This lesson is suitable for intermediate students and above. It should take around 1 hour. It may take longer if you have lots of groups giving presentations.

 Download Lesson Plan and Student Handout:


Warmer: write the word zoo on the board and ask students what they associate with zoos (this warms them up and it also gives you a clue as to where they stand morally on the issue which will be useful for later).

Part 1 Discussion questions in small groups

  • When was the last time you went to the zoo? Did you enjoy it?
  • What do you like / dislike about zoos?
  • Do you think animals are always better off in the wild?

(you might have to pre-teach ‘to be better off’)

Part 2: Reading: Peanut the Turtle, go through vocab if it is new to the students then do the discussion questions. Question 7+8 might prove for an interesting debate if students have examples. Give time for them to discuss this fully as it will provide inspiration for the debate later.

Part 3: Quotes: In small groups students must put them into two groups; ones they agree with and ones they disagree with. They must give reasons for their choice. Then compare as a whole class. (quotes are on the download sheet).

Part 4: Discussion: split the class into small groups and give them this situation “the government in your country is deciding whether or not to close all of the zoos. You have been asked to give a short presentation on whether you think this is a good idea or not”. (you could also assign groups a specific argument e.g. one group must argue that the government should keep the zoos open and another group that they should close).

Students then have 15 minutes to prepare a 5 minute presentation to the class on what they believe.

When giving their presentation the other students must listen and produce at least 3 questions to ask at the end.

Optional Homework: Essay: “There is no place for zoos in the 21st Century”. To what extent do you agree with this statement?

You could also discuss this as a debate question in class.