Getting into… flight and migration

Key Stage 1

Geography: name and locate the world’s seven continents and five oceans.

Geographical skills: use world maps, atlases and globes to identify the United Kingdom and its countries, as well as the countries, continents and oceans studied at this age range.


Flight and migration

Download the visual resource that accompanies the session below.

Activity A

Display the WWT ‘Flight and migration’ visual for the whole class to see. This is a map of the world. Each colour shows a different continent. A continent is one of Earth’s seven main areas of land.

Say the word ‘Africa’ and point to it on the map. Has anyone ever heard of this continent? Does anyone know anything about it? They may answer with ‘yes, my auntie is from there’, ‘it’s really hot and there are deserts there’ or ‘lions live there’. Repeat with each of the continents (Africa, Antarctica, Asia, North America, South America, Australasia and Europe), allowing time for learners to share experiences and thoughts about each one.

Activity B

Give learners a WWT ‘Flight and migration’ visual each. Explain that this is a map of the world and although the continents have been coloured in different colours, someone has forgotten to label it so we don’t know which continent is which. Display a key somewhere that all learners can see and ask them to label each continent e.g. make a pink mark on the board with the word ‘Africa’ next to it. Learners should locate the pink continent and copy the word ‘Africa’ onto the map. This should be repeated so each learner ends up with a map with each of the seven continents labelled correctly.

Activity C

We live in the United Kingdom, which is in Europe.

Can you find Europe on your map? What is summer like here? (sunny, warm, hot, less rain, more hours of daylight).

What is winter like here? (cold, snowy, wet, fewer hours of daylight). Imagine you’re outside and it gets cold.

What do you do? (put a coat/jumper on or go inside). Now think of a bird. Point to a tree, if there’s one out the window, and tell a short story about this bird that lives in the tree outside (it’s been here through the summer, the weather has been fine, it’s been finding lots of berries growing on the bushes and worms in the soft ground to eat, it’s feathers are keeping it warm etc).

What happens to the bird when it gets really cold? Can it put a coat or jumper on? Can it go inside? (Birds can fluff up their feathers to keep warm but they cannot put on a coat or go inside. When it gets colder birds really need food to help them keep warm and stay alive. Some birds cannot survive or find enough food when it gets cold so they need to fly to a different, warmer place for a while to find food and stay alive. When birds do this, it is called migration)

When it’s winter in Europe, does anyone know where it might be warmer, which continents? (Africa, South America, Australasia)

Does anyone know a continent that is much colder than Europe in the winter? (Antarctica). Point to these continents as you talk about them.

Less time?

Just do section B

Have a whole afternoon?

Extend section B by asking learners to cut around each of the continents (this should just be in a shape around each continent rather than cutting exactly along the lines). Ask learners to jumble them up and then place them back in the correct locations (pairs could test each other and then check or take it in turns to pick a continent and lay it on the table in the correct position).

N.B. You may want to make a photocopy of each map, before learners cut them up, if you are going to go on and complete the WWT ‘Flight and migration’ Going Deeper activity, as they will need their maps for this.

Go outside

Using a visual that has been cut up into separate continents, pin up the seven continent shapes around the playground. In September, birds called swallows migrate from Europe to Africa. Learners ‘fly’ from one to the other. In October, birds called Bewick’s swans migrate from Asia to Europe. Learners ‘fly’ from one to the other. You could start this activity with the continents labelled, then move all the continents around and repeat without the continent names.