Science KS2: The declining food supplies for South African penguins

Numbers of South African penguins have declined by 90%.

Over-fishing and climate change have caused their prey to moved hundreds of miles from their breeding colonies, too far for parents to hunt.

To help, local scientists have come up with a plan to create a new colony using fake model penguins to attract the real penguins to a new feeding ground.

This clip is from the BBC series, Blue Planet Live. Below are a few ideas to get you started with your class.

Where do penguins live?

This activity can be used to compare the different species of penguin and their habitat.

Learners will typically think that penguins only live in cold habitats.

They can use rich vocabulary to describe the difference in habitat between the African penguin and an Emperor penguin.

Why is penguin food important?

A food source has decreased for the penguins.

The learners should think about what this means for the penguin.

This introduces the ideas of food chains and also basic needs for life.

What are the characteristics of living things?

The decoy penguins look real and fool the other penguins.

The learners should explore what the characteristics are of the living penguin rather than the decoy to be introduced to the characteristics of living things.

What is the impact of overfishing?

The learners should be given group tasks with different roles to make cases for their position.

Why is fishing important for the local people? How does overfishing affect the penguins? Why is it important for the biologist to protect the penguins?

It is important for the learners to understand that there are different views on any one problem.

They should be encouraged to offer solutions in how human impact on the environment can be reduced.

What is climate change?

The learners should use secondary sources and be directed to news information about climate change and how this is being tackled.

Changes in the environment can be linked to the changes in food chains and how this influences other species.

Animal and plant adaptations to the environment should be considered by the learners and explored.

The ‘Big’ Questions (with opportunities for extended writing and discussion)

Does moving the penguins solve the problem of overfishing and climate change?

How much are you contributing…?

What is your carbon footprint and how can you help slow down climate change?

Curriculum Notes

Suitable for teaching Science at KS2 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and 2nd level in Scotland.

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