18th March 2011 at 00:00


The circle of life

A feast of food chain fodder

Animals and plants need each other to survive. A simple enough premise, but how can the web of life be taught? From PowerPoints to introduce the key terms and diagrams, to ideas for practical lessons, to homework sheets to revise the learning, this collection includes all the resources you will need on food chains.

An interactive resource can be used to help pupils construct their own food chains, complete with pictures, labels and text explanation. It comes with word and image banks and is aimed at key stage 2 pupils (uploaded by PurpleMash.com2simple). A resource on a woodland habitat is one of a set of interactive explanation books put together by TESiboard.

A PowerPoint looks at creatures in their environment, how they depend on each other and how they contribute to the ecology of the earth, and can be used to stimulate discussion and questions (Lamentations).

Two resources from NGfLCymru are particularly useful. One is an interactive resource designed to extend pupils' knowledge of feeding relationships and includes a link to a revision video. It also challenges pupils to produce their own food web, based on a tropical rainforest ecosystem. The second resource is designed as an introduction for KS2 pupils, who work interactively through a series of food chains to identify the correct order.


Working wonders

Tried and tested practicals

This is a collection of ideas for practical design and technology lessons, to teach about design, processes and materials.

Resources on mechanisms and movement include a Teachers TV video showing Year 1 pupils learning about the principles and processes of moving pictures, using the story Handa's Surprise as inspiration.

An adaptable booklet aimed at Year 5 pupils looks at making moving toys using a cam mechanism, where rotary motion is converted into linear motion, or vice versa (uploaded by hellcorner). Cam mechanisms are also used in one of two activities contributed by the Nuffield Foundation. In one, aimed at Year 5, pupils are asked to make an animal with a moving mouth. The foundation's other resource in this collection looks at making pop-up books and is aimed at Year 4.

The Hamilton Trust has uploaded a lesson on how to make a shekere, a West African instrument, using a plastic container and beads. The collection also features ideas and plans for making instruments, where pupils are asked to look at the properties of different materials to understand how the sound is made (hellcorner).

Sewing resources include an activity where pupils design and make their own bean bag (leannegwilliam) and an easy-to-follow guide to create simple hand-embroidery stitches (hrawlins).


How the war was won

Rich materials on the Second World War

Using rich resources that encourage children's empathy skills can make all the difference in teaching about the Second World War. This collection has detailed lesson plans, sources of information, emotive images, audio interviews, film footage and display materials.

DavidHowes1977 has shared his detailed plans for key stage 2, together with a range of supporting resources, including an introductory lesson on the build-up to war featuring a comprehensive timeline, lessons on air raids, evacuees, rationing and the role of women. The resources are supported by links to audio files.

The home front is also covered in a medium-term plan uploaded by rbinnie1, which looks at what life was like for children during the war. Martinelangridge has supplied a document for the interactive whiteboard on presenting a drama on evacuation, while Faye-Marie has provided a PowerPoint on evacuees aimed at Year 5.

Another activity explores the events at Dunkirk by comparing a holiday beach scene with the war zone, complete with worksheets (FranklinWatts) and a set of fact sheets about D-Day that can be used to link literacy and history (TLChen).

A PowerPoint uploaded by ReissyT provides an introduction to the leaders and countries involved in the conflict, including maps and images, while gloverjess123 has provided a document of interesting facts about Adolf Hitler, including information on his family life and schooling.


Historic day for primary sector

Primary education is the focus of the Historical Association's annual conference in Manchester on May 13 and 14. For details, go to

Latin choir aid

Sing Up, the national singing campaign, has produced a resource to help choirs sing in Latin. Sing a New Song features work by contemporary composers, complete with a pronunciation guide, and is available from

Posts on bullying

Anti-bullying charity Kidscape has launched a website where people can share their experiences. The Share It site asks visitors to create postcards to get across their message about bullying, with the cards then posted online for other site users to see.

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