A Zoo in the Classroom!

I am forever promoting the app "Apps Gone Free," the daily feed of apps that for a limited time only, are free. The aim for the developers is that it draws people in to try the app with the view to build a bigger fan base.

When you are working within a tight budget in schools, trying to find the best free apps to keep the cost of the iPads down means that this app is crucial in providing some amazingly useful apps. Today (19th August) I have found a gem, an app that would really inspire and ignite the children's imaginations and link really well to a lot of cross curricular activities. Now I don't know how long this app will stay free however even at £1.99 is seems a bargain!

Pocket Zoo is a virtual zoo which links to live webcams from Zoos all around the world. Children are able to browse the virtual zoo, click on different animals and either look at pictures, listen to sounds, read information or watch a live feed from a Zoo around the world. Logging it at right time and you may see the animals being fed or being cleaned or just interacting with other animals in the habitat. What it does provide is the chance for children to see these animals right from the classroom, opening up a whole world of opportunity!
Just from having a play with this app it has given me so many ideas about how I can use this is class, here are a few suggestions- 

  • Literacy
  • Write a description of an animal - use the picture to describe how the animals looks, the noise to describe the sound and the live camera feed to describe the way the animals moves around the enclosure.
  • Write a recount of visiting the zoo, What were you looking forward to? Why? What animals did you see? What were they doing? 
  • Write an persuasive advert for the Zoo, what are the main attractions? Introduce alliteration for different parts of the zoo, include testimonials or even create a TV advert.
  • Write a discussion text for and against zoos. Should we have them? Why? What are the reasons for keeping animals in captivity? What are the reasons for keeping animals in the wild? 
  • Use Greenscreen to create a news report on a particular animals, children can share facts and information they have learnt from using the app.
  • Write a letter from an animal in captivity to a relative in the wild. Compare life in the Zoo to life in the animal's natural habitat.
  • Put the list of animals in alphabetical order.
  • Choose an animal and write a non chronological report using information, pictures and watching the animals interact in the zoo. 
  • Use the book "Zoo" by Anthony Browne as a linked guided reading book.
  • Use the app Tap Zoo to let the children create their own zoo, ask them to write instructions for how to create a zoo.
  • Use this clip from YouTube for children to create their own scripts for clips they can download for other similar videos.
  • Write a story similar to the film Madagascar about a group of animals escaping the Zoo. Try to fit characteristics to certain animals, discuss these with the children based on the appearance and the way they interact with each other.
  • Children could create a variety of poems based on different animals - Acrostic, shape, Haiku, limericks, Kennings to name but a few.
  • Follow @AnimalEdits on Twitter. Use some of the pictures to create a fact file about a new hybrid animals. Design a new enclosure at the zoo for that animal.
  • Work on a budget. As a class think of all the income and outgoings a Zoo may need. Ask the children to create a ticket price that would make sure that the monthly outgoings would be covered. Download an example here.
  • Give the children a piece of squared paper. Ask them to make a 25cm x 25cm square. Ask them to then design a layout for a zoo, with a list of animals and the size of their enclosures. See who can fit in the most animals while keeping a path for visitors to walk around the zoo.
  • Look at a local Zoo's website, look at the prices and create some word problems about different people and families visiting the zoo. 
  • Compare and contrast the different enclosures of particular animals. Why are they designed that way? How are certain animals adapted to their environment? 
  • Create a fact poster for a particular animal.
  • Compare and contrast different animals and discuss why they are designed to survive in different environments. 
  • Use the live web cams from the different zoos to introduce different time zones around the world. Show how in a Zoo in Austrailia it is night time during our day.
  • For other similar activities - CLICK HERE
  • Give the children a blank work map and use the app Globe to locate all the Zoos that are featured on the app.
  • Use the fact sheets to find where in the world different animals naturally live.
Other Curriculum areas
  • Children can look into the history of Zoos and create a report about how Zoos have changed from then to now.
  • Children can draw pictures of different animals or even create a collage of pictures.
If you have any other suggestions please add a comment and I will update this post. 


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