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Life Cycles: The Penguin and the Cheetah

In this worksheet, students will think about the life cycles of different animals from around the world.

'Life Cycles: The Penguin and the Cheetah' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:  Living Things and Their Habitats

Curriculum subtopic:  Life Cycles

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

The Earth is roughly divided into three climate zones, polar, temperate and tropical.

 

Map of the world

 

  • The polar zones are the North and South Poles (light and dark blue). It is nearly always very cold in these regions.
  • The tropical zones are in the 'middle' of the Earth, around the equator (green). It is nearly always very hot in these areas.
  • The temperate zones are the areas between the poles and tropical zones (yellow and brown). They have seasons.

 

The cheetah and the emperor penguin are good examples of animals that live in the different climate zones. Let us take a look at the life cycles of these animals and see how they are adapted to the environment they live in.

These animals live in one of the Earth's cold zones.

 

Penguins

 

What name do we give to these cold zones?

polar

temperate

tropical

Penguins are birds. All birds hatch from eggs.

 

Penguin egg

 

When an egg is created it has to be kept warm by an adult bird.

What is this process called?

ripening

pregnancy

incubation

Male emperor penguins supervise the penguin egg whilst it is developing. They do this by balancing it on their feet and covering it with a special part of their body called the brood pouch. The male penguin stands for approximately 100 days.

 

Crows are quite large birds that can fly, they build nests high up in trees. The female crow sits over the eggs, smothering them for approximately 18 days before hatching.

 

Emperor penguin Crow

 

 

Which statements about the life cycles of both birds are correct? Select two correct answers.

In both species the male and female birds take it in turns to supervise the eggs.

The penguin covers its eggs for approximately five times longer than the crow.

Only one parent supervises the eggs during their development.

Both crows and penguins build nests in trees.

Young penguins that are approximately 40 days old are often left alone by their parents whilst they return to sea to find food. During this time the youngsters group together to form a creche.

 

Penguin chicks

 

The penguins form these groups to help them keep safe and warm.

Which is the warmest place in the huddle or creche?

the centre

the outer edge

The cheetah is a mammal.

 

Cheetah

 

In which climate zone is the cheetah most commonly found?

polar

temperate

tropical

Two students, George and Anne, researched the life cycle of cheetahs.

They compared the life cycle of cheetahs to the life cycle of humans and displayed their findings in a table.

Take your time looking at the information in the table before you look at the question.

 

Life Cycle Stage Cheetah Human
The gestation period in the womb is...  3.5 months 9 months
First opens eyes at... 4–14 days birth
Develops first tooth by... 3 weeks 6 months
Has a full set of milk teeth by... 6 weeks 30 months
Has a full set of permanent teeth by... 8 months 13 years
Starts weaning at... 6 weeks 6–12 months
Is able to walk unaided by... 3 weeks 12–16 months
Average life span is... 10 years 70 years

 

Some major events in the life cycle of a cheetah occur before they do so in humans, others occur afterwards.

 

From the list below, identify three events that occur in the cheetah before they occur in humans.

develops first tooth

learns to walk

opens eyes

has a full set of permanent teeth

Have another look at the table.

 

Life Cycle Stage Cheetah Human
The gestation period in the womb is...  3.5 months 9 months
First opens eyes at... 4–14 days birth
Develops first tooth by... 3 weeks 6 months
Has a full set of milk teeth by... 6 weeks 30 months
Has a full set of permanent teeth by... 8 months 13 years
Starts weaning at... 6 weeks 6–12 months
Is able to walk unaided by... 3 weeks 12–16 months
Average life span is... 10 years 70 years

 

30 months is approximately 130 weeks.

 

Approximately how many times longer does it take humans to develop a full set of milk teeth compared to a cheetah? 

21

100

124

Let's practise a 'how many times' question again. Here's the data.

 

Life Cycle Stage Cheetah Human
The gestation period in the womb is...  3.5 months 9 months
First opens eyes at... 4–14 days birth
Develops first tooth by... 3 weeks 6 months
Has a full set of milk teeth by... 6 weeks 30 months
Has a full set of permanent teeth by... 8 months 13 years
Starts weaning at... 6 weeks 6–12 months
Is able to walk unaided by... 3 weeks 12–16 months
Average life span is... 10 years 70 years

 

Eddie is a human. He was 13 months old when he was first able to walk unaided. 13 months is approximately 56 weeks.

 

Approximately how many times longer did it take Eddie to learn to walk compared to a cheetah?

