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Lesson objective

Australia is a world leader in euthanising companion animals. The key to reducing our nation’s kill rate is through encouraging commitment to responsible pet adoption and ownership. This lesson focus on equipping students with the confidence to lead others in making important changes towards a more humane society.

Year Level: Years 4 | Duration: 50-60 minutes | Revised 24 March 2014 

Subject area: ENGLISH

Learning areas (ACARA National Curriculum):

  • ACELY1694 – Plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative and persuasive texts containing key information and supporting details for a widening range of audiences, demonstrating increasing control over text structures and language features.
  • ACELA1498 – Incorporate new vocabulary from a range of source into the students’ own texts including vocabulary encountered in research.

Secondary subject area: SCIENCE

Learning areas (ACARA National Curriculum):

  • ACSSU072 – Living things have life cycles.

Brief lesson outline:

In this lesson, students will discuss why they think so many cats and dogs are abandoned in Australia. As a class, students will brainstorm ideas on how we can reduce the number of cats and dogs who are left homeless every year. Students will then be asked to imagine living in a place called Whiskers Road, where there is a small colony of roaming stray cats. The residents of Whiskers Road are known for owning undesexed cats who are breeding and producing homeless kittens. The council pound has been given orders to collect the unwanted cats and permanently remove them. Students will be asked to write a petition to their neighbours to try and encourage them to desex their pets and save the Whiskers Road Cats.

Accompanying resources/learning materials:

Prior Knowledge:

None

Learning outcomes:

  • Students will learn the responsibilities involved in owning a pet and appreciate the importance of practicing responsible pet ownership
  • Students will learn to convey messages and information clearly and effectively through language
  • Students will understand the power they have to initiate important changes in their societies

Procedure (key terms are highlighted in bold)

1. INTRODUCTION (30 minutes)

1.1 As a class, discuss some reasons why so many cats and dogs are homeless in Australia. Reasons may include: families moving to a smaller house and getting rid of their pets, pet owners not desexing their pets and letting them breed and have unwanted babies, breeders breeding too many dogs and cats while many animals are already waiting for homes in pounds and animal shelters etc. 

1.2 Discuss why it’s a problem that we have so many homeless animals in Australia. Reasons may include: domestic animals can’t survive very well on their own, pounds and animals shelters get overcrowded and sometimes euthanise (or “put down”) many animals every year, even when they are healthy and affectionate etc.

1.3 Brainstorm on the board some way we could reduce the number of stray cats and dogs in Australia. Answers should include: desexing our pets, desexing stray animals who live on the streets to stop them from breeding, adopting pets only from pounds and animal shelters.

2. BODY (20 minutes)

2.1 Ask students to look at their worksheet and imagine living on Whiskers Road, where there is a small colony of stray cats roaming freely. Students will write a letter to their neighbours suggesting ways they could all save the cats of Whiskers Road.

3. CONCLUSION/REFLECTION (10 minutes), Optional

3.1 Ask which students would like to share their letter with the class.

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