Authors Live: Darren Shan - A Cross-Curricular Zombie Project Part 2

As part of our Teacher Ambassador Programme, staff at McLaren High School in Stirling took Authors Live: Darren Shan and used it as a central focus for their annual S1 Curriculum for Excellence Challenge. Here they share activity ideas to inspire you to run your own zombie project!

Zombie Science

Zombie Science: Worst Case Scenario was a spoof science tutorial delivered by Dr Austin from Glasgow University to all of the S1 pupils as part of their CfE Challenge and also to the whole of S2 and S3. The highly entertaining tutorial taught real science, including the difference between a virus and bacterial infection and various disease treatments such as vaccines, antibiotics and gene therapy in an amusing and accessible way. This event was sponsored by the Wellcome Trust and more information can be found at

Shelter Building

The intention for the shelter-building groups was to hone their team-working skills and improve their non-verbal communication skills. This activity also allowed them to get to know an area of woodland that is very close to the school in more detail, which ties in closely with the John Muir award that they are working towards. It also allows the students to use only natural materials whilst overcoming some practical barriers that they would not normally have to deal with.

All groups did succeed in building their shelters and gained valuable communication and team-working skills and experience.

-Niall Williamson (CfE Challenge Team)

First Aid

My groups did some basic First Aid to treat the kind of problems you might encounter if under attack from zombies! We covered things like recovery position for people who might faint, bandages for small cuts and how to deal with hyper-ventilation if people are panicking.

-Susan Chalmers (CfE Challenge Team)

Living in Harmony

We looked at stereotyping/discrimination and how humans have learned to live with predators in the past/present. So we discussed ways to safely live alongside zombies. Then we pretended to be an activist group trying to convince others why we should try to live in harmony with these once 'undead' relatives. We created posters to do this and some had slogans like, "Zombies need love too!" "Zombies have hearts!" "Hug a Zombie!" We also spoke about the possibility of finding a cure, so we wouldn't want to kill off people that we know if there was a potential cure.

-Lorna Hardie (CfE Challenge Team) 

Survival Plan

The aim of this activity was to improve literacy skills in talking and writing by group discussions and text creation. As a whole group we began by discussing what happens when a large number of people start panicking in response to a threat, whether real or perceived, and the benefits of having a plan. The pupils were then split into small groups to discuss creating a survival plan and make decisions, giving reasons for them. They were given headings such as People, Location etc along with examples of when there might be difficulties, e.g. traffic jams in cities or zombies able to outwait humans in a siege situation.

Then pupils were asked to write up a survival plan either in the form of a poster, guide or leaflet. Guidance for layout and examples were given. Pupils could complete this task either as a group or individually and use ICT if they preferred.

All groups were very engaged by the subject and had some thoughtful discussions with well-communicated ideas and opinions and contributions from all. They used a variety of materials to create their plans and considered the impact of layout and presentation.

-Louise Edwards (LRC Coordinator)

Zombie Dance

Pupils were shown the beginning steps of a Zombie Dance and then asked to choreograph their own interpretation to complete the dance to allow for maximum creativity.

-Catherine Wiedmann (CfE Challenge Team)

Zombie Packing

I designed a lesson looking at Zombie Survival Packing, linking with the Numeracy aspect of CfE. Pupils were asked to think of items they would require to survive a zombie attack (tents, hiking boots, water, chocolate, flares and X-Box were all suggested). Pupils were then given a shopping list to select items from, with a total budget of £250. They also had to consider the weight of the items. Halfway through the task, an alert flashed up, stating that a pupil had broken their leg and the group must lighten their load by 10kgs in order to carry the wounded person. Pupils then had to feedback to the other groups.

-Lyndsey Drysdale (CfE Challenge Team)

To read more about how McLaren High School got involved in our Teacher Ambassador Programme, take a look at Louise's first blog entry.

If you've been inspired to devise your own zombie project for pupils in your school, start by watching Authors Live: Darren Shan and reading the accompanying free learning resources.

Louise Edwards

Louise Edwards is LRC Coordinator at McLaren High School in Stirling. She recently took part in our Teacher Ambassador Programme which seeks to explore the creative potential of our Authors Live events in the classroom.