Teaching sequence

Lesson objective

In this lesson students learn about the needs of animals, including air.


Display the class science journal page (from lesson 1) to remind students of their learning about the basic needs of living things. Tell students that they are going to view a video made by a young boy about his family’s chickens called The Brunswick Browns.

View the video and then discuss the needs of the chickens and how they also help with the family’s needs. Discuss what would happen to the chickens if the family didn’t meet their needs.

Explain that in this lesson they are going to learn more about the needs of animals.


  1. Explain that there is another ‘need’ which we can’t really see but it is very important to all living things and it is around all of us right now.
  2. Show the images of the scuba diver and the astronaut. Ask students the following questions:
    • Why are the people in these photos wearing this equipment?
    • What would happen if they removed their helmets?

    Discuss situations such as holding our breath when going under water and breathing heavily after running.

    Ask the students if animals need air too. How do we know? (eg dogs panting; whales coming to the surface for new air and blowing the old air out; crocodiles resting with just their nostrils and eyes above the water; fish having gills to allow them to live underwater and other aquatic animals without gills that need to breath air above the water).

  3. Add ‘air’ to the list of Needs of living things in the class science journal if not already identified in lesson 1.
  4. Hold up an ice cream dish/container with lid. Remove the lid and hold up to show holes in the lid. Ask the students why they think there has to be holes in the lid.
  5. Explain that you have some animals to show the students and the class is going to look after them. Briefly explain the rules of handling and respect for living things and that the animals are not harmful. Hand out mealworms for students to observe closely.

Teacher note: There is information on mealworms for classroom learning in Background information (PDF, 385 KB)

Extension: Ask students to place one mealworm in a petri dish or clear container and draw what they observe.


After some observing time, ask students to consider if the mealworms have needs and how these are being met.

Go through the list of needs in the class science journal from lesson 1 and decide whether they think the mealworms have the same needs. Use this discussion to briefly explain what mealworms eat, how they get their water, and that the bran is also their shelter (relate to ants and earthworms in the ground) and how they cannot breathe underwater.

Tell students the class is going to keep the mealworms for a few weeks as class pets and students will be responsible for meeting their needs.


Lesson Resources


Student activities

Digital resources

M007733 The Brunswick Browns, NDLRN. Video (3:20 min)

R6045 Life and Death on the Great Barrier Reef, 2002, NDLRN. Image of a Scuba diver

R8416 Edwin ('Buzz') Aldrin during the first Moon landing, 1969 NDLRN. Image of an astronaut

Useful links

Museum Victoria. Information, stories
and games

Bugs: life as a bug, senses,
Museum Victoria. Information about
bugs’ senses

Keeping live insects,
Queensland Museum. Information on keeping different types of insects

Wikipedia. Information about mealworms

Mealworms and Darkling Beetles,
Fossweb. Information about mealworms