1. Introduction
    Introduce the animal and let the children know they are about to listen to an interview with a zookeeper from London Zoo. 
  2. Play the podcast Q&A (time code: 00:00 - 08:06)
  3. Once the Q&A has finished (08:06), press pause.
  4. Discussion
    Ask the children what their favourite fact from the interview was.

In class, explain the following useful words that were used by Sam:

  • Humid environment: When there is a lot of moisture/water in the air
  • A pupa is the life stage of insects that undergo a complete metamorphosis from embryo, larva, pupa to imago or adult. Butterfly pupas are called chrysalis. 
  • A cocoon is made out of silk that a moth caterpillar spins around itself then pupates inside. Cocoons belong to moths, and chrysalises belong to butterflies. While they serve similar functions, how they make them, their structure, and where you can find them are quite different.
  • Nectar: a sugar-rich liquid, honey-like drink produced by flowers and plants
  • Proboscis: a long and tube-like mouthpart, that is used by insects to suck the nectar. It’s flexible so that it can curl up or stretch out.
  • Antenna/ antennae: either of a pair of long, thin sensory organs that are found on the heads of insects 
  • Spectrum: (in general) a broad range of similar things or qualities. In science the spectrum is a band of colours, as seen in a rainbow; the set of colours into which a beam of light can be separated
  • Ultraviolet:  Part of the sunlight that is invisible to the human eye. Describes light that is beyond the purple end of the spectrum.
  1. Discuss the characteristics and qualities of the butterfly. Conclude as to what the quintessential attributes of the butterfly are, which characteristic makes them unique (flying, proboscis, wings, colours?). 

  2. Invite the children to think of the butterfly as a superhero having that characteristic as its super power. Discuss how they could save the planet using their super power? (for example, if proboscis is their strength could they use it to suck rubbish out of a lake? or reduce air pollution? Let your imagination run wild!).

  3. Ask children to draw this superhero.

  4. Find a name for your superhero.

  5. Write collectively a short story about how they saved the planet.

  6. Role playing: invite children to assume the role of a TV journalist and ask them to present their story as a report on the evening news.

  1. Introduction
    Introduce the animal and let the children know they are about to listen to an interview with a zookeeper from London Zoo. 
  2. Play the podcast Q&A (time code: 00:00 - 08:06)
  3. Once the Q&A has finished (08:06), press pause.
  4. Discussion
    Ask the children what their favourite fact from the interview was.
Activity 2:
Vertebrate/Invertebrate classification

If you’re teaching KS1 or 2 about Vertebrate/Invertebrate classification, check out this fun and informative worksheet from ZSL.

Activity 3:
Butterfly spotting

In class, watch this video from Whipsnade Zoo and see how many butterflies you can spot from each species?
Use the checklist to keep track!

Activity 4:
UV light

UltraViolet Light or UV light

When we think of light, we usually think of what our eyes can see. But the light that our human eyes can perceive is just a small bit of the total light that surrounds us, in fact most of the light in the universe is invisible to us, meaning we can’t see it with naked eyes. Part of the invisible light are the Ultra Violet (UV) rays that are produced by the sun. We cannot see, but butterflies (and other insects) do!

For butterflies and other insects UV light is very useful. It helps them land on flowers and locate  their nectar much easier. Have a look at this short clip from David Attenborough's ‘Kingdom of Plants’ to see how it works.

These are some flowers under normal light and then under UV light

Invite children to ‘see’ like a butterfly and draw an imaginary UV flower. Remind them to consider how the colours aim to attract insects to where there is pollen.

UV light friend or foe?

Ultraviolet light is both useful and harmful for human beings. It’s  an environmentally friendly way to sterilise surfaces and objects, getting rid of bacteria, mould, fungi, and viruses without the use of harmful chemicals.  But also it can harm our skin if we’re exposed to the sun for too long. That’s why we must wear sunscreen lotion, to avoid sunburns.


