In this unit, students explore various light phenomena with a focus on The Min Min Lights in Boulia, Pitta Pitta Country in outback Queensland. Students will study the many scientific theories for the Min Min Lights and write their own hypothesis – based on knowledge gained from exploring First Nations’ perspectives and other light phenomena, including Northern Lights, lightning, rainbows and mirages. 


At the heart of Jajoo Warrngara are the communities that lead the work on Country. We would like to acknowledge the storytellers Uncle Alfred Nathan and Uncle Brian Nathan, who have shared their cultural knowledge, and pay our respects to the Elders past and present. 

Uncle Alfred and Uncle Brian are proud Pitta Pitta Elders who hold strong and historical connections to Country and the community of Dtjarra, Boulia, and Cloncurry. Taught by their Great Grandmother Linda, they are the last remaining fluent Pitta Pitta language speakers. . 

Uncle Alf and Uncle Brian have passed these stories down to their families, including their niece Marian Radecker, a proud Pitta Pitta woman, who has been instrumental in ensuring they have been shared for educators through Jajoo Warrngara. The family acknowledges their Ancestors, in particular, the resilience of First Nations peoples who overcome adversity and hardship. 

Uncle Brian’s hope is that one day his family will sit around the campfire and speak to each other only in Language so that it is never forgotten. 


These tailored classroom protocols have been developed by Traditional Custodians and Elders Uncle Alfred, Uncle Brian and Marian Major. This guide directly relates to the Pitta Pitta community’s knowledge and stories which has been generously shared with the Jajoo Warrngara team. The teaching resources have been developed in collaboration with the Pitta Pitta community. Pitta Pitta Protocols

Essential Questions 

  • What are Min Min Lights and how have they been explained by the Pitta Pitta people, locals and scientists? 
  • What creates other natural light phenomena such as the Northern Lights, lightning, rainbows and mirages? 
  • What is an optical illusion? 
  • How do you create a hypothesis?
Links to Resources

Cultural Protocols

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Teacher Resources

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Students investigate various light phenomena including the Min Min Lights, the Northern Lights, lightning, rainbows and mirages. They explore First Nations perspectives which have come to explain or give insight regarding the phenomena and create their own hypothesis.

The Min Min Lights Lesson 1

  • Share the Pitta Pitta Welcome to Country with students 
  • Using the Map of Indigenous Australia | AIATSIS, identify where Pitta Pitta Country is and on which Country your school community is located. 
  • As a class, watch the Min Min Lights film developed in collaboration with the Pitta Pitta community.
  •  Form a yarning circle to discuss the films. Some questions to support your discussion are as follows:
    What are your initial thoughts and feelings about the films you witnessed?
    How is the landscape different from or similar to the Country on which your school community is located?
    What do you think The Min Min Lights are?
    How did you feel when the Pitta Pitta Custodians described their experiences with the Min Min Lights?
    What are some other light or sky phenomena you can think of?
    Have you ever heard of similar unsolved mysteries? 


  • Complete a KWL Chart to explore what you know and want to know about the Min Min Lights or other natural light phenomena such as The Northern Lights, rainbows, lightning or mirages. 


  • What environmental, seasonal and geographical factors might have an effect on the way people perceive Min Min lights and other natural light phenomena around the world? 
Mark as complete

The Min Min Lights Lesson 2

Sometimes light bends when it travels through water and air, horizontally flipping an image as the light paths cross. Light can also travel through water and split into many colours. This natural light phenomenon is known as 'refraction' and can create a mirror or rainbow effect. Some locals believe this is what creates The Min Min Light effect, but this is just one of many theories. 

  • Starting with a Yarning Circle outside the classroom, ask students to list the various light phenomena that they have observed before. Examples could be lightning, a mirage, rainbows and others.
  • In what ways have these phenomena been explained or described by First Nations communities? Where would you find this knowledge?


  • In small groups, conduct three refraction of light experiments: 
  • Experiment 1: Cool Light Refraction 
  • On a piece of paper, draw an arrow at the top and a second one near the bottom, ensuring the arrows are pointing in the same direction. Fill a large glass or vase with water.
  • Slowly lower the sheet of paper behind the glass of water.
  • Look through the glass of water. 
  • Record your findings in the Science Report worksheet provided 
  • Experiment 2: 
  • Have one person get the school hose and stand in an area that is sunny. 
  • Turn on the hose and water one of the school gardens or oval.
  • Turn your back towards the sun. 
  • Record your findings in the Science Report worksheet provided. 
  • Experiment 3: 
  • Inside the classroom, fill a large clear glass bowl with water. 
  • Hold the bowl up to a windowsill in the sunlight. 
  • Record your findings in the Science Report worksheet provided. 


  • Share your recorded findings with the class. 
  • Where else might 'refraction' be present? 
Mark as complete

The Min Min Lights Lesson 3

  • Following on from the last lesson, watch and read the following clips as a class. 


  • Individually or in pairs, research various light phenomena or unexplained occurrences. 
  • Record notes in your notebook. 
  • Present your findings with the class. 
  • Some links to support research as follows: 


  • Which of the natural light phenomena did you find the most interesting?
  • Have you ever witnessed any of these? Where were you? How did you feel when you experienced this? 
Mark as complete

The Min Min Lights Lesson 4

  • Following on from the last lesson, introduce the concept of writing a hypothesis. 
  • In pairs, students brainstorm possible Min Min Lights theories. 


  • Based on previous research, and the exploration of various perspectives and experiences shared about The Min Min Lights, students draft a hypothesis explaining the phenomenon. 


  • In a Yarning Circle, share your predictions and justify your hypothesis.
Mark as complete



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