Climate Change and Animals


Does climate change only matter to polar bears? In Climate Change & Animals, students will discuss how our changing climate affects people and animals around the world. Using case studies of animals they can see in the zoo to illustrate each issue, students will investigate the different impacts of climate change on wildlife, and find out how they can take action to help.

Jae Jae and Melati together

Age group:  Years 7-11 (Key Stage 3 and 4, Ages 11-16)

Duration: 45-55 minutes

Learning Space: Activity Den

Capacity: 35 students


National Curriculum and specification links:


KS3 Geography - programme of study (2014)

Human and physical geography

  • understand how human and physical processes interact to influence and change landscapes, environments and the climate; and how human activity relies on the effective functioning of natural systems


KS3 Science - programme of study (2014)


Interactions and interdependencies

Relationships in an ecosystem

  • how organisms affect, and are affected by, their environment, including the accumulation of toxic materials

Genetics and evolution

Inheritance, chromosomes, DNA and genes

  • changes in the environment which may leave individuals within a species, and some entire species, less well adapted to compete successfully and reproduce, which in turn may lead to extinction


GCSE Examination Board Syllabi links:



AQA Biology & Science A (2014)

B1.4 Interdependence and Adaptation

evaluate data concerned with the effect of environmental changes on the distribution and behaviour of living organisms

B1.4.2. Environmental Change

 b) Animals and plants are subjected to environmental changes. Such changes may be caused by living or non-living factors such as a change in a competitor or in the average temperature or rainfall.

d) Environmental changes can be measured using non-living indicators such as oxygen levels, temperature and rainfall.

B2.8.1. Speciation (AQA Biology only)

e) Extinction may be caused by changes to the environment


AQA Additional Science (2014)


B2.8.1. Old and new species

e) Extinction may be caused by changes to the environment


OCR GCSE Biology A (2014)


3.4.3 Module B3:  Life on Earth

B3.3.6. understand that the rate of extinction of species is increasing and why this is likely to be due to human activity



Intended learning outcomes:

Students will be able to:

  • Explain how climate change is affected by human behaviour.
  • Give three examples of impacts of climate change on animals.
  • Consider how they can positively change their behaviour: turning off “standby” appliances.

Many objects from the natural world used in this session are loaned to us by HM Revenue and Customs.


For this session

Before your visit to the zoo:

While at the Zoo:

  • Use the photocopiable worksheet on the reverse of the Climate Change and Animals information sheet to encourage pupils to make observations of some of the Zoo’s endangered animals and think about the interdependence of life on Earth.
  • Use this worksheet on sustainability and palm oil: PDF icon 2015-16 Sustainability Student Workbook 2 KS3 KS4 (1.65 MB)
  • During the session we investigate the impact of climate change on several Zoo animals.  You may wish to visit some of these on your way around the Zoo:
Animals Location 
Ring-tailed lemurs In with the Lemurs 
Sumatran tigers Tiger Territory
Coral BUGS  & Aquarium 
Frogs and snakes Reptile House
Rainforest animals (monkeys, birds, sloths, insects) Rainforest Life 


After your visit to the zoo:

  • Ask students to research the different actions people take to stop climate change.  In groups, choose one action, and design a poster or video that encourages others to help.