4

19

168

Have another look at the data.

 

Life Cycle Stage Cheetah Human
The gestation period in the womb is...  3.5 months 9 months
First opens eyes at... 4–14 days birth
Develops first tooth by... 3 weeks 6 months
Has a full set of milk teeth by... 6 weeks 30 months
Has a full set of permanent teeth by... 8 months 13 years
Starts weaning at... 6 weeks 6–12 months
Is able to walk unaided by... 3 weeks 12–16 months
Average life span is... 10 years 70 years

 

Why is it important that a cheetah is able to walk by the time it is 3 weeks old?

 

Select two correct answers from the list.

Female cheetahs hunt over a range of 800 km, sometimes the cubs will have to move with mum at short notice.

The cheetah needs to learn to run fast as soon as possible.

Cheetahs are not very aggressive and are sometimes attacked by other big cats, if they are attacked they need to escape as quickly as possible.

Think about the penguin and the cheetah.

 

PenguinCheetah

 

Both animals are brilliantly adapted to living in their environment.

The table below lists some adaptations of the cheetah and the penguin. Can you match the adaptation to the correct animal?

 

Tick one box only per adaptation.

 CheetahPenguin
Incubates an egg in a breed pouch to keep it warm during development
Can walk unaided after just three weeks
Forms a crèche with other animals in its group to keep warm
Develops first teeth after just three weeks
Stores lots of fat under its skin for insulation
  • Question 1

These animals live in one of the Earth's cold zones.

 

Penguins

 

What name do we give to these cold zones?

CORRECT ANSWER
polar
EDDIE SAYS
The cold zones, at the extreme north and south of planet Earth, are known as poles. Penguins live in the southern cold zone known as the South Pole. It is surrounded by the continent of Antarctica.
  • Question 2

Penguins are birds. All birds hatch from eggs.

 

Penguin egg

 

When an egg is created it has to be kept warm by an adult bird.

What is this process called?

CORRECT ANSWER
incubation
EDDIE SAYS
We call the process of keeping an egg warm, incubation. Incubation allows the embryo in the egg to develop into a chick in a nice warm and safe environment.
  • Question 3

Male emperor penguins supervise the penguin egg whilst it is developing. They do this by balancing it on their feet and covering it with a special part of their body called the brood pouch. The male penguin stands for approximately 100 days.

 

Crows are quite large birds that can fly, they build nests high up in trees. The female crow sits over the eggs, smothering them for approximately 18 days before hatching.

 

Emperor penguin Crow

 

 

Which statements about the life cycles of both birds are correct? Select two correct answers.

CORRECT ANSWER
The penguin covers its eggs for approximately five times longer than the crow.
Only one parent supervises the eggs during their development.
EDDIE SAYS
Incubation is a vitally important process common to both birds. How it happens and for how long differs between the two species.
Can you think why it takes so much longer for a penguin to incubate its eggs than a crow?
  • Question 4

Young penguins that are approximately 40 days old are often left alone by their parents whilst they return to sea to find food. During this time the youngsters group together to form a creche.

 

Penguin chicks

 

The penguins form these groups to help them keep safe and warm.

Which is the warmest place in the huddle or creche?

CORRECT ANSWER
the centre
EDDIE SAYS
The penguin huddle is a really remarkable piece of social engineering. The youngest birds are usually found in the centre where it is warmest, the most sheltered and safest.
You can investigate a huddle too. Get some test tubes (six is fab), tie five of them together with an elastic band, leave the other one to stand alone. Ask an adult to boil the kettle and then fill each tube with an equal amount of water. Use a thermometer to measure the temperature of the stand-alone tube and the tube in the centre of the group (or huddle). Leave them for 10 minutes, then measure the temperature of the tubes again. You should notice that the water from the tube in the centre of the huddle is much warmer than the water from the stand-alone tube.
  • Question 5

The cheetah is a mammal.

 

Cheetah

 

In which climate zone is the cheetah most commonly found?

CORRECT ANSWER
tropical
EDDIE SAYS
The cheetah is most commonly found across central and southern Africa in countries such as Tanzania.
  • Question 6

Two students, George and Anne, researched the life cycle of cheetahs.

They compared the life cycle of cheetahs to the life cycle of humans and displayed their findings in a table.

Take your time looking at the information in the table before you look at the question.

