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 - 09:32).
  3. Once the Q&A has finished (09:32), 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 Jess

  • Porpoise: (of penguins) when penguins swim underwater, they jump out of the water about every 50-100m and fly through the air for a second or two, then diving back again, this behavior calls “porpoising”. Penguins porpoise to breath while maintaining the high forward speed, to get away from predators, or to take a look at their surroundings
  • Sprat: a small salt water fish of the herring family
  • Flippers: a broad flat limb without fingers, used for swimming by various sea animals such as penguins, seals, whales, and turtles.
  • Monogamous: a person or animal who pairs up for life, has only one mate
  • Regulate: to control something (an activity, a function, a machine) in order for it to work properly
  • Webbing: a membrane / skin that connects some aquatic animals’ toes and helps them move in water. 
  • Carnivore: an animal that feeds on flesh/meat, eating other animals.
  1. Discuss the characteristics and qualities of the penguin. Conclude as to what the quintessential attributes of the penguin are, which characteristic makes them unique (flippers, diving, feathers?).
  2. Invite the children to think of the penguin as a superhero having that characteristic as its super power. Discuss how they could save the planet using their super power? (for example, if diving is their strength could they use it to save lives or conduct research? 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 - 09:32).
  3. Once the Q&A has finished (09:32), 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 penguin, 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.



Even though penguins can’t fly, they are classified as birds because they have feathers, lay eggs and are warm-blooded. 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.



Jess said that penguins are amazing divers; they have extra air sacs around their lungs, which allow them to hold their breath underwater much longer than humans do. But how do our lungs function ? How do we breathe ?

The respiratory system is our breathing mechanism. All animals need a steady supply of oxygen in order to live. Oxygen is a gas found in air. It helps turn food into energy. This process creates another gas—carbon dioxide. Because carbon dioxide is a waste product, it must be removed from the body. The respiratory system is the body’s way of breathing in (inhaling) oxygen and breathing out (exhaling) carbon dioxide. The Respiratory System consists mainly of  the following organs:

  • Nose

  • Nasal cavity (nasal cavity, a hollow space behind the nose)

  • Mouth

  • Throat (pharynx)

  • Voice box (larynx)

  • Windpipe (trachea) 

  • Airways (bronchi)

  • Lungs

Respiration is an involuntary, automatic process; that means that we do not have to think of  or try for it in order for it to happen. When you inhale air comes through your nose into the nasal cavity, where it gets moisten, heated and filtered to keep the dirt out. The air continues down the pharynx (throat), the larynx (voice box) and then the trachea (windpipe). The trachea splits into two bronchi (airways) that lead the air inside your lungs.  The lungs are the most important organ in respiration. They extract the valuable oxygen from the air and expel the harmful carbon dioxide. The oxygen then is sent from the lungs to the blood to be distributed to all the organs and cells of the body.  The diaphragm, which is a muscle located directly under your lungs. It moves up and down and makes the lungs expand to let the air in and the contract to push it again out. The air we exhale contains carbon dioxide and waste.

Here is a simple diagram of the human respiratory system and that of the penguin’s. Can you spot the 9 extra air sacs that give the penguin the capacity to store extra air?


Activity: Make a Model of Your Lungs

This is a DIY experiment to demonstrate how the lungs expand and contract!

You will need: a small plastic bottle with the bottom cut off,  2 round balloons, scissors and some tape (scotch, masking any tape).

  1. Take one balloon and stretch its neck around the neck of the bottle to cover the hole. With your finger push the body of the balloon inside the bottle until it unfolds completely. Make sure the bottle top is sealed air-tight by the balloon, if necessary reinforced with tape.
  2. Tie the neck of the other balloon in a knot and then cut off  half of the balloon’s body  horizontally. Stretch the balloon (with the knot) over the open bottle bottom, to air-tightly cover the opening, if necessary seal with tape. Don't worry if your bottle squishes a bit, it'll still work!
    The bottle represents the rib cage, the balloon inside the bottle represents the lung, and the rubber covering the bottom acts like the diaphragm.
  3. Pull the balloon knot outwards. What happens to the balloon inside the bottle?  (The balloon gets bigger).
  4. Let go of the knot, and then push it gently inwards.  What happens to the balloon? (The balloon gets smaller). 
  5. Invite children to place one hand on their diaphragm, directly under their ribs and the other hand on the side of the rib cage.
  6. Repeat stage 3 but this time breathe in at the same time – can you feel your ribs move out as your lungs expand and your diaphragm moves down?
  7. Repeat stage 4  and breathe out at the same time – can you feel your ribs move back in as your lungs contract and your diaphragm moves up? Can you feel that your diaphragm (the rubber) and lungs (balloon) behave in a similar way to the rubber and balloon.

Make a hiccup! Give the knot in the balloon a few quick tugs. Do you see the balloon in the bottle jump? That's what happens when you get the hiccups. When you hiccup, your diaphragm moves down quickly, which sucks air into your lungs – HIC!

  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 penguin 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 penguins 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 penguins 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 flippers, webbed feet or waterproof feathers?
  • How different would the world around them look and feel if they were a penguin?  Being able to swim that fast must change things a great deal!
  • Which of the penguin’s qualities (for example, diving deep or gliding on your belly) 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 diving as a hobby and another to become a marine biologist and explore the depths of the oceans?

Movement Verb list 

  • Swim
  • Float / bob
  • Dive
  • Glide
  • Waddle
  • Look around
  • Huddle
  • Porpoise
  • Eat
Arts Council EnglandLondon Zoo, a ZSL conservation zoo