Learning Resources for A is for Animals: an A to Z of animals in war

An Australian War Memorial travelling exhibition.

Boys with Roff the dog Boys with Roff the dog A is for Animals: an A to Z of animals in war is an interactive exhibition that explores a range of themes relating to animals in war. Students will explore and discover the role animals played and their symbolic use. Additionally it will explore the unwelcome animals in war.

A is for Animals uses the alphabet as a structure to explore each theme. Each letter provides a particular focus that includes a selection of relevant stories and items to support the theme. Some of these are humorous, whilst others are heart-warming, quirky, serious and some are even very sad.

A detailed teacher kit containing a unit of work around the themes is available from the Australian War Memorial website. The kit contains lesson ideas, curriculum links and worksheet templates.

The big ideas explored in this exhibition include:

  • Animals played varying roles in the war,  A group portrait of Australians with their mascot, a dog named Spaghetti.

    Australian soldiers and mascot dog 'Spaghetti'.

  • Some animals were helpful in the war,
  • Some animals were not helpful in the war,
  • Animals played different roles in different wars,
  • The role of animals was influenced by the place they were, events and developments in Technology,
  • We learn about war and peace times through museums, the Australian War Memorial, libraries and Internet sites,
  • Symbols are constructed and can represent different meanings to different groups.


During a visit to this exhibition, students have opportunities to:

  • Understand that the role of animals changed throughout war because of developments in technology.
  • Understand that we learn from collection items stored in the Australian War Memorial and other museums.
  • Understand that stories help us to learn about things that happened in the past.
  • Understand that we can learn about the past from special objects people keep, restore and replicate.
  • Develop an interest in finding out about Australia and the lives of Australians at different times.
  • Appreciate and respect the diversity of Australians and their contributions to the development of Australia.
  • Develop a sense of identity as an Australian.
  • Respect the perspectives, beliefs and achievements of people in different times and places and value their heritage.
  • Appreciate the world events that have shaped our lives today.


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