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Foundation – Year 2: 'The Hungry Dragon' – Dragon Boat FestivalBookmark

Learning area: Geography, Health and Physical Education, Language: Chinese
Year level: Foundation, Year 1, Year 2
Country: China
General capability: Intercultural understanding

This learning sequence explores celebrations, holidays and festivals that are known and/or celebrated in the classroom, focusing specifically on the Dragon Boat Festival. It is also aligned to the 'Hungry Dragon' episode of the Australian Children’s Television Foundation series Hoopla Doopla and explores different ways of moving, focusing on circus dance and gymnastics, culminating with a final movement performance piece.

The Hoopla Doopla: English & Chinese Language Resource contains the English and Mandarin language versions of 13 selected episodes from the Hoopla Doopla! TV series. They are available for purchase and download from the Australian Children’s Television Foundation at: Hoopla Doopla:  English & Mandarin Language Episodes for Download 

Episode Synopsis: Episode 44 - The Hungry Dragon

Everyone in Hoopla loves the dragon boat festival, especially Jango who loves it because Mimi makes delicious sticky rice dumplings. Jango sneakily eats all the dumplings & pretends that there is a hungry dragon in Hoopla.

Hoopla Doopla Background

In the town of Hoopla live six extraordinary characters each with their own amazing physical skill: Mimi runs the café and looks after everyone in town while juggling muffins and milkshakes; Ziggy, the shop keeper, does magic tricks which go in surprising directions; Zap, the town messenger, delivers packages in the most acrobatic manner possible; Bop, Mr Fix-It is able to lift almost anything; flexible Squidgie looks after the town garden and can often be found inside a pot-plant, finally Jango, the street sweeper, is always playing tricks and causing mischief.

Hoopla Doopla! is a unique and ground breaking show for 3-7 year olds, using physical action and comedy to drive the story. They tumble, juggle, leap and somersault in and out of trouble. However, whenever anything goes wrong - and it usually does - they always have each other to fall back on.

Hoopla Doopla! is a co-production between the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and China Central Television.  There are 52 x 12-minute episodes with both English and Chinese language versions. It was filmed in in Beijing with a mix of Chinese and Australian crew and performers.

Related resources


This learning sequence has been developed in partnership with the Australian Children's Television Foundation

Australian Childrens Television Foundation logo

Images: Dragon boat races at Longjiang – Wikipedia Commons File: Dragon boat races at Longjiang.jpg

Activity 1: Engage

  1. Students identify holidays they know that are specific to a culture, e.g. Chinese New Year and the Thai water throwing festival of Songkran.
    *These may or may not be celebrated in the classroom.
  2. Students learn about the Chinese holiday Dragon Boat Festival. Working in small groups and using the Visible Thinking Routine 'Think, Puzzle, Explore', they record initial ideas on VoiceThread or GarageBand about Halloween:
    • What do you think you know about this topic?
    • What questions or puzzles do you have?
    • How can you explore this topic?
  3. Students watch episode 44: 'The Hungry Dragon' and record ways in which the holiday is celebrated as a spider diagram though words or pictures in small groups using Inspiration (provide a word bank as needed).


Images: 2015 Chinese New Year – Wikipedia Commons File: 2015ChineseNewYear_(16606417135).jpg

