Channel 4 Learning


SCIENCE
The Blue Dragon
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Aims | Outline | Curriculum Relevance | Background | Activities | Image and Link to Print Version

The Blue Dragon
Programme 1: Staying Alive

Aims

The Blue Dragon series covers curriculum learning outcomes for science for 5–7 year olds.
The first programme introduces the storyline to children: four animal characters find an egg, out of which hatches a blue dragon. The blue dragon's mother is not there, and so the programmes follow the adventures of the animals as they journey to find her.

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Outline

The first programme introduces the main characters: Twiggy the bear, Chisel the woodpecker, Red the vixen and Jack the beaver. The animals find an egg, out of which hatches a blue dragon. They call her Cinders, because she blows flames and burns things – literally to cinders.
The characters inspect the blue dragon comparing her height and features with their own. Then they realise that Cinders needs feeding, but no one knows what blue dragons eat, so they decide to find out.
The characters also think about what it means to be alive, and what the blue dragon will look like when it grows up to be an adult.

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Curriculum Relevance

The programme explores:

  • reasons why something is alive or not alive;
  • the stages of animal life cycles from babies to adult;
  • what animals need to stay alive.
  • Dragons in other cultures, eg the role of dragons in the Chinese new year.
  • Animals in the Chinese new year – characteristics of people born in different years especially in the Year of the Dragon.
  • Poems and songs about dragons.

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Background

At their simplest, the criteria for something that is living include that it can breathe, move, feed, reproduce and excrete.
Children need to experience thinking about animal life cycles, and to know that some animals have different lifestyles to ourselves (since humans are also animals). Some animals look like their parent whilst others look totally different and go through striking changes, for example, tadpole to frog, caterpillar to butterfly.
All animals have basic needs: for humans this does not only mean the need for food, water, warmth and shelter, but also the need to feel secure and loved.

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Activities

Play the 'Alive not alive' game with the children. For this you will need props, such as a plastic flower, a battery operated dog that barks and moves, a rock, or anything else that can be classified as not alive.

In the story, the characters try to find out what the blue dragon eats. Cinders' favourite food is baked potato. Ask children to list their favourite foods or meals; these could be drawn on paper plates. Children could carry out surveys of, for example:

  • favourite foods;
  • favourite sandwiches.

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