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KS3 Science: Otter Study, An (1912)

Study how the otter has adapted to its natural environment.

Main image of KS3 Science: Otter Study, An (1912)
Author Ryan Deneven-Lewis
Topic Adaptation, Natural Habitats
Curriculum linksNC KS3 SC2 Life Processes and Living Things

An early study of the otter which includes underwater scenes filmed in a tank concealed in a stream.

This short film is a useful way of developing students understanding of adaptation. Alternatively it offers a starting point for considering the value of film in developing our understanding of the natural world.



Play students the film, explaining that it was the first time an otter had ever been filmed underwater and that the study was celebrated as a 'record-breaker' in the world of early film.

As the film plays, ask students to think about how the otter has adapted well to life in the water. The scene in which the otter is fishing is particularly useful for looking at the particular features of the otter's tail, feet, fur and shape.

If you are playing the film on an interactive whiteboard, you might wish to pause the film on a particular frame and ask students to label these features over the image.


Some more ideas

  • When this film was originally shown, it included a scene in which the otter eluded men and dogs on the hunt. Ask students to identify the main characteristics of the otter's natural environment and discuss the ways in which external factors, such as the hunt, can affect natural habitats.
  • How useful is film in helping us understand plant and animal life? Encourage students to think about the benefits (and disadvantages) of films such as this one, as well as more recent examples of wildlife programming, including Life on Earth (1979), Blue Planet and Planet Earth.
Video Clips
Complete film (8:00)

Related Films and TV programmes

Thumbnail image of Glimpses of Bird Life (1910)Glimpses of Bird Life (1910)

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Thumbnail image of Otter Study, An (1912)Otter Study, An (1912)

Read more about this film

Thumbnail image of Life on Earth (1979)Life on Earth (1979)

Read more about this programme

See also

Thumbnail image of KS3 Science: Glimpses of Bird Life (1910)KS3 Science: Glimpses of Bird Life (1910)

Birds and classification.