Phoenix Education Online

Investigating Aesop's Fables: Texts, Contexts and Transformations


Stock: Available

Product Code: 978-1-921586-68-2

by Peter Adams

Investigating Aesop’s Fables is an engaging, stimulating and challenging resource for junior secondary students which will help teachers implement the Australian Curriculum: English in an integrated and thoughtful way.

In the course of this unit of work, students investigate what makes a fable a fable, the relationship between Aesop’s fables and the society in which they were produced and circulated, and the ways in which one particular fable, ‘The Ant and the Grasshopper’, has been told and retold over the years, by writers and visual artists as various as Jean de La Fontaine, Gustave Doré, Walt Disney, Somerset Maugham and John Ciardi. A diverse range of other texts is included, from a World War 1 propaganda poster to a political blog.

Assessment tasks have been constructed to provide clear evidence of students’ achievement of the relevant Standard.

 'This is a wonderfully engaging yet challenging set of resources and approaches to teaching about literature and language in ways clearly and coherently aligned with the Australian Curriculum English. Highly recommended.' Opion, SAETA, March 2016




Part 1: Aesop, his fables and their world

Introductory activities

Student Resource 1

Aesop’s fables: what are they like and what are they for?

Student Resource 2

How do animal fables work?  

Student Resource 3

Are these stories fables?

Student Resource 4

Fables in context

Student Resource 5

Whose interests are served?

Student Resource 6

Part 2: ‘The Ant and the Grasshopper’ – the never–ending story?

Continuity and variation

Student Resource 7

‘The Cicada and the Ant’ by Jean de La Fontaine

Student Resource 8

‘The Cicada and the Ant’ by Gustave Doré

Student Resource 9

“The Grasshopper and the Ants’ by Walt Disney Productions

Student Resource 10

Student Resource 11

‘The Ant and the Grasshopper’ by W. Somerset Maugham

Student Resource 12

Student Resource 13

Student Resource 14

Student Resource 15

Student Resource 16

Student Resource 17

Student Resource 18

Part 3: Assessment

Performance task: text analysis and interpretation

Student Resource 19


‘John J. Plenty and Fiddler Dan’ by John Ciardi

Notes on Francisco Sancha’s ‘The Tortoise and the Eagle’

The Australian Curriculum: English