Charlotte's Web - Lifecycles

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White  is the story of a little girl named Fern who loved a little pig named Wilbur and of Wilbur's dear friend Charlotte, a beautiful large grey spider. With the unlikely help of Templeton the rat, and a wonderfully clever plan of her own, Charlotte saves the life of Wilbur, who by this time has grown up to be quite a pig. This book is suitable for children aged 9-11 years old.

Charlotte's Web can be used as a setting through which you could:

·       Compare the lifecycles of different creatures  - goose, spider, pig and of plants.

·       Research the gestation periods of other animals and compare them with humans

·       Explore death and bereavement within a story context.

·       Construct a timeline to indicate stages of growth in development of humans and other animals.

The children should investigate  the  different sexual reproductive process for different groups of animals. Comparing our similarities and differences with other animals. Through comparing the lifecycle of spiders and geese, the children will see that both birds and invertebrates lay eggs.  However they are laid in different numbers and have different coverings to protect them. Spiders lay hundreds of eggs, protected by a silk egg sac. A goose lays 12-15 eggs in a clutch. Ask the children to consider why might think about why some animals, such as spiders, have large numbers of young.

Key scientific vocabulary: life cycle, reproduction, sexual reproduction, mammal, amphibian, insect, bird, fish, reptile, eggs, live young 

Other fiction books with a similar theme:

Tracy Beaker – Jacqueline Wilson

Hetty Feather  - Jacqueline Wilson

Mummy Laid an Egg – Babette Cole

Hair in Funny Places – Babette Cole