36. Zavodovski Island


Show the children a 10 minute clip from the BBC Planet Earth series 2, Episode 1, ‘Islands’, about the Chinstrap Penguins that live on Zavodovski Island in the South Atlantic. [Go from about 41 minutes into the programme.]

Ask the children for their reflections on such questions as:

  • Why do the penguins live there?
  • What are the benefits of living there? e.g. protection, few predators.
  • What are the challenges? e.g. treacherous sea, difficulty in obtaining food.

Draw up a list of pros and cons with regard to living on the island if you are a penguin.


Remembering the positive and negative things about Zavodovski Island, ask the children to consider where they live – their immediate environment. In a pair (or small group), ask them to draw or write a list of the positive things and challenging things about living where they do, e.g. near a park, good neighbours, beautiful environment or… busy traffic, no wildlife.

Ask them for their responses to such questions such as:

  • Are there always good things and bad things about where people and animals live?
  • Do the challenging things make the place so bad that you don’t want to live there?
  • Can you do anything about the bad things?

Obtain a copy of ‘Change the World for a Fiver’ (ISBN 1904095968 Short Books) and share some of the ideas in it, e.g., ‘Send a postcard to someone who’s inspired you’, ‘Plant your own Christmas Tree’, ‘Learn to be friendly in another language’. Alternatively, give these examples and ask children to come up with their own ideas about small things that could change the world (or perhaps another person’s or animal’s life) for the better.

If you have the book, ask the children for their responses to such questions as:

  • Have you done any of the things mentioned in the book?
  • Which action do you think is the best? Why?
  • How has an action in the book changed the world for the better?
  • Would any of the actions make the challenging things in your place mentioned in the previous activity better?
  • Can you think of any more actions that would make the world better?

Present the challenge of writing a new book, ‘Change the World for Free’. Consider together which actions might be put into this new book that might help turn the negative things in our environment into positive things or help grow the list of positive points? List these ideas.

Encourage the children to work in pairs to plan a page for the book – and then to illustrate it and write an action. Compile the book and share it with others.

Ask: Has it made a difference?


Tell the story of ‘The Boy and the Starfish’ (available online) about a boy who rescues starfish that are stranded on a beach by putting some back into the sea. Talk about his actions and ask the children to respond to questions such as:

  • Why is he doing this?
  • Does it make a difference? To whom?
  • What sort of person was the boy? Can you think of words to describe his actions?
  • What can people do to help persuade others to take generous and proactive actions such as his?

A printable (pdf) version of this session can be found here

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