Animals in the Archives

Lesson at a glance

Suitable for: Key stage 2

Time period: Second World War 1939-1945

Curriculum topics: The Second World War

Suggested inquiry questions: What jobs have animals done in times of war and peace?

Potential activities: Follow the activities in the videos. Design a medal for animals. Write a story, newspaper article or radio or TV news report about awarding the medal.

What jobs have animals done in times of war and peace?

You’ve all heard about the Rat, but what other Animals are there in the Archives? In this episode we will be finding out how a range of animals have helped people with a variety of jobs in the past, some of which still exist today.


Tasks

Part One

We’re mixing it up this week with a timed challenge – let’s see how good your observation skills are!

Now you are all warmed up, it’s time for the mystery document. What animal can you see, what else is going on in this document?

Part Two

Using all the evidence you have collected from the document have a go at making some suggestions about the following questions:

  • What type of document it is?
  • What was it used for?
  • How old is it?

Part Three

The big reveal! Let’s see what this document is all about….

Additional documents to investigate

  • COAL 80/2060(27)
  • COPY 1/369

Further Activities

32 pigeons were awarded medals for their service during the Second World War! Design your own version of the medal, you could draw or make one out of cardboard or even modelling clay.

You could create a story to go with the medal including the name of the pigeon. What heroic act did they do? It could be presented as a newspaper article or recorded as a radio or TV news report.



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Lesson at a glance

Suitable for: Key stage 2

Time period: Second World War 1939-1945

Curriculum topics: The Second World War

Suggested inquiry questions: What jobs have animals done in times of war and peace?

Potential activities: Follow the activities in the videos. Design a medal for animals. Write a story, newspaper article or radio or TV news report about awarding the medal.

Related resources

Gordon Ford’s story

What was it like to be an airman in World War Two?

Evacuation to Shropshire

What was it like in the Second World War?