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How to look after a pet

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By Kay Cliffordpart-time teacher, Ipswich

This on-screen resource will encourage Year 1 children to think about how to look after various pets. The words and sentences are easily decodable and simple in construction.

The first activity explores the items needed to look after a dog, horse and budgerigar. It should build the children’s vocabulary and encourage them to talk with a partner about the suitability of each item for certain animals. The next activity asks the children to read a sentence and then decide which pet it best fits with. Each sentence gives a very simple description of how to care for this pet. The final activity asks children to sequence the instructions for cleaning out a fish tank.


Before using the resource

  • Which animals make good pets? Make a mind map. Keep it available and add to it as the project develops.
  • Have some of the items listed in the first (vocabulary) activity available to handle. The children may not have seen some of the items before.
  • Discuss how to look after a particular pet. If possible, invite a visitor into school to talk about looking after their pet, or ask some of the children to talk about how they look after their pets. You could also approach a local vet about coming into class to give a talk.

Using the resource

Go to the opening page and click on the activity you would like to do.

What does a pet need?

  • As Vernon the vet holds up each picture, encourage the children to discuss what the item is, then decide which pet it belongs to. Were they right? If they were, the vet will say so. If they were wrong, the vet will tell them to pick another pet. When all the items have been correctly matched to the pets, the children can print out three answer cards for display or to use for further matching games.

Using the activity sheet

Use the activity sheet below to explore the structure of instruction sentences and to help the children begin to spot the imperative form of verbs.

Looking after pets

  • As Vernon the vet holds up each sentence, ask the children to read it out loud then discuss with a partner which pet the sentence applies to. They must then click on that pet. Were they right? If they were, that piece on the grid will disappear, revealing part of a certificate behind it. If they were wrong, the vet will shake his head and tell them to pick another pet.
  • When all sentences have been correctly matched to a pet, all the squares on the grid will be removed to reveal a certificate which can be printed off.

Cleaning out a fish tank

  • You could use this activity in conjunction with a real fish tank and a toy fish. Either experiment with a real fish bowl and toy fish first to explore how to go about cleaning out the tank; or complete the instruction sequencing first and then test the instructions to see if they work.
  • When using the on-screen resource, ask the children to discuss with a partner the order in which they think the fish tank should be cleaned. Encourage them to look carefully at the pictures and, if they are able, to read out each instruction.
  • They can then start identifying the correct sequence, clicking on each instruction in turn. If they select an instruction in the correct sequence, a square on the grid will disappear to reveal part of a picture behind it. If the sequence is incorrect, the vet will tell them to try again.
  • When all the instructions have been correctly sequenced, all the squares on the grid will be removed to reveal a picture and an option to see and print the correctly sequenced instructions will appear.

Literacy Framework

See the Using this issue chart here to identify the Learning Objectives covered by these activities, to track progression from Reception through to Year 3, and to identify links with Year 1 and 2 Planning Units.

Ideas for writing

Ask the children to write their own instructions for caring for a pet. Talk to them about instruction words and simple sentences. Remind them to start sentences with capital letters and end with full stops. Try drawing a picture first then writing a sentence to go with each picture. When they have finished they could cut up their instructions and challenge a partner to put them into the right order.