Those Amazing Animals

6, 7, 8

This lesson helps students explore how animals are used in sports and entertainment. They will explore the concepts of animal welfare and animal cruelty, and how they relate to the manner in which animals are trained and treated. The learners will explore, formulate, and articulate personal opinions concerning the use of animals and their welfare.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne 45 to 50 minute class period

The learner will:

  • define animals in entertainment
  • identify ways animals are being used in sports and entertainment.
  • recognize how the roles of performing animals affect us socially and economically.
  • define and explore the concepts of animal welfare and animal cruelty.
  • explore, formulate, and articulate personal opinions concerning animals in sports and entertainment.
  • 3-4 copies of Handout One: Animals in Sports and Entertainment, cut into individual pictures
  • Animals In Entertainment informational paper /resources/animals-entertainment
Home Connection 

Ask the learners to share the information they learned about animals in entertainment with family members and to solicit their opinions about the use of animals for entertainment, and their views about animal welfare and cruelty.


Wikipedia "Bullfighting"
Wikipedia "Snake Charming"
Britannica: Advocacy for Animals "Dancing Bears"
The Animal Welfare Information Center: Animal-related organizations [no longer available]

For additional related topics and materials see: 



  1. Anticipatory Set: On the display board in large letters write the words Those Amazing Animals! As the learners enter the classroom hand each a picture from Handout One. Make sure that at least two learners receive identical pictures. Tell the learners to locate their “partner” and, have them identify what the picture depicts. Have each group share what activity their picture depicts and write the name of the activity on the display board. Ask the learners to conclude from the list what the focus for the day’s learning will be– animals in entertainment.

  2. As a class, brainstorm a list of activities, beginning with the picture prompts, in which animals are used for sports and entertainment.

  3. Tell students that according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), "Animals in Entertainment" refers to any animal(s) used to act, perform, fight and/or kill for the enjoyment of humans. The term encompasses many different forms of entertainment – from circuses to movies to bullfighting.

  4. As appropriate to the class’ reading level, either distribute copies of the Animals in Entertainment informational paper for them to read, or verbally or in writing summarize the information for the students.

  5. Write the words animal welfare and animal cruelty on the display board. Ask the learners to share their understanding of the concepts. Clarify definitions for the learners as: animal welfare - the compassion and respect due animals as living, responsive beings. Animals are entitled to kind and respectful treatment at the hands of humans, and this is not to be left to the compassionate impulses of humans, but is an entitlement that must be protected under the law; animal cruelty - any time an animal is made to suffer or feel needless pain, whether done intentionally or through neglect.

  6. Ask the learners to look at the list they generated of animals in entertainment, to consider and discuss how their perception of the activities on the list has been informed by understanding the definition of animal welfare and animal cruelty, and if their perception of each of these activities might be different since class began because of this new understanding. Following the discussion, ask the learners to respond to this discussion in writing, collect the responses.


Learner involvement in group activities and discussions will form the basis for the assessment of this lesson. The satisfactory completion of the learner’s journal response as well as the depth of thought and insight reflected in those responses will also provide evidence for the assessment of learner understanding.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Describe the importance of hearing all voices in a community and respecting their right to be heard.