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Elephant Feast

  • Key Stage 3
  • Topical

Type: Activity
Learning Strategy: Role play
Topic: Food & digestion

Work on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link has revealed clues about the diet of early humans 400,000 years ago. Armed with only wooden spears, and flint tools to butcher the meat, a tribe of Homo heidelbergensis successfully killed and butchered a huge 10-tonne elephant, leaving enough remains behind for scientists to picture the scenario. A stone age Lotto win for these Kent inhabitants!

This activity re-visits this time, and then challenges students to use their knowledge of balanced diets to apply for a new TV reality show: The Cave.

Curriculum link: food and digestion

Published: 4th July 2006
Reviews & Comments: 2

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Learning objectives

Students will apply their knowledge of balanced diets in a new context.

Try the activity


You will need Acrobat Reader installed to open the activity sheets.

Unit 8a Food and digestion
• That foods are a source of raw materials for the body
• That foods are the energy resource to maintain the body's activities (growth, repair and movement)
• That foods contain a mix of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, fibre and water
• That a healthy diet contains a balance of foodstuffs

This activity could also be used as pre-GCSE extension work.

Running the activity

Possible starter
Display page 1 – a contemporaneous newspaper report – to set the scene. Get students to discuss whether they would eat elephant meat themselves. How would they eat it? What would happen to the leftovers? What would be the nutritional benefits? Take a class vote if you wish.

Then tell students they will be applying to take part in a new TV reality show in which they might well get the chance to try elephant meat!

If you wish, use the information at the start of these teachers' notes, and the websites below, to tell students how scientists found out about the elephant kill of 400,000 years ago.

Main activity:
Display page 2 – another page from the newspaper – and get students to study the information on it. Ask students if they have heard of jerky, pemmican or biltong, which are all meats that have been dried to preserve them, just as elephant meat was 400,000 years ago.

Give individuals or groups copies of page 3, which asks them to apply to take part in a new reality TV show – The Cave. Students will need the information on pages 1 and 2 to produce appropriate answers to the questions. They will need to use their imagination – or the information on the final website listed below – to create dried elephant meat recipes.

News links

BBC news
News Story about the elephant remains find.
BBC news
Another BBC news story about same find – from a more local slant.
Oxford Archaeology
Oxford archaeology site including a really concise article 'Elephant Hunters of the stone age.'
Southampton University
Website from Southampton University about the man who dug the site up.
Archaeology information
All you need to know about 'Heidelberg man' and more.
Wikipedia
All about 'jerky' and other dried meat

Reviews & Comments

Write your online review to share your feedback and classroom tips with other teachers. How well does it work, how engaging is it, how did you use it, and how could it be improved?

Elephant Feast review

Aug 1st, 2006

5 Star

I am new to this site and am having a marvellous time exploring the possibilities to try out in the new term Thank you

Reviewer: Helen Millard

Elephant Feast

Jul 18th, 2006

5 Star

an exellent end of term activity.
i was able to adapt it to use with a low ability and also a special needs group-- keep up the good work

Reviewer: allison poole

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