There are some topics that just always crop up in one way or another and animal topics always seem to be popular. It’s a wonderful area of discovery as there are so many things you can link in – jungle, minibeasts, woodland creatures, polar animals, dinosaurs…the list goes on. Luckily there are a huge number of free resources on the web to help support this topic – here’s a few you might find useful.
it’s worth investigating the fantastic Be Your Wild Self website . The website allows pupils to create and image of themselves and then add animal features. A pair of wings. a lion’s mane…there are a huge number of choices and you can even add a background to. When you’ve finished your creature the website provides a print out which gives your creature a name (made up of bits of all the chosen animals – see above) and the printout will also provide you with facts about each of the animals you’ve chosen. You could use this in conjunction with work on ‘The Gruffalo’ – simply get pupils creating their own monsters and printing them off for display. The website could be equally successfully with older pupils. Try linking it to ‘Not Now, Bernard’: pupils can capture screen shots of finished creatures, paste them into a PowerPoint template and use descriptive language to describe them. I’m sure you can think of more uses for this amazing resource so go and check it out!
You’ll also find a number of ideas linked to animal topics on the wonderful free tes iboard site. In fact there are all sorts of animal ideas (minibeasts, farm animals etc.) that are sorted into subject categories (and colour coded suggested target age groups). Covering angles and distance? Also in the middle of an animal topic? The tes iboard has an activity for that (Catching Flies Chameleon). Covering Insects in class? Like to sort some using a branching database? Again tes iboard has an activity for that. In fact it’s a seemingly overflowing pot of ideas. And it’s going to add KS2 activities soon (although many existing activities would be suitable for Y3/4 and pupils with SEN). I can hardly wait!
Younger children, and those with SEN, also have access to a fabulous number of accessible and simple activities linked to this topic. HelpKidzLearn (shown above) contains a number of basic, clearly designed (and switch accessible) activities and the bugs section on Poisson Rouge has some nice easy activities that I have used successfully with playgroup age pupils and those with co-ordination difficulties (the activity where pupils click on the yellow bugs to make a picture is great for developing mouse control and encouraging pupils to scan the screen fully). And, when thinking of little ones. let’s not overlook the absolutely jam-packed CBeebies site ( I really like the Tinga Tinga section) as well as the well used (and for good reason) ICT Games (loads of great creature themed activities) and Kent ICT Games . I’ve had pupils using the BeeBot shell designer to create BeeBot shells of almost any creature you could mention (and there’s plenty of other good stuff too). And, before I forget, while we’re talking about the Kent ICT site check out their fantastic child friendly, themed search tools ! Fabulous stuff
There are also plenty of ‘creature feature’ websites that could be useful in KS2. The ever excellent BBC Science and Nature section is great and I recently saw a group of pupils using the WWF Climate Trackers website to research endangered species quite successfully. To my mind, however, a truly excellent selection of resources and information can be found on ARKive. Stunning images and videos are all part of this fabulous resource and it’s even got an area where pupils can use it in tandem with Google Earth. You might also like to check out the education section as I’m fairly sure you’ll find something of interest there.
So there you have it. A selection of creature themed resources across a number of age groups. If you still cannot find what you need and you’re handy with ICT why not create some resources of your own? Be inventive with triggers in PowerPoint or create some cool multimodals. If you’ve got 2Do it Yourself you could create some activities (Like the one pictured above ) using the wonderful selection of available templates (lots to choose from – pairs or labelling are useful for creating IWB resources that could be used in big group time). Spending a little time to get a big wow is always time well spent.