Activity 2: Explore

  1. In the same small groups students will watch The Story of Qu Yuan video and view the three slide images of the Sydney Chinese New Year – Dragon Boat Festival. Add on to their Inspiration spider diagram the information learned from these two sources about how and why the festival is celebrated. As a class, share their learning in a circle time format.
  2. Elicit where students think the Hoopla village is and where the characters are from. Explain that some are from Australia and some are from China. Look at Australia on an interactive map. Use Scribble Maps and the pencil tool on a class board or individual devices and mark some initial observations about geographical divisions, e.g. countries they know, the equator, oceans and land and demarcate these divisions using the pencil tool on Scribble Maps.
  3. Introduce the concept of continents and teach how they are made up of countries. Students work in groups to research countries in either the continents of Asia or Oceania using Scribble Maps, first circling the continents in two different colours and then identifying countries within the continent they were allocated. Review the terms north, south, east and west and ask students in pairs to prepare to introduce their continent using these terms and different country names to another pair. Students then work in pairs to introduce their continent to another pair, e.g. countries in that continent as well as their geographical relationship to each other. Students find Australia and China on Scribble Maps and discuss the idea of Australia's neighbours being Asian countries.
  4. Elicit what Jango wanted to eat at Dragon Boat Festival in 'The Hungry Dragon' and explain what rice dumplings/''zongzi' are made from.  Students discuss whether they think these are healthy or unhealthy foods and brainstorm foods they know into three categories: eat always, eat sometimes or eat seldom on a prepared Padlet .
  5. Ask students if there really was a dragon. As a class use Visible Thinking Routine 'True for Who' to explore the issue of the truth, looking at it from all characters' viewpoints:
    • Discuss. What kind of situation was the claim made in? (Who made it? What were people's interests and goals? What was at stake?)
    • Brainstorm. Make a list of all the different points of view you could look at this claim from.
    • Dramatise. Choose a viewpoint to embody and imagine the stance a person from this viewpoint would be likely to take. Would he or she think the claim is true, false or uncertain? Why? Go around in a circle and dramatically speak from the viewpoint. Say:
      • My viewpoint is...
      • I think this claim is true/false/uncertain because...
      • What would convince me to change my mind is...
    • Stand back. Step outside of the circle of viewpoints and take everything into account. What is your conclusion or stance? What new ideas or questions do you have?
  6. Show the part when Caipu gets stuck in the bin and Biff and Jango rescue him (highlight: 01:35-2:08) from the Hungry Dragon. Students discuss what the characters did to help each other identify who helps them and how they can ask for help from others. Students work in small groups and devise a role play that is based on a problem that they need help with. They can decide which roles they want to play within the group, depending on the problem. Helping roles may be a teacher, a friend, an older sibling, a parent, a family friend or a family member. Possible problems could be a broken bike, they broke something that wasn't theirs, they are stuck with their homework, or they need to retrieve something that is lost.
  7. Students work in small groups and choose a character from Hoopla Doopla to focus on. They will watch how the character moves in the story. They should choose an activity the character does and be able to describe how they move and copy those actions. Re-watch the Hungry Dragon as necessary, describe to a partner how that character moves, then practise moving and doing actions like that character. As a class, brainstorm different ways of moving, e.g. fast, slow, smoothly, jerkily, small actions, big actions, using a part of their body, their whole body, strong movements or soft movements.
  8. Do a quick warm-up together. Teacher calls out different ways of moving, e.g. fast, slow, smoothly, jerkily, with small actions, with big actions, using a part of their body, using their whole body, with strong movements or with soft movements for students to move in the space to music. Teacher calls out everyday activities and students complete the actions using different ways of moving, e.g. packing your school bag – slowly, quickly, with big movements, with slow movements or using lots of space. Repeat the activity with the teacher calling out different everyday activities but students now work in pairs to make the movement sequence together. Discuss together if it was different in pairs and if so, how.
  9. Explore the concept that paddlers on dragon boats must paddle in time and work in unison. Students will use the concept of unison and work with a partner to make a movement piece that is about a daily activity, e.g. washing the dishes or taking a shower. They must move in unison and include two different elements in their piece, e.g. slow and big. Show another pair, guess the activity and the two elements and give feedback. Pairs may present to the class.
  10. Students re-watch the opening sequence of Hoopla Doopla, focusing on how the characters move and identifying adjectives to describe this. Discuss what styles of movements they use, e.g. gymnastics, circus or dance. Students now create a movement piece based on a daily activity and try to include some elements of gymnastics or circus movement, e.g. cartwheels or using hoops. For this movement piece, students do not need to also include the elements previously used (slow, big or in unison) unless they wish to.

Activity 3: Reflect

  1. Elicit if the performances were all the same or different. (Different.) What made them different? (Different ways of moving.) Review the different ways of moving and how they can make a movement piece look and feel different. Ask students to share with a partner using the Visible Thinking Routine 'Think, Pair, Share':
    • 'Think, Pair, Share' involves posing a question to students, asking them to take a few minutes of thinking time and then getting them to turn to a nearby student to share their thoughts.
  2. What skills did they need to complete the task of devising a movement piece? (Communication, teamwork, patience in taking turns to share, openness in trying others' ideas.) Students reflect on how well they think they applied these skills with their partners.
  3. Brainstorm how they felt after their performance pieces. How did their bodies feel? What can they do to look after their bodies after participating in physical activities? Record on Padlet.
  4. Students share their own experiences in gymnastics, circus or dance in small groups. Discuss: have they participated in and/or seen performances using these kinds of activities? What kinds of movements do different performances make? Share their ideas with the class.
  5. Review connections to the world using the world map and ask students to find the continents and countries covered in small groups using Scribble Maps.
  6. Reflect on their learning in this unit. Use the Visible Thinking Routine 'I used to think, now I think':
    • Have students write a response using each of the sentence stems:
      • I used to think...
      • But now, I think...