To the lab…  
A simple experiment to see how sunscreen blocks UV rays.

  1. Take a white sheet of paper. Put it under UV light* and the paper becomes blue.
    Turn the light off, apply some sunscreen lotion on your fingertip (preferably of a high protection) and use it to make a simple drawing on the paper
    Then turn the UV light back on. The paper becomes blue again but your drawing has now turned black, because the sunscreen is blocking the UV rays!

*If you don’t have a UV torch you can create one by covering a torch (this can be your mobile phone torch) with 3 pieces of gift wrapping cellophane: 2 purple pieces and 1 blue.

  1. Warm Up
    Begin your session by inviting children into the space and proposing a simple name and movement game; in a circle ask the children to name their favourite animal and do a single move mimicking the animal. If you’re seated this can be an arm or a head movement  – you could also suggest that they can accompany the move with a sound or just do the sound alone. When everyone has shared a movement you could ask children if they can remember someone else’s dance move and get everyone to repeat.

  2.  Introduce the theme
    Introduce the butterfly as the theme of the podcast episode you are about to listen to and have a short discussion - for example: you might talk about whether they like butterflies or not, where they have ever seen one, either live or in a book/on tv. Get them to talk about their experience.

    Explain that you are going to join someone called Charlie on a trip to the zoo, during which they will learn about butterflies and then perform a dance inspired by that animal. It should be emphasised at the beginning that children are free to move however they want to. This is about freeing their imaginations; they can be as silly or as serious as they want – as long as they are safe. Ask children to find a space and then look around the room to notice all the obstacles or hard objects they might bump into if not careful, as well as all the other people in the room. Emphasise the need to be safe and look after each other.

    Remind the class that they can choose how to move – these can be tiny moves, or big moves. They may choose to do their dance sitting or want to move around the space. The important thing is for them to feel how they want to move in response to what Charlie is saying, the music and the sound effects.

  3. Play the podcast and dance
    The podcast episode moves into the dance activity after the zookeeper Q&A. Once Charlie invites you to move, signal to the children. Joining the children in moving and dancing can help build confidence, particularly if you are not afraid to be silly yourself. Showing how you interpret the invitation to move can help to encourage more hesitant children, but try not to lead the class in following you.

    You can also notice how some of the children are moving and encourage others to do the same, or build on and develop other options. You can repeat out loud some of the things Charlie says in the podcast to help guide the children’s movements. As Charlie does, keep the language you use open to different choices and possibilities – underling that there is no right or wrong way to respond. If a certain movement resonates particularly well with class, you can pause the podcast, elaborate a bit on that movement and then move on to the next thing.

  4. Discuss their experiences of dancing alongside Charlie
    The Audiomoves at the Zoo podcasts focus on the sensory, somatic experience of movement and dance. However, discussing children’s responses after the dance is a great way to prolong the experience; sharing the different ways in which they explored and played in the session and finding the rich vocabulary to express this.
    Noticing the relationship between the physical sensations children experienced and feelings and emotions can help children recognise and tune into how their body and mind are one.

Some suggested questions to guide your discussion:

  • What was their favourite movement and why?

  • How did that movement make them feel?

  • How was the experience of using their body parts in a totally different way than humans do? 

  • What was it like to imagine having body parts that humans don’t have, like wings, antennae or 6 legs?

  • How different would the world around them look and feel if they were a butterfly? Seeing the world from up high must change things a great deal!

  • Which of the butterfly’s qualities (for example wings, UV vision) do they wish they had, and how would they use it in their everyday life?

You can ask the children to share how they would move in this case and things they would do. You can further suggest that everyone in the class try out these moves, and then try out different and/or contrasting ways that others would do the same thing. For instance one might choose flying to have a nice view from up in the sky and another to avoid traffic? 

Movement Verb list
Stretch out
Coil / uncoil
Curl up

Arts Council EnglandLondon Zoo, a ZSL conservation zoo