animals have feelings


Trotsky isn’t your regular house pet…he’s a pig! He and his human Elvis enjoy a very special friendship. In this lesson, students will learn about the complex and endearing nature of pigs – an often misunderstood animal.


Year Level: K–1

Learning area: Science

General capabilities: Critical and creative thinking; ethical understanding; literacy

Lesson duration: 120 minutes

Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • learn about the unique characteristics of pigs
  • understand that pigs have physical, social and emotional needs, just like humans do
  • understand that pigs kept as pets live differently to pigs raised on farms, and that it’s the responsibility of humans to make sure their needs are met.

Curriculum codes:

  • ACSSU002: Living things have basic needs, including food and water
  • ACSSU211: Living things live in different places where their needs are met
  • ACSSU017: Living things have a variety of external features


Scroll to the top to download this lesson’s material:

15 minutes

Vocabulary: snout, tail, squeal

Discussion: What do you know about pigs?

Would pigs make a good pet?

Part A: Trotsky and Elvis

Spend ten minutes brainstorming answers for the following discussion points. Write down student answers on the whiteboard. (Keep these answers on the board for the Reflection part of this lesson.)

  • What do you know about pigs?
  • Do you think pigs would make a good pet? Why/why not?

Afterwards, play the video ‘A pig in high heels’ below, where Elvis talks about his special friend Trotsky.

Video © Australian Broadcasting Corporation

40 minutes

Vocabulary: hooves

Part B: Piggy Features

Use the worksheet ‘Piggy Features’ for this part of the lesson. Students will need to remember the piggy characteristics mentioned in the video, and colour the statements true or false. They will then draw some physical features of a pig.

Fun fact: Some people think pigs smell bad, but that’s not true. Pigs don’t sweat and are very clean. In fact, they don’t like to go to the toilet where they eat or sleep. When pigs are confined in small pens, like on many farms, they become trapped with their own waste buildup, which then causes a bad odour.

Go over the worksheet answers together as a class. You may need to replay parts of the video. Ask students to write their name on their drawings and collect them to display later.


True: smart, fast, cheeky

False: dirty, lazy, smelly

Fill in the word: hooves, snout, tail, squeal


45 minutes

Part C: What Do Pigs Need?

Pigs have needs, just like humans do. They need warmth, food, water and social time.

What are some needs humans have? Ask students to suggest answers and write them on the whiteboard. Possible answers may include: food, water, air, clothing, shelter, shade, warmth, friends, exercise. Once you have five or six answers on the board, ask students whether they think animals share the same needs.

Have students complete the worksheet ‘What Do Pigs Need?’, where they will circle the needs pigs share with humans.


Circle: food, shelter, water, fresh air, exercise, social time

Optional: Students will use the next worksheet to think about how differently a pet pig might live compared to a pig raised on a farm. This creative exercise will encourage them to think about how different habitats affect living things.

20 minutes

Discussion: What new things did you learn about pigs?

What do you wish all pigs could enjoy?

Part D: Reflection

Look at the answers you wrote down on the board for Part A of this lesson. Ask students if any of these answers have now changed.

In small groups, ask students to discuss the following questions:

  • What are two new things you learned about pigs?
  • What two things do you wish all pigs could enjoy, whether they live in a house or a farm?

20 minutes

Extension Activity

Students can colour in the ‘Fun Facts About Pigs’ activity sheet while learning some cool new things about pigs.

Students can complete additional worksheets that explore the feelings and needs of farm animals. Click on the button below to download bonus worksheets for ‘Meeting Needs’.