Activity 4: Chinese – Second Language Pathway list:

Access to Scootle digital content

Digital content has been incorporated into these learning sequences to support student learning. A link is provided to open each of these Scootle digital resources.

To access the Scootle digital content in these learning sequences you will need to create an account or login.

  1. Show the world map on Google Maps to the class and highlight China. Ask the students which language/s is/are spoken in China. Watch the video Real Chinese: Basic Greetings from 2:30 to 3:00. Ask if anyone in the class speaks Chinese or if they know anyone who speaks Chinese. Highlight that many people in Australia speak Mandarin or Cantonese (the 2011 Census showed 1.6% of Australia's population spoke Mandarin and 1.3% spoke Cantonese1). Give an overview of the difference between the two languages, e.g. Cantonese is a dialect spoken in Guangdong, a southern province in China and is also used in Hong Kong. Mandarin has four tones but Cantonese has six to nine tones. Identify which other languages are spoken in the class. Together as a class or as individual students, find the countries those language come from on Scribble Maps, if you didn't find them in the first part of the lesson.
  2. Discuss: What do you notice is different to English? (Tones, characters and order of sentences.) Introduce the difference in tones: show Fun Fun Elmo Episode 1 (2:20) to introduce the four tones and copy the model of sounding out the first tone.
    For a more detailed explanation of tones, watch Chinese with Mike Tones. Practise the different tones with the Tones Song (2:00 onwards).
  3. Introduce the different written form from English that Chinese uses by watching Chinese with Mike: Writing Characters.
  4. Show an image of 10 dragon boats and explain that we want to count them in Chinese. Listen to the 1-10 Chinese number rap video: what do they notice about the language? Refer to the tones and character form covered already. Teach and practise saying the numbers one to 10, show both the Pinyin and the characters using the Chinese Number Lanterns video.
    Students check their understanding using the counting calculator and practise counting objects in the room, e.g. pencils and chairs, etc. Using character flash cards for numbers one to 10, students practise ordering them. Students practise and check their knowledge of the written form using the Number Train Chinese 1-10 (Level 1).










    Teach hand signals for Chinese numbers 1-10 from the Elmo video (5:27-7:30).

  5. Review that the village of Hoopla is set in China. Ask: how might you say hello in Chinese? (Nín hǎo, 您好.) Watch the video: Chinese with Mike: Basic Greetings (0:00-7:00) or Real Chinese: Basic Greetings (0:00 to 2:30). Students learn and practise everyday greetings (videos cover various):
    Nǐ hǎo
    Hello (very polite)
    Nín hǎo
    Good morning
    Zǎoshang hǎo
    Good afternoon
    Xiàwǔ hǎo
    Good evening
    Wǎnshàng hǎo
    Hello everyone
    Dàjiā hǎo
  6. Students watch the introduction video for the root word for country, explain that this is the 'traditional Chinese' and show the simplified Chinese character for country (Guójiā国家).  Learn country names for China, England, America and Australia, also teach any other relevant countries for students in the class:
  7. Students watch the What's Your Name? song.
    Review the usage of the phrase 'My name is...' (Wǒ jiào, 我叫.) Learn how to say where they are from and practise asking and answering with a partner, then practise by mingling around the room with an A4 sheet of paper pinned to their front with the name of a country in Pinyin and characters on it, and ask and answer where they are 'from' according to the country on their A4 sign.
  8. Students should imagine they meet someone in the street in China. What question/s might they ask them? Watch the 'Nǐ jiào shénme míngzi' song. Elicit what students think the song is about. What question is being asked? How do they know? Learn and practise how to ask and answer the basic questions: what is your name? My name is... What is his/her name?
    What is your name?
    Nǐ jiào shénme míng zi?
    My friend
    Wǒ de péngyǒu
    I am called...
    wǒ jiào...
    Who are you?
    Nǐ shì shéi?

    More able students can use the more difficult phrases and watch the video.

    Practise and review with Quizlet.

  9. Explore further: Dragon Boat Festival. Ask the students to think back to 'The Hungry Dragon' and The Story of Qu Yuan video and view the three slide images of the Sydney Chinese New Year – Dragon Boat Festival and share ways that the festival is celebrated that is related to Chinese culture, e.g. eating special foods, dragon boat races, etc.
  10. Review the Chinese vocabulary learned and review the differences in Chinese language compared to English (tones, Pinyin and characters).

1 The Australian Bureau of Statistics

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