Lesson Plans

These packs are companions to the Audiomoves at the Zoo podcast recordings. Read an overview of how to use these packs here.

Activity 1:
The Podcast (zookeeper Q&A)
  1. Introduction
    Introduce the animal and let the children know they are about to listen to an interview with a zookeeper from Whipsnade Zoo.
  2. Play the podcast Q&A (time code: 00:00 - 09:14).
  3. Once the Q&A has finished (09:14), press pause.
  4. Discussion
    Ask the children what their favourite fact from the interview was.
Activity 2:
Word Search/Terminology

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

  • Limb: an arm or leg of a person or four-legged animal, or a bird's wing.
  • Buoyant: able to keep afloat or rise to the top of water or any liquid
  • Distribute: give a share or of something to each of a number of recipients
  • Digestive system: a network of organs that help you digest and absorb nutrition from your food and use for energy, growth, and cell repair. Some of the organs that make up the digestive system are the mouth, the throat, the stomach and the intestines.
  • Nutrients: anything that nourishes/feeds a living being. Humans and animals get our nutrients from what they eat and plants get theirs from the soil.
Activity 3:
Imagination and Conversation
  1. Discuss the characteristics and qualities of the elephant. Conclude as to what the quintessential attributes of the elephant are, which characteristic makes them unique (size, strength, agile trunk, big ears?).
  2. Invite the children to think of the elephant as a superhero having that characteristic as its super power. Discuss how they could save the planet using their super power? (for example, if having a long agile trunk is their power, could they use it as a hose to put out fires? 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.
Activity 1:
The Podcast (zookeeper Q&A)
  1. Introduction
    Introduce the animal and let the children know they are about to listen to an interview with a zookeeper from Whipsnade Zoo.
  2. Play the podcast Q&A (time code: 00:00 - 09:14).
  3. Once the Q&A has finished (09:14), press pause.
  4. Discussion
    Ask the children what their favourite fact from the interview was.
Activity 2:

Habitats are places where animals and plants live. Ask the group what makes a good habitat for humans? What do they need to be comfortable and happy? The main components of a habitat are shelter, water, food, and space. For some animals, socialisation and play are also important. Ask the children to apply this same thinking to the elephant, what do they need in their habitat?


Check out this habitat worksheet from ZSL, discuss and draw the animals that you might find in these habitats.

ZSL Habitat Worksheet

Activity 3:


The old saying goes ‘An elephant never forgets’ and, though a bit exaggerated, it is more true than not. Elephants have a massive memory to go along with their massive size. Elephants use their 5 kg brains to store necessary identification and survival information to keep their herd safe in the wild!

Check out the video below to learn more, if you’re teaching younger children and want to avoid more complex terminology, we advise watching up until 01:59.

But what exactly is memory? And how does it work?

Memory is the process of taking in information from the world around us, processing it, storing it and later recalling that information, sometimes many years later.

Memory is essential to all our lives. Without a memory of the past, we cannot operate in the present or think about the future. We would not be able to remember what we did yesterday, what we have done today, or what we plan to do tomorrow. Without memory, we could not learn anything

Activity: Visual memory

  1. On a table place 10 or 20 objects (things you can find in the classroom).
  2. Ask children to memorise them for 1 minute.
  3. Then ask them to turn their backs, and without them seeing you, take out one or more of the objects and hide them.
  4. Tell them to face the table again and find what’s missing

Activity: Acoustic memory

  1. In a circle, choose a word theme, for example colours or numbers or fruit.
  2. Ask children to memorise them for 1 minute.
  3. One person starts by saying one word. The next person then repeats that word and adds another. The next person then repeats the previous two words and adds a third, and so on and so forth.
  4. If someone makes a mistake, start over. Can you get to the end of the circle?
Activity 1:
Listening and moving to the podcast (KS1 & 2)
  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 elephant 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 elephants 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 elephants 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:

  • 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 large floppy ears, a very long trunk or a tail?
  • How different would the world around them look and feel if they were an elephant? Having such a massive and strong body must change things a great deal!
  • Which of the elephant’s qualities (an excellent sense of smell, or mighty strength) 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 having a long trunk to use it as a hose and another to use it as a snorkel when swimming?

Movement Verb list:

  • Walk
  • Run
  • Stand
  • Balance
  • Sway
  • Flap
  • Swim
  • Graze
  • Lay down
  • Sleep
  • Snore
Arts Council EnglandLondon Zoo, a ZSL conservation zoo