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Unit 1 - The Human Landscape

Lesson plan
Activity - Mothy Mobile


Each year Aboriginal people gathered in the mountains close to what is now the National Capital to feast on bogong moths. During the collection of the moths, important ceremonies were held, art was painted in rock shelters and goods traded. Bogong moths were regarded as an essential food item for Aboriginal people and were a rich source of fat and protein.

Millions of bogong moths migrate to the mountains in summer to escape the extreme heat and lack of food in the lowlands. The moths shelter in crevices and caves. They were easily collected by aboriginal people with sticks and sheets of bark. Once collected, they would be roasted on a fire and eaten. Sometimes the roasted moths were ground into a paste and made into cakes to enjoy later. It is said that they taste a bit like peanut butter.

Bogong moths still make the yearly migration to parts of the Great Dividing Range and are often disturbed from their route by light emanating from Canberra city and Parliament House.


Students research biological and historical aspects of the bogong moth and then create a moth mobile incorporating brief quotes from their findings.


  • understand and successfully complete a set of instructions
  • be aware of the existence of Aboriginal people in the Canberra region
  • understand basic biological aspects of the bogong moth
  • understand the value of the bogong moth for Aboriginal people


Exhibit title - Bogong Moths
Location - The Human Landscape, section 1
Exhibition title - Bush Tucker
Location - The Human Landscape, section 1

This activity relates to the bogong moth display located in section 1 (refer to map supplied in National Capital Exhibition Interpretation Guide). The bogong moth fun time activity; ‘create your own bogong moth cookies' also supports this activity.


  • student activity sheet n bogong moth template
  • colour pencils n thin cardboard
  • craft materials for decoration n scissors
  • sticky tape n wooden skewers
  • hole punch n string


  1. Introduce the topic by setting the scene with the class.
  2. Provide opportunity for students to research the bogong moth and its relationship with the Aboriginal people of the high country and surrounding region (refer to discussion points in section 3), or;
  3. Ask students to write down sections of information as you discuss the bogong moth and its relationship with the Aboriginal people of the high country and surrounding region.
    • Discussion points could include:
      • Why do bogong moths migrate to the mountains located close to Canberra?
      • How did Aboriginal people collect the moths?
      • What did Aboriginal people do with the moths?
      • Were there any ceremonies associated with the collection of the moths?
      • Do Aboriginal people still collect the moths today?
      • What do bogong moths look like?
      • What does the word ‘migration' mean?
      • What do the moths reputedly taste like?
  4. Hand out student worksheet.
  5. Students design and decorate several bogong moths on cardboard using craft material.
    • Note: a black and white template of a bogong moth is included in the kit. The template can be photocopied, decorated and glued to a piece of cardboard and then trimmed with scissors. Care should be taken when students use scissors.
  6. Students draw a bubble shape on a piece of cardboard and include written information about the moth on both sides. The bubble shape is then cut out and decorated. This process can be repeated as many times as you like.
  7. Students create a mothy mobile with string and wooden skewers using the bogong moth cut outs and bubble information.
    • Safety note: students may need supervision when using a hole punch. Alternatively, students can use the tip of a pencil to carefully push a hole through the thin cardboard.
  8. Display the mothy mobiles in the classroom.