I’ve been fleeced

Lesson objective

  • Describe the use of animal body parts, such as a sheep’s fleece, for particular purposes such as warmth and protection.
  • Research ideas collaboratively using big books, web pages and ICT within the classroom.

Students will have the opportunity to:

  • explore and make observations about wool
  • discuss the different purposes of the sheep’s fleece
  • make the connection between a sheep’s fleece and wool used in a range of everyday items such as clothing and furnishings.

Setting the context

Animals have a range of adaptations that protect them against the weather. Sheep are well protected from the weather by the wool fleece that covers their body. Wool has a range of unique properties that help sheep maintain their body temperature as the external temperatures fluctuate from hot to cold. Wool contains a natural grease called lanolin, which gives it water-resistant properties, helping to keep sheep dry and warm in wet weather.

Lesson focus

The focus of this lesson is to spark students’ interest, stimulate their curiosity, raise questions for inquiry and gain an understanding about the different adaptations animals have to protect them against the weather or environmental conditions in which they live using sheep as an example. These existing ideas can then be taken account of in future lessons.


Explain to students that they will be investigating sheep, exploring their unique features and discovering how these features help sheep to survive.

Body of lesson

  1. Read to the class Pete the sheep, by Jackie French. Using the class science journal to record students’ ideas, make a list of what students already know about sheep. You might like to use the the LEARN ABOUT WOOL factsheets to guide the discussion. Ask students questions such as:
    • How do sheep move about?
    • What do sheep eat?
    • Where do sheep live?
    • How do sheep stay warm?
  2. Show students the LEARN ABOUT WOOL video What is wool? and allow students to explore the LEARN ABOUT WOOL factsheets:
    • What is wool?
    • How wool grows
    • Shearing
    • Wool - from farm to fashion
  3. Allow students to explore the fibre and fabric samples from the LEARN ABOUT WOOL resource kit and ask them to describe how the samples feel. Record their responses in the class science journal.
  4. Using the LEARN ABOUT WOOL resource sheet Fleecy friends as a guide, allow students to make their own pet sheep. Display the sheep in the classroom for judging, if possible.


Regroup in front of the class science journal and write the heading Animals and their coverings. Ask students to recall the purpose of the sheep’s fleece. Encourage students to think about the weather conditions sheep might need to endure and what might happen if the sheep did not have a woolly fleece for protection. Ask students to think of other types of protection animals have that they have explored during the lesson (fur, feathers, scales). Make a list of animals and their protective adaptations.