7 — Radio broadcast
This sequence asks students to think deeply about the conditions on Macquarie Island today. They are to consider the flora and fauna and what it would be like to live on the island.
Activity 1: Thinking about a radio script
Draw the students’ attention to the text ‘Mawson’s men built a radio mast to relay news from Antarctica to the world. A team stayed there for two years to operate the radio station and study the island.’ (One Small Island, page 14). Read the next few pages and discuss as a class what might have been said in the radio broadcasts at that time, pointing out that factual information and personal reactions would be given in a radio broadcast, not just bare assertions. The students can listen to examples on the internet from:
- ABC News online: ‘Rabbit Hunters Head to Macquarie Island’ (audio and text)
- Australian Screen online video clips from Siege of the South from 1931
- ABC TV’s 7.30 Report 16 May 2011 ‘Eradication Program to Rid Macquarie Island of Rabbits’
Talk to the students about the need to use words in the broadcast that will give listeners visual descriptions, since there is no option for including images in a radio broadcast. ACELA1502
Co-construct a rubric or checklist that establishes the criteria students will be assessed with for this task. Ensure speaking priorities, such as voice control and pace, are included alongside content considerations including vocabulary choices and experimenting with a small range of devices to enhance meaning of spoken texts (for example, volume, pitch and pauses) and language devices to engage the listener (for example, descriptive language, simile, metaphor and common sayings).
Activity 2: Writing a radio script
Ask the students to re-read their descriptions from Sequence 6. Use a strategy such as think-pair-share to allow them to discuss their thoughts about what a radio broadcast might sound like today if there were people operating the radio station. In pairs, the students are to craft their description of Macquarie Island into a radio script in a form that might have been relayed from Mawson’s radio station.
Their radio script should include information about weather conditions, descriptions of flora and fauna, and how they feel about living there for two years. They will also report on the changes in the environment that they have seen during their stay. This task will support them in future sequences when they will be writing a persuasive text about an environment they believe should be saved. Talk about how people use their voices in radio, making references to the audio recordings they have listened to. Tell the students that their broadcast is limited to 2 minutes so they must select their content carefully and include only the most important and relevant information, and consider how to use language effectively but economically. This will allow them to focus on making language choices that will inform the listener of the current situation while seeking empathy for this environmental issue. ACELT1798
The students can also listen to a podcast by Matthew Crawford about the Macquarie Island Pest Eradication Project. This is a long podcast of 30 minutes but there are many excerpts that could be examined as models of effective communication.
Activity 3: Writing and recording the radio script
Establish with the students the expectations of the task and display these so they can refer to them as they develop their presentation. Criteria might include:
- The broadcast has an engaging introduction that captures the listener’s attention.
- The information selected is relevant.
- The language used creates clear visual images in the listener’s mind.
- The language used seeks to engage the listener on an emotional level.
- The broadcast is presented in a clear and interesting voice.
Students work in pairs to construct their broadcast script, with one student to take on the role of host and the other as interviewee. Allow time for the students to rehearse and refine their work. They then record their radio scripts using technologies such as smartphones, tablets, MP3 players or computers. These recordings could be uploaded to the school website as audio files for other classes or parents to listen to. ACELY1707, ACHASSK113
Share the radio broadcasts as a whole class. Allow the students to give feedback to each pair, using the co-constructed rubric/checklist.