Can sheep count?

Can sheep read numbers?

Todays learning: (WALT)

  • Explain the differences in the life cycles of a mammal, an amphibian, an insect and a bird
  • Describe the life process of reproduction in some plants and animals
  • Recognise that living things produce offspring of the same kind, but normally offspring vary and are not identical to their parents

Lesson Activities / Tasks

  • VIDEO: 'Can sheep read numbers?'
  • Video Dialog
    • Mum Mum MUM - oh yes what number was my mum?
    • Why do shepherds paint numbers on lambs?
    • If sheep cannot read, how do they tell which are their lambs from all these - don't they all look the same?
    • Are all piglets in a litter the same?
    • What about cattle are they all the same?
    • Well the numbers are really for the shepherd so he knows which lambs belong to which ewes if they become separated.
    • Even if we think lambs look the same to the ewes each lamb is very different especially their smell - Oliver explains.....
    • And in fact although animals of the same type or species look the same to us they are nearly always slightly different, even if they have the same parents.....
    • We will look at how farmers use this knowledge to produce our food cheaper and more efficiently
  • Discuss video with pupils review life cycles and discuss how all animals of same type (species) are not all the same - even though we may not be able to see any differences

  • Complete first section of pupil workbook.

  • Plenary

  • Do quiz for first section answers

KNOWLEDGE HARVEST (Assessment for learning AfL)

Explanation for Entry point video

Idea behind video is to get pupils to think about how animals like sheep and lambs are different although this difference may not always be obvious to us - hence lambs look alike to shepherd and clearly could not put any separated lambs and mothers together without giving them all corresponding numbers. Video then explains how sheep have a much keener sense of smell than humans and it is this which ewes use to identify their lambs.

Need to ensure that when pupils list differences between each other that they do this sensitively.Check that pupils understand that species are animals (all living things in fact) which are very similar, but that they can still have differences but not enough to make them a different species. We call animals of the same species but with quite large differences Breeds like breeds of dogs, also pigs, cattle sheep etc


  • Video: 'Can sheep read numbers?'
  • Pupils work book 'Can Sheep read numbers?'

Outcomes: (WILF)

  • To know that animals of the same type below to the same species 
  • To list ways in which animals even of the same species, including humans, are different.
  • .

Teaching notes:


Last modified: Tuesday, 19 November 2013, 7:51 PM