Recently, I helped develop a coding lesson for Code Club Australia’s Moonhack – Telstra Foundation’s global annual, international event to #getkidscoding that takes place from 24-30 May 2021.
Moonhack celebrates all things space and caring for Earth and this year, includes a spotlight on the first astronomers.
We’ve developed a coding lesson for kids that tells the story relating to Dhinawan, the Emu in the Sky constellation recognised by the Gomeroi people.
As the first astronomers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people have been looking up at the night sky for tens of thousands of years and used the patterns they observed to draw constellations that assisted them with agriculture, navigation, ceremonies and further knowledge.
Dhinawan is the giant Emu that stretches across the Milky Way. Indigenous people use the night sky to see what is happening on country and each seasons changes. If you look up into the night sky during March through to September, you can spot the Dhinawan in the Sky. You’ve almost certainly been looking at it all your life, but you’ve probably never noticed it.
In our Dhinawan in the Sky game, kids will learn and code each of the different phases that the Dhinawan goes through between April and September. They’ll animate the stars and the Emu’s nest to see the connection between the stars and what is happening with the Dhinawan on country.
The Dhinawan is just one of the stories that is known to the Gomeroi people, however this story is also shared across many language groups. As well as a Gomeroi story, Moonhack is also sharing the Māori story of Matariki with the help of Code Club Aotearoa and a number of projects about caring for our planet.
It’s easy to participate in Moonhack – you’ll need a computer with internet access and a passion for discovery. Simply register your interest for kids to take part in the challenge at home by themselves or in groups from May 24-30. All Moonhack projects are available for free on the Moonhack and Code Club Australia websites.
If you’d like more information about Dhinawan in the Sky, check out these resources:
- This video with Ben Slick tells the story of the Dhinawan in the Sky and its importance.
- If you ever stop in Tamworth NSW, stop in and hear some of the stories from Uncle Len Waters.
- If you’re looking for further educational resources on Australia’s first astronomers, head to Aboriginal Astronomy.
Powered by the Telstra Foundation, Code Club Australia provide resources and training to empower any adult to teach coding in their community. With over 150 free lessons, volunteer, and online training, and over 2,000 clubs nationally, Code Club Australia is the nation’s largest network of free, volunteer-led code clubs for young people.