To Meat or not to Meat

Outdoor activities are a great way to motivate children to participate. They are also a great way to let children make as much noise as they like without disturbing the class next door. After all, there are no walls or ceilings outdoors! The children enjoyed the activity outside and recorded their findings by making little flip books (see photos).

Pig fact cardThis activity is suitable for year 1 children and is a good opportunity to get the children working together - with more able readers supporting other children when reading the clues on the animal fact cards. It also provides good cross-curricular links with maths.

National curriculum LO: “Identify and name a variety of common animals that are carnivores, herbivores and omnivores.”
Working scientifically: Identifying and classifying. Gather and record data to help answer questions.

What will you need?              
  • Large outdoor area to enable you to draw a large Venn diagram.

  • Chalk.         

  • Animal fact cards- see photos.  Labels for the Venn diagram.

  • Animals masks - optional.

  • 2 sports hoops, pictures of animals or toy animals.

  • Card for use in making flip books.

Length of activity:

The sorting part of the activity will take about 40 minutes. If you want to follow up with the writing and making little flip information books you will be looking at about an hour in total.
Try and ensure the children are doing this activity in some shade.

Step 1.

Ask a support member of staff to chalk a large Venn diagram on the playground or yard. Alternatively, you could do it before the start of the lesson. Before you go outside explain to the children that you are going to sort animals into carnivores, herbivores and omnivores. Use the hoops to reinforce the way the Venn diagram works and explain that you are going to do it on a larger scale. You could also do a quick recap on what animals belong to which group.Animal Fact Cards

Step 2.

When outside point out the large Venn diagram to the children and explain that they are going to sort the animals into carnivores, herbivores and omnivores by reading some facts about them.

Step 3.

Put the children into groups or pairs A child then puts the correct animal mask on (if you decide to use them) and sits in the correct position on the Venn diagram.depending on how you want to organise your class. The children are then to read the information on the cards and decide what group they belong to. Discuss with the group if their choice is correct. A child then puts the correct animal mask on (if you decide to use them) and sits in the correct position on the Venn diagram.

Step 4.

Recap children’s understanding by ensuring that all the animals have been placed in the correct section of the Venn diagram. Return to the classroom if required or complete the session outside if you have the appropriate resources.

Herbivore or carnivore?Step 5.

The children choose an animal for themselves and write what group they belong to, as well as an explanation as to why that is the case. They then stick the folded piece of card onto the bottom of the animal mask so it can stand up. Finally, the children read their books to the rest of the class.


By Sue Evans, Science Coordinator at Phoenix Primary


lesson, lessons, Science, Science and Technology, Switched on Science

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