 

Life Cycle Stage Cheetah Human
The gestation period in the womb is...  3.5 months 9 months
First opens eyes at... 4–14 days birth
Develops first tooth by... 3 weeks 6 months
Has a full set of milk teeth by... 6 weeks 30 months
Has a full set of permanent teeth by... 8 months 13 years
Starts weaning at... 6 weeks 6–12 months
Is able to walk unaided by... 3 weeks 12–16 months
Average life span is... 10 years 70 years

 

Some major events in the life cycle of a cheetah occur before they do so in humans, others occur afterwards.

 

From the list below, identify three events that occur in the cheetah before they occur in humans.

CORRECT ANSWER
develops first tooth
learns to walk
has a full set of permanent teeth
EDDIE SAYS
Animals like the cheetah live in very harsh environments and face great dangers from a very early age.
Growing teeth and learning to walk early in its life gives the cheetah a much better chance of survival.
  • Question 7

Have another look at the table.

 

Life Cycle Stage Cheetah Human
The gestation period in the womb is...  3.5 months 9 months
First opens eyes at... 4–14 days birth
Develops first tooth by... 3 weeks 6 months
Has a full set of milk teeth by... 6 weeks 30 months
Has a full set of permanent teeth by... 8 months 13 years
Starts weaning at... 6 weeks 6–12 months
Is able to walk unaided by... 3 weeks 12–16 months
Average life span is... 10 years 70 years

 

30 months is approximately 130 weeks.

 

Approximately how many times longer does it take humans to develop a full set of milk teeth compared to a cheetah? 

CORRECT ANSWER
21
EDDIE SAYS
A 130-week period is approximately 21 times longer than 6 weeks. You can work this out quite easily by simply dividing 130 by 6.
The maths isn't that tricky, it's all about spotting the key word 'times' in the question.
  • Question 8

Let's practise a 'how many times' question again. Here's the data.

 

Life Cycle Stage Cheetah Human
The gestation period in the womb is...  3.5 months 9 months
First opens eyes at... 4–14 days birth
Develops first tooth by... 3 weeks 6 months
Has a full set of milk teeth by... 6 weeks 30 months
Has a full set of permanent teeth by... 8 months 13 years
Starts weaning at... 6 weeks 6–12 months
Is able to walk unaided by... 3 weeks 12–16 months
Average life span is... 10 years 70 years

 

Eddie is a human. He was 13 months old when he was first able to walk unaided. 13 months is approximately 56 weeks.

 

Approximately how many times longer did it take Eddie to learn to walk compared to a cheetah?

CORRECT ANSWER
19
EDDIE SAYS
It took Eddie 18 times longer to learn to walk compared to a cheetah. That's pretty amazing, isn't it?
Remember the maths: 56 divided by 3 equals 18.66. If we round this up to the nearest whole number the answer is 19.
  • Question 9

Have another look at the data.

 

Life Cycle Stage Cheetah Human
The gestation period in the womb is...  3.5 months 9 months
First opens eyes at... 4–14 days birth
Develops first tooth by... 3 weeks 6 months
Has a full set of milk teeth by... 6 weeks 30 months
Has a full set of permanent teeth by... 8 months 13 years
Starts weaning at... 6 weeks 6–12 months
Is able to walk unaided by... 3 weeks 12–16 months
Average life span is... 10 years 70 years

 

Why is it important that a cheetah is able to walk by the time it is 3 weeks old?

 

Select two correct answers from the list.

CORRECT ANSWER
Female cheetahs hunt over a range of 800 km, sometimes the cubs will have to move with mum at short notice.
Cheetahs are not very aggressive and are sometimes attacked by other big cats, if they are attacked they need to escape as quickly as possible.
EDDIE SAYS
Could you imagine being a baby cheetah? Life seems very dangerous.
It really is a major survival advantage to a cheetah to be able to walk as early as it possibly can.
  • Question 10

Think about the penguin and the cheetah.

 

PenguinCheetah

 

Both animals are brilliantly adapted to living in their environment.

The table below lists some adaptations of the cheetah and the penguin. Can you match the adaptation to the correct animal?

 

Tick one box only per adaptation.

CORRECT ANSWER
 CheetahPenguin
Incubates an egg in a breed pouch to keep it warm during development
Can walk unaided after just three weeks
Forms a crèche with other animals in its group to keep warm
Develops first teeth after just three weeks
Stores lots of fat under its skin for insulation
EDDIE SAYS
Don't you think, both of these animals do some pretty remarkable things in order to survive the harsh environments in which they live?
---- OR ----

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