Mobs and Meerkats

article by Sue Murray , photo by Alamy

Learning intentions:

I am learning to summarise information that I read in a text and present it in a logical sequence so that I can communicate my knowledge effectively with others.


Success criteria:

  • I can understand how to read information and identify the main points
  • I can present acquired information in my own words
  • I can work with a group to create a presentation based on what we learnt


Prior to reading the text, explain to the class that they will be working in groups to summarise information in one section of the article and present it to the class so everyone can learn different things from each other about meerkats. Inform students that to summarise something, they need to read it and understand what the main points are, then write those points in their own words. Explain that they will be writing a summary of their section in order and using pictures to go with their points.

Read through the first section in full (What is a meerkat?) as a class. Read through again, this time pausing after every 1-2 sentences to summarise the main points and write them on the board. You should end up with a summary similar to the following:



  • The word meerkat means ‘lake cat’ in the South African language Afrikaans even though it is not a cat and doesn’t live in a lake.
  • It is a small mammal from the mongoose family that lives in the desert.
  • Meerkats balance on their tails when they stand upright.
  • They use their long, curved claws on their front paws to dig for food and burrow into the ground and the claws on their back paws to climb trees and shrubs.
  • Every meerkat has a different pattern of stripes. They also have thin fur and black skin on their bellies. This helps them stay warm because black absorbs the heat better.


Divide students into nine groups and assign one sub-headed section to each group for them to summarise. If available, provide a software application such as PowerPoint, Google Slides or Canva for Education for their presentations, and allow students to search for meerkat images online. Alternatively, they may wish to create a presentation on paper or in their books and create meerkat illustrations to accompany their points. Explain that they should have one slide or page per point at a relevant image to go with each.