“Kangaroos are the T-Rex of the herbivore world,” my son informed me when he was younger.
I was confused at first because a T-Rex to me is a massive roaring animal, which didn’t really fit with the generally quiet kangaroos. But then I found out that my son was referring to the arms. Have you really looked at a kangaroo? I mean, really looked? It will surprise you how small the front legs actually are.
Another interesting body part to observe is their tail. To investigate the reason for the shape of the tail, you can watch a video of a kangaroo hopping. Then, discuss with the children: Why do kangaroos hop? Why do kangaroos have a tail?
The children could pretend to be a kangaroo and hop about. Encourage them to lean forward slightly and stick their bottoms out while hopping, trying to mimic the kangaroo’s posture. Is balancing hard? How could a tail help? What about the T-Rex. Although it didn’t hop, its tail may have been useful in a similar way. What do the children think?
Have another look at the video to see how the second kangaroo is using its tail like another limb. What does the tail do when moving slowly compared to when hopping? You could talk about the connection between animals’ movements and their physiology. Wombats, for example, dig a lot. Why do the children think their pouches face ‘backwards’? From beak to tail, the shape of the platypus is perfect for ….?
Article author: Hayley Bates
National Certifications Coordinator
This passionate mathematician and former science teacher will inspire you with her enthusiasm for inquiry-based learning and her determination to provide high-quality hands-on and fun professional development.