Why do animals suffer in zoos?

OverviewThe children will be made aware of what it means for animals to be caged for life. They should learn to value life in freedom and to develop empathy for wild animals.
Learning objectives● Gain awareness for life in captivity ● Develop appreciation for life in freedom ● Empathy for animals
Skills developed● Change of perspective ● Critical attitude towards zoos, circuses, animal parks, etc. ● Finding alternatives
MethodGuided classroom discussion
MaterialsMusic player, ropes, blackboard or poster, text, gap text
Step 1: Entry point
A circular area is marked on the floor with ropes. The children are inside this area. The facilitator plays music and the children are allowed to move to the music freely  within this area. The facilitator stops the music in between and lets the area become smaller and smaller with each stop. The children are not allowed to continue dancing until the music starts again. During the breaks they freeze. The ropes are pulled tighter.
Reflection on the blackboard (children aged 6 to 7): The children discuss what they felt and thought as the area became smaller and smaller.
Reflection on the blackboard (children aged 8 to 9): The children write on the blackboard or on a white poster what they felt and thought when the area became smaller and smaller. The children give reasons and elaborate on the keywords.
Step 2: Determining the topic of the lesson
Children should imagine the following scenario: from now on they have to live in this small area forever. Twice a day someone comes and brings them food. Every day visitors come to see the children and leave after a while. Would they like this life? The children discuss on the blackboard. The facilitator asks if the children can think of places where living creatures must live just like this. Expected answers: zoos, animal parks, dolphinariums etc. Determining the topic of the lesson: Why do animals suffer in zoos?
Step 3: Elaboration
Children aged 6 to 7: Read the text "Animals in the zoo? No, thank you!"  (see additional material) to the children.
Alternative 1: Record yourself reading the text and have the children listen to it.
Alternative 2: The children do partner work with the person sitting next to them and read the text aloud to each other.
Consolidation of the listening text content with the help of the gap text. The answers are already written down on colored pieces of paper. The children put the pieces of paper into the corresponding gaps. The correct solution is placed at the front of the facilitator's desk so that the children can correct themselves. The colours should help the children to immediately recognize if their solution is correct. IMPORTANT: Go through the gap text briefly with the children beforehand.
Children aged 8 to 9: Children read the text "Animals in the zoo? No, thank you!" in individual or partner work. They mark important parts of the text and/or take notes.
Consolidation of the text content through gap text, also in individual or partner work.
Reflection in the blackboard cinema: Would you still visit the zoo? Alternatives?
TipsAdditional materialsHow to apply online?What to do at home?
What you need to know about the topic before you start:
Distance learning alternatives (classroom discussions and reflections on Zoom or similar):
● Fantasy journey (see additional material) instead of stop dance
● Breakout sessions in Zoom for partner work with listening to the text
● informational text and gap text must be made available digitally (on learning platform, GoogleDrive or similar)
Blackboard cinema: Children sit in two to three rows in front of the blackboard on the floor. In this way, class discussions can be visually supported by pictures or bullet points on the board.
AuthorKatrin Christl, Jennifer Skurka

Additional material Why…zoos

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