuss and share the different interpretations of this by making a still image/freeze frame – focus upon body shape, language and expression.

Select two students to play the roles of the Bunyip and the platypus. Discuss and practice the voices of these characters, emphasise the descriptive language used by author, for example ‘murmured’. Children can practice murmuring.

Bunyip: “What am I? What am I?”
Platypus: “You are a bunyip”
Bunyip: “Am I handsome?”
Storyteller/narrator: But nobody answered him, and the bunyip went on sitting there for a long time, lost in thought.

Drill down (drill down is to freeze the characters and ask a question; for example you may ask for more details about something, or for an emotional response).

In this case ask the Bunyip: “What are you lost in thought about? What are you thinking about? What are you going to do next?”
Sort the class into ‘bunyips’ and ‘animals’ and repeat a version of the script above with each animal and then signal a ‘freeze or still image’ and drill down.

Whole group discussion. Name some feelings the bunyip had in the story. Create a list: sad, lonely, scared, worried, unloved, delighted, excited, relieved, happy. Make a word wall.

Act it out

Practice making different expressions for the emotion words identified by the children, do this by:

  • Ask children to stand in a circle, facing outward.
  • The teacher stands in the middle and calls out an emotion e.g. ‘lonely’. Children jump, facing into the circle and freeze showing their interpretation of ‘lonely’. Provide feedback on body language and expression used by different children.

Complete attached sheet ‘faces’ (PDF, 105KB) showing and labelling different expressions.
(ACELA1787)   (EN1-6B)


Rich Assessment Task

Provide the opportunity for students to show their connection to the character by orally responding to questions, representing emotions through body language and facial expression and relating personal experience to the character.

Invite students to share times when they have felt like the Bunyip by saying:

  • Show me what the bunyip felt like before he found another bunyip? (body response)
  • Tell me about a time when you’ve felt like the bunyip (oral response)

Assess response using the rubric (PDF, 169KB).
(ACELT1582)   (EN1-10C)

Examining text structure and organisation

Read the story The Bunyip of Berkeley’s Creek.


  • How does the illustration of the Bunyip in the story compare to your image of him?
  • Discuss the setting, orientation, complication and resolution in the story.


Create a story map showing the setting, complication and resolution to retell the story: Teacher documents the student’s oral recount of the story using their story maps.
(ACELY1660)   (EN1-10C)

Examining grammar and vocabulary


Revisit the book and ask students to think about words that describe the bunyip and words that name the different characters and objects.


Provide a selection of cards that include a picture and word; birds, fish, large, muddy, platypus, handsome, horrible, deep, quiet, webbed, feet, wings, feathers, emu, tail, fur, man, notebook, pencil, comb.
Ask students to refer back to the text and sort items into those used as nouns and adjectives. This can be done in groups of three. Provide time for discussion in making the decisions.
(ACELA1452)   (EN1-4A)


Imagine you had to explain a bunyip to a friend who had never seen one! What would you say?
Provide prompt cards:

If I were a bunyip I would see . . .
If I were a bunyip I would hear . . .
If I were a bunyip I would eat . . .
If I were a bunyip I would like to . . .
If I were a bunyip I would think about . . .

Small group discussion

Children work in small groups and create an answer to one of the prompt cards.

Whole group discussion

Each group shares their response to ‘If I were a bunyip . . . ‘
These are collated and a poem is created.
(ACELY1661)   (EN1-4A)


Rich assessment task

The assessment task involves the students sequencing the events of the story using drawing and labelling (or simple sentences). Students create a story map showing the main events in the orientation, complication and resolution to retell the story first to a partner and then to the teacher or larger group. The teacher observes each student’s oral recount of the story using their story maps as a prompt.

Learning Intention

Children will create a plasticine bunyip, name it and make a diorama to show where it lives. On completion students will use Book Creator app to film their model and record the following;

If I were a bunyip I would see . . .
If I were a bunyip I would hear . . .
If I were a bunyip I would eat . . .
If I were a bunyip I would like to . . .
If I were a bunyip I would think about . . .

Teacher Demonstration – Using Book Creator 

Discuss and share features of Book Creator app.

Teacher models using pre-prepared presentation with guidelines of learning intention.

Book creator has a simple, clear tutorial.

Activities include:

  • Students draw and label their bunyip to show what they need to make it e.g. feathers, eyes
  • Students construct the bunyip
  • Students plan and draw diorama; label to show different features in environment
  • Students construct diorama
  • Students explore features of Book Creator
  • Students present their final version to the class
    (ACELY1661)   (ACELY1664)   (EN1-2A)


Rich assessment task

Students present their bunyip projects on Book Creator. Use attached rubric (PDF, 107KB) to assess.