Teaching overview

Learning points

  • The number of monarch butterflies reaching California has dropped massively. One reason is that extreme weather, wildfires and chemicals used on farms have reduced the amount of milkweed available for monarch caterpillars to eat.
  • Alba the orangutan is albino, meaning she was born without colouring in her hair or skin. She was rescued last year suffering from an infection, but has now been returned to her forest home.
  • Researchers have developed a 3-D-printed robot hand that combines hard and soft materials attached to a rotating “wrist”.

Curriculum keywords

  • Insects
  • Migration
  • Conservation
  • Albinism
  • Robots
  • STEM

Video viewing guide

This graphic organiser supports your students to capture their thoughts and questions as they watch the news update.

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Spark a discussion

Monarch Butterflies

  • Monarch butterflies lay their eggs on milkweed plants. How has the amount of milkweed changed in recent years, and why has this impacted butterfly numbers?
  • Can you think of some ways to help the monarch butterfly?
  • Do you know of any other animals that migrate? Where do they migrate from and to?

Unusual Orangutan

  • Alba has problems with her sight. Why else do you think she might be more vulnerable to predators than other orangutans?
  • There are very few orangutans left in the wild. Can you think of any reasons why this might be the case?
  • Alba’s rescuers say they will take her out of the forest again if they think she’s in danger. Do you think this is a good idea? Why or why not?

Robot Musician

  • What similarities and differences are there between the 3-D-printed hand, and your own hand?
  • Why do you think it’s difficult to create a robot hand that moves in the same way as a human hand? (Bear in mind that your hand contains 27 different bones!)
  • Why might it be an advantage for a robot to have soft, rather than hard, hands?

Discover more about the topics covered in this week's News update

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