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 - 07:02).
  3. Once the Q&A has finished (07:02), 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 Joe

  • Diurnal: relating to, or happening during daytime or recurring every day. Animals are split into:
    - Diurnal, who are active during the daytime
    - Nocturnal, who are active during the nighttime
    - Crepuscular, who are active  in twilight
  • Recalled trained: is an animal that is trained to listen to and respond to calling out their name
  • Terrestrial: on or relating to the earth. Terrestrial animal is an animal that lives on the land
  • Propel: drive or push something forward or onward
  • Counterbalance: a weight that balances another weight
  1. Discuss the characteristics and qualities of the Komodo dragon. Conclude as to what the quintessential attributes of the Komodo dragon are, which characteristic makes them unique (sense of smell, claws, strength?).
  2. Invite the children to think of the Komodo dragon as a superhero having that characteristic as its super power. Discuss how they could save the planet using their super power? (for example, if smell is their strength could they use it to help the FBI in an investigation? Or to smell a gas leak miles away and prevent an explosion. 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 - 07:02).
  3. Once the Q&A has finished (07:02), 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 Komodo dragon, what do they need in their habitat?



Komodo dragons are large lizards, which are classified as reptiles…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. 


Prep: For these activities you will need 

  • 3 or 4 objects with pungent smells. Some examples include: pickles, shampoo or toothpaste, orange peel, bananas, coffee grounds
  • 6 or 8 Jars, glasses, or plastic cups  (double the number of objects above)
  • 1 Blindfold or scarf
  • Cling film and a pencil

Joe said that Komodo dragons have an excellent sense of smell. But how does smell work exactly? Why can we smell? What is the science behind it ?

The sense of smell, or olfaction, is the special sense through which smells (or odours) are perceived. The sense of smell has many functions, including detecting desirable foods, hazards, and pheromones. Smelling is the act of detecting chemical molecules/particles  (= minute portion of matter, the tiniest possible amount, that is invisible to the eye) in the air. The small particles get into your nose through the nostrils and there they get picked up by a sensitive nerve called the olfactory nerve (smelling nerve). That nerve sends a signal to your brain, telling it what kind of smell it is. Small differences in olfactory nerve are extremely common in humans, so what may smell good to one person need not be the same for another. Smell also plays an important role in taste. 

Exercise: Taste
This is a small experiment that you can try with children next time they have a meal or a snack. Suggest that they pinch their nose shut and then notice how deactivating the sense of smell changes their taste.

Exercise: Distance 
Joe from London Zoo said that Komodo dragons can smell very far away, up to 6 miles!  In class, taking your school as a base, can you work out a known landmark that indicates how far a Komodo dragon can smell? You can do this together as a class, with children guessing a landmark, using Google Maps:

  1. Open Google Maps.
  2. Right click on your starting point (your school address)
  3. Select: Measure distance.
  4. To create a path to measure, click anywhere on the map. To add another point, click anywhere on the map.
  5. At the bottom, you can find the total distance in miles (mi) and kilometres (km).
  6. You can also complete this task this using a map and ruler, or websites such as:

Exercise: Put your nose to the test !
The smell memory game
Take 6 or 8 small jars, glasses, or plastic cups and correspondingly 3 or 4 objects with pungent smells. Some examples include: pickles, shampoo or toothpaste, orange peel, bananas, coffee grounds. Without the kids watching, place the jars in two rows. In the first row, add one object to each jar. Repeat the same with the jars in the second row. 
Cover each jar with cling film and puncture a few holes with a pencil. Mix up all the jars so that you don’t know which is which.
Blindfold a player and ask them to smell each jar while blindfolded and then match the two jars that have the same smell.
When they find a match, set the 2 jars  aside until they have matched all the smells!

  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 Komodo dragon 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 Komodo dragons 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 Komodo dragons 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 a very long tongue, claws or a tail?
  • How different would the world around them look and feel if they were a Komodo dragon?  Having such an acute sense of smell must change things a great deal!
  • Which of the Komodo Dragon’s qualities (for example, a long tongue, great sense of smell, or sharp claws) do they wish they had, and how would they use it in their everyday life?
    You can ask 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 their sence of smell to be able to solve crimes, another to make perfume.

Movement Verb list 

  • Run
  • Climb
  • Swim
  • Fight
  • Sway
  • Wag
  • Whip
  • Wiggle
  • Smell
  • Stretch
Arts Council EnglandLondon Zoo, a ZSL conservation zoo