In the Enchanted Kingdom film, African Elephants (Loxodonta Africana) are presented. These elephants are very determined as they need to drink more water than any other animal, yet in the dry season in the Kalahari family herds must walk for miles before they can find water.

The herd is led by an older mother, the matriarch, and her great memory and her skill at leading the family to water keeps them alive during this tough period. The matriarch passes this knowledge down through the generations. The families face many other dangers, such as leopards, hyenas and lions that will try to catch and eat their children. So in order to survive each individual adult elephant must be committed to the wellbeing of the whole herd – the word used to describe this commitment to a common cause is solidarity.


What this unit will give you
Knowledge to guide your students to complete this project

  • In this project, students will explore vocabulary to describe animals and their behaviours
  • They will write a poem during this process of exploration and may record their work
  • They will create a performance using skills attained through the project

What this project will give your students

Learning Objectives

To prepare poems and perform them aloud, showing understanding through intonation, tone and volume so that the meaning is clear to an audience.

Project Aim/Question
To plan, write and perform a poem inspired by the wildlife of the Scorched Plains.
Key Language
Metaphor, similie, adjective, adverb, rhyme, syllable.




Stage 1 - Walking with Elephants

Hwange has a high number of lions and during the dry season they concentrate around the water, waiting to prey on baby elephants. It’s important for the families to keep their babies close, as the lions cannot get them if they are within the herd. The lions hunt mainly at night as they can create more confusion and the elephants do not have great nocturnal eye sight.The family must stick together.

African Elephants


Older Female Elephants Are Wiser Matriarchs


What you can do

  • Divide your students into pairs - one is to take on the role of an elephant and the other the role of a hunter. Pairs are to complete a vocabulary mind map capturing the characteristics of each animal e.g. movement, sound, physical appearance and personality. This should be further developed to produce sense words, descriptive words, similes and metaphors. Students can use M8 – Mind Maps to help structure their planning.
  • Pairs should use their planning to help write a poem based on the wildlife that they are studying

M8! - Mind Map
Students can use M8 – Mind Maps to help capture their ideas.

Stage 2 - Composing the Poems

What you can do

  • With your class, examine a range of poetry - you should decide on a suitable style of poetry, for example shorter Haikus for younger or less able students or sonnets for those who are developing mastery
  • Guide the class, or divide your class into smaller groups if you wish, to write a shared poem
  • Students then compose their poems, relying on their planning notes and/or on examples of good work if necessary
  • Recommended that students supplement their poem with pictures

Students can can record themselves narrating their poems using Office Mix.


Stage 3 - Walking with Elephants Show
Enrichment Activities

What you can do - Geography Activity
Droughts endanger lives and livelihoods through thirst, hunger and the spread of disease.

  • Students can explore the cause and effects of drought and its impact on animals and humans

Worst Drought in 26 Years Threatens the Survival of the Last Desert Elephants in West Africa


What you can do - Maths Activity

  • Have your students calculate the body mass of different sized elephants
  • Once calculated, students can consider the volume of water that different sized elephants must consume in order to survive

Support for less able students should take the form of shared planning with a teacher or member of support staff.

Ensure that students have ample rehearsal time to build their confidence.

Students could also be given word banks of pre-prepared adjectives.

In order to challenge more able students,teachers should be prepared to take a step back and allow groups to take ideas and ‘run with them'. They should be given the opportunity to take risks with their writing,choosing other creatures from throughout the project and developing their own style of writing.