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 - 07:55).
  3. Once the Q&A has finished (07:55), 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 Vicky

  • Energy: is the strength and vitality required for sustained physical or mental activity. Energy means we are able to do things. In other words, everything that can do work has energy. In the case of energy, doing work is also known as causing or making change. Energy makes things move. It makes machines go. Energy also makes living things grow. Energy is either transformed or transferred every time something is being done.
  • Wade: walk with effort through water or another liquid or thick substance.
  • Webbed: the foot of a swimming bird or other aquatic animal having the toes connected by a membrane/skin (webbing). That membrane helps moving in water. 
  • Extract: remove or take out, especially by effort or force
  • Carotenoid: Carotenoids are pigments, which means natural colouring matter,  in plants, algae and animals. These pigments produce the bright yellow, red, and orange colours in plants, vegetables and fruit
  1. Discuss the characteristics and qualities of the flamingo. Conclude as to what the quintessential attributes of the flamingo are, which characteristic makes them unique  (pink plumage, long legs, long neck etc). 

  2. Invite the children to think of the flamingo 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 long legs is their strength could they use it to …..? Let your imagination run wild!).

  3. Ask children to make a drawing of 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 - 07:55).
  3. Once the Q&A has finished (07:55), press pause.
  4. Discussion
    Ask the children what their favourite fact from the interview was.

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 flamingo, 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.

Activity 3:
Classifying Animals


Flamingo’s are birds…can you identify which groups the following animals belong to? Download the ZSL Animal Groups Worksheet


Animals can be grouped in lots of different ways. Check out this ZSL Classifying Animals Worksheet, and see if you can identify which animals belong to which group. 

Activity 4:


Prep: For this lesson you will need a piece of masking tape or any tape you can stick to the floor to create a straight line. You can even draw a line with some chalk. You will also need an object to be used as a pivot; this can be a toy, a school bag, a ball or any object of similar size.

We said that flamingos can balance on one leg for long periods of time — even long enough to fall asleep. 

Watch this video and spot the flamingos balancing, particularly those who are in the water!

Oh! And check out this flamingo chick learning how to balance.


But what does balance mean? What is the science behind it?

Balance is one of the most important basic skills for humans and animals. Being “on balance” means having an even distribution of weight on each side of the body from head to toes. There are two types of balance: 

  1. Static balance is the ability to maintain control of a position while not moving, like balancing on one leg or freezing in a shape like a statue.

  2. Dynamic balance is the ability to maintain balance and control of the body while moving, like hopping, jumping, throwing or riding a bike.

As weird as it may sound it's our ears that help us balance. The nerves that control our movement and balance are located in the inner ear, the part of the ear that’s in our skull, directly behind the visible external ear. These nerves tell our brains  what direction we are moving in, whether our head is up, down or turned to the side, and help our body stay upright against gravity. 

But how does this work?
Inside the inner ear there are three semicircular canals, three tubes in the shape of a loop, filled with fluid/liquid. Each of the semicircular canals end in a space that has small cells, looking like hair, in it. The fluid in these tubes moves with the slightest head movement and makes the tiny hair sway in different directions, a bit like algae in the sea. Each of the three semicircular canals is responsible for a specific direction of head movement: 

  • one responds to the head tilting upwards or downwards
  • one responds to tilting to the right or to the left
  • one to turning sideways

When the hair cells in the semicircular canals move, they send signals to the brain informing which direction our head has just moved in.The brain processes this information,  and then sends on to other organs ( eyes, joints ,muscles) the information that they need to control balance, movement and coordination. This allows us to keep our balance and know what position our body is in.

Sometimes the liquid in your semicircular canals keeps moving after you have stopped moving, for example, after spinning  around for too long. That is why you might feel dizzy; your brain is getting two different messages and is confused about the position of your head. Once the fluid in the semicircular canals stops moving, your brain gets the right message and you regain your balance.


Activity A: 
Try this fun and easy physical science experiment, to explore some baffling aspects of balance! 

  1. Stand with both feet together in the middle of a room.
  2. Now try to balance for 30 seconds.
  3. Next, close your eyes for thirty seconds and attempt to balance.
  4. Discuss if it was harder or easier with eyes shut

Repeat the same experiment but standing on one leg and trying to keep your balance for 15 seconds and notice the difference again. 

Here is an accessible alternative if you prefer to do the activity seated.

  1. Hold a relatively flat object like a book, or a cushion, with your elbow bent  in front of you, as if you were carrying a tray sort of chest level.
  2. Try to balance the object  for 30 seconds.
  3. Next, close your eyes for thirty seconds and attempt to balance.
  4. Discuss if it was harder or easier with eyes shut

Repeat the same experiment but extend your arm (elbow still bent) to the side of your body, as far out of the body as you can and try to keep the object balanced for 15 seconds and notice the difference again. 

Closing eyes affects our balance because our eyes act as a complimentary source of information that allows us to find and keep our balance. By closing our eyes, we shut off this stream of information making it more difficult to remain balanced!


Activity B: 

  1. Place a length of tape (masking or any other type)  down on the floor , in a straight line.
  2. Ask a child to walk on the straight line one foot after the other.
  3. Next place a pivot (a toy / ball / school bag) at the start point  of the tape. 
  4. Ask the same child to spin as fast as they can around the pivot around 15 / 20 times and then walk on the straight line. 

Here is an accessible alternative if you’d prefer to do this activity seated.

  1. Ask children to balance a pencil on their finger, horizontally.
  2. Then ask them to close their eyes and circle the head gently in one direction 15 / 20 times and then try to balance the pencil again on their finger.
  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 flamingo 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 flamingos 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 flamingos 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, very long legs or neck?

  • How different would the world around them look and feel if they were a flamingo? Being able to stand on one leg for that long or eat with your head  upside down must change things a great deal!

  • Which of the flamingo’s qualities (for example good balance or pink feathers) 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 tries 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 pink plumage simply because they like the colour and another to be more visible when cycling?

Movement Verb list 

  • Stand
  • Balance
  • Walk 
  • Glide
  • Wade
  • Fly
  • Sleep
  • Tuck
  • Sway
  • Extend
Arts Council EnglandLondon Zoo, a ZSL conservation zoo