Cristy Burne


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My top five activities for book and science lovers

Fremantle Press recently featured my top five activities for teachers to use with their book and science lovers in the classroom.

In case you missed it…here it is again!

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1. Design your red planet submarine
We’ve just discovered a giant underground lake on Mars! Now we need to find out what’s in it. Imagine you’re in charge of designing the Mars Submarine Explorer. Draw it and label the features that’ll help you in your adventure. Then, when you’re ready, jump in and take it for a ride … Write down what happens and let us know what you discover!

2. Forget the Floss, dance the Peacock Spider
Kick off your day with a peacock spider-inspired dance routine to get your creative juices flowing. And while you’re busting moves, marvel at the fact that these incredible arachnids were only discovered last month and they live right here in Western Australia … How lucky are we?! When you have your breath back, imagine how it felt to be the first person in the world to see these spiders in action … Write a scene where you’re that person, sneaking through the bush on the trail of a new and amazing discovery.

3. Billionaire inventor
Ten of the 20 fastest-rising billionaires in the world work with new technologies. Imagine you’re an insanely rich technology entrepreneur. Now imagine you want to spend a wad of cash on a new project. What type of technology will you choose? A robot? A spaceship? A helpful gadget? A crazy invention? Sketch out your project and write an advertisement that explains what it will do. How will you encourage us to part with our money so we can own the Next Big Thing?

4. What if rhinos roamed Australia?
Rhinos are critically endangered, so why not introduce them to Australia? I love this plan! And it’s amazing for story ideas … What if rhinos roamed with kangaroos? What if your part-time job was caring for a rhino herd? What if poachers came to hurt your rhinos? What if we could have pet rhinos? Or use rhinos instead of lawnmowers? Brainstorm some ideas for what might happen in your story.

5. Create an emergency whistle
Hiking in the bush is a fantastic way to learn more about the world around you. There are insects and flowers and birds and trees, and there’s also survival, if things go wrong. When you read my latest book, Off the Track, you’ll learn the best way to stay safe in the bush is to be prepared. You can also learn a sweet trick that just might save your life. Spoiler alert: the trick is how to make a super-annoying whistle from an ordinary piece of paper. And remember, it’s not just super-annoying, it’s also educational! Yay, the science of sound!


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How to build a time machine

To celebrate the launch of The Cosmic Adventures of Alice and Bob, I recently worked with the amazing book club kids at the Amherst Village Library to design and build some incredible time machines.

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Of course, constructing time machines is a top secret process, so I’ve only included the ‘before’ shots. And a couple of biographies of the creators (all encrypted, of course). And some blueprints I managed to smuggle out.

We had a load of fun, with huge thanks to Shannon for the incredible musical entertainment!

And a warning: do try this at home! Or at a creative workshop near you… You’re bound to create something amazing.


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A Monster House: by Zac R from Room 13

…I’ve just come back from three days of workshops in Geraldton, where I met lots of terrific and talented people, including Zac R, a budding writer from Room 13. He worked very hard over two days to finish Chapter 1 of his story, and I promised to put it on the web for all to see. 

So, here it is: A MONSTER HOUSE, by Zac R from Room 13.

A MONSTER HOUSE: Intro/synopsis

The monster I’m going to talk about is the Monster House. I hope you enjoy!

The Monster House eats anything that goes or is near the house. The Monster House is afraid of fire, smells like a zombie, looks like an ugly house and sounds like a zombie dying.

A MONSTER HOUSE: CHAPTER 1.

One day a kid named Zac R went for a walk at night and saw a weird-looking house. Zac felt relaxed. Then, the house turned into a monster house and Zac felt scared. Zac started to run from China to Perth.

Zac was soooo scared that he said: “Awww, I’m going to get eaten alive!”

So, Zac carried dynamite.

Zac lit the dynamite on fire and threw it as hard as he could. The house blew up into many pieces.

The house turned into a zombie house and tried to kill Zac with a diamond pick axe. But Zac took his flare gun and blasted the zombie’s roof off, because the roof is the house’s main power source. So, Zac was now safe and went back home to go to sleep.

The next morning, Zac went to the place where he killed the zombie house and he saw graders, dump trucks and bobcats cleaning the place up. So Zac met a friend named Bob who was at the place, cleaning up the broken house pieces. Then, after that, Zac and Bob went to the playground and saw the Filth Licker. The brought the Filth Licker home and the Filth Licker started to clean up the house.

Then, the Filth Licker got hungry, so Zac and Bob gave the Filth Licker a name and talking cockroaches to eat, and the Filth Licker’s name was William. So William went around to other people’s houses to clean them. And they lived happily ever after.

THE END.

That is the end of my monster house story. I hope you enjoyed it.

By Zac R, Room 13.

….Way to go Zac! I did enjoy it! Thanks so much for sharing: now lots of other people enjoy your story too…

It was great to meet everyone in Geraldton…thanks for your fabulous stories!

Cristy


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Make your own monster: in Japanese and English

Creating monsters with Japanese students at the Hyogo Centre

Me causing chaos at the Hyogo Centre…the students are inventing some awesome monsters!

I’m just back from a terrific conference with the Society of Childrens Book Writers and Illustrators. It was great!!

I am all inspired and fired up to start work on ideas for a Takeshita Demons book 5 (and I think book 4 is nearly ready to start writing!)

Monster self-introductions

If you’re looking for inspiration for your own writing, or you want a fun activity for teaching Japanese language or creative writing, check out the new Monster Self Introductions activity on my website.

We gave it a try with some Year 9s at the Hyogo Prefectural Government Cultural Centre last week and they came up with some super scary (sometimes hilarious) monsters. Well done guys!!!