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Teachers: PSHE: Loss

Last Updated: Wednesday September 20 2006 15:40 GMT

Marking a death

Dealing with loss


Steve Irwin's zoo in Australia

More than 5,000 people have gathered to remember TV naturalist Steve Irwin at his zoo in Australia. The special memorial service was shown on TV around the world.

In the two weeks following his death, thousands of fans had left flowers, cards and even khaki shirts outside the zoo he ran.

Children discuss the value of memorials and design their own to commemorate the death of this adventurous animal expert.

Learning aims
  • How memorials help grieving
  • Different types of memorial
Main activity

Ask the group:

Present and discuss some of the memorial ideas that can be found in the Teachers' Background.

Children can either:

  • Design a fitting memorial for Steve.

  • Write a poem to remember his life.
Ideas might include: Include an explanation of the thinking behind the memorial design or poem.

Extension activity

Children construct a model of their memorial.

About 30cm in height should be fine so that the ideas can be displayed more easily.


Children present their designs and poems and explain the thinking behind them.

Teachers' Background
  • When pop star Freddie Mercury, the frontman of Queen, died in 1991, the remaining members of his band decided a concert would be a fitting memorial for him. The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert was held on April 20, 1992, at London's Wembley Stadium. It was shown on TV around the world and all the proceeds went to Aids research.

  • Diana, Princess of Wales, was killed in a car crash in 1997. Her death was greeted with massive public grief and an extraordinary spontaneous memorial was created around her home at Kensington Palace in London. More than one million bouquets were left there by members of the public. Her funeral at Westminster Abbey attracted millions of mourners.

  • Kurt Cobain of the band Nirvana died in 1994. He has no marked grave, so lots of fans visit a Park, near his former home, to pay tribute. On the anniversary of his death, fans gather in the park and celebrate his life and memory.
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