This session is suitable for Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 pupils.

Understand the requirements of survival, food chains and observe real habitats on the nature trail. 

Which season is best for this activity?

This activity can be done at any time of the year, demonstrating different requirement for each season. The session is held outdoors; suitable clothing is required in the winter months. We only work indoors if the weather is exceptionally bad.

Learning objectives and links to the national curriculum of study

The contents of this activity should involve pupils in using the following practical scientific methods, processes or skills

  • Asking questions and using their observations and ideas to suggest answers to questions.
  • Identifying and classifying.
  • Gathering and recording data.

All our sessions are underpinned by detailed lesson plans. These plans are adjusted to take account of the variations in ability and skill level at Key Stage 2.

The session links directly to these National Curriculum Science Programmes of Study for Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2:

  • Animals including humans; 
  • Living Things and their Habits.

Outline of the Activity

We begin with an introductory discussion about what a habitat is and what animals need to survive. We look at the homes on display in the classroom – including examples of man-made habitats. We include basic life cycles of birds/insects in relation to examples of homes.

Discuss food chains – using graphic illustration of producers/consumers. We play a “Food Chain Game” on the outside lawn, encouraging pupils to form food chains and explain their conclusions.
Divided into three groups, the pupils carry out three practical tasks on the Nature Trail.
Looking for invertebrates under logs – gathering and recording data relating to what they find.
Using a map of the Nature Trail, finding, observing and recording animal habitats.
Constructing homes, explaining adaptation and suitability of habitat for their chosen animal, or play Camouflage game using artificial creatures to demonstrate survival from prey.
In the event of extreme weather conditions, we have a variety of indoor activities, including a digital microscope where invertebrates can be more closely examined.

Ideas for pre-visit learning

Before bringing a group to do this activity, here are a few ideas to help to introduce the subject:

  • Which animals might make their homes in Richmond Park?
  • Can the children find animal homes in their own gardens? Which animals?
  • Where would wild creatures obtain their water supply?
  • What would be the main source of food for small mammals in a suburban environment?

Ideas for follow-up work back at school

  • Draw up a record sheet for invertebrates found on the day.
  • Make up their own food-chains.
  • Create a hibernaculum/bird nesting box/bat box in school grounds.