Fantastic Mr Fox – Planning Overview

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Dan

Do you want to bring the magic and whimsy of Roald Dahl’s classic, Fantastic Mr Fox, into your classroom?

Not only is this imaginative story an excellent way for students to explore language and creative writing and develop problem-solving skills – but it can also open up some interesting conversations about ethics and morality.

If you’re looking for insight into planning activities related to Fantastic Mr Fox, continue reading – our comprehensive planning overview will equip you with everything you need!

Related: For more, check out our article on My Swordhand Is Singing by Marcus Sedgwick  here.

The Storyline Of Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl

Fantastic Mr Fox follows the titular character and his escape plan to steal food from local farmers, Boggis, Bunce and Bean. After trying various methods to get into the farms, they eventually dig tunnels below them.

As food theft continues, the farmers become increasingly desperate to stop the foxes. They set up shop outside their underground net and devise a series of traps to capture them.

Eventually, through the help of crafty crows and other woodland animals, Fantastic Mr Fox outsmarts the farmers and escapes unharmed with enough food for all his friends.

The story ends with Mr Fox thanking everyone for their support, highlighting how resourcefulness and teamwork can overcome obstacles.

Key Themes In Fantastic Mr Fox

Resourcefulness

Throughout the story, Fantastic Mr Fox shows his resourcefulness by creating innovative ways to evade the farmers and procure food for his friends. He uses items he finds in the woods, such as a dead rabbit, to create a distraction and make his escape.

Teamwork

Despite having limited resources, Mr Fox is willing to work with other animals to succeed, eventually leading to their victory over the farmers.

Perseverance

Even when faced with obstacles like the farmers’ traps and shop set-up outside their tunnels, Fantastic Mr Fox never gives up on trying to find a way out of any situation. This ultimately results in his success despite all odds being against him.

Characters In Fantastic Mr Fox

Fantastic Mr Fox

The titular character, Mr Fox, is the leader of his group and is constantly devising innovative ways to outwit the farmers and steal food. He also serves as a role model amongst the animals with his brave attitude and resourcefulness.

Boggis, Bunce and Bean

Three local farmers desperately search for the foxes that keep stealing their food. To stop them, they set up traps around the farms to capture them.

The Crows

Crafty birds assist Fantastic Mr Fox when he needs help escaping the farmers’ traps. They assist him by providing distraction and helping him flee without harming him or his friends.

Badger

The wise badger mentors Fantastic Mr Fox, offering him wisdom and advice on surviving against the farmers.

Activities To Accompany Fantastic Mr Fox

Creative Storytelling: Have students create their own fox-inspired stories by drawing from book elements, such as characters, setting and plot. They can use these stories to explore themes such as resourcefulness and teamwork.

Problem-Solving Activity: Have students brainstorm innovative solutions for Fantastic Mr Fox’s hunger for food for his group.

Moral Dilemma Discussion: Prompt a discussion about the ethical dilemmas presented in the book, such as whether stealing from the farmers was justified.

These activities help engage students with Fantastic Mr Fox and open conversations about its key themes and characters. Plus, they’re an excellent way for students to explore language and creative writing and develop problem-solving skills.

Lesson Plans for Fantastic Mr Fox

Creative Storytelling Lesson Plan

Objective:

To have students use the elements of story writing to create a Fox-inspired story that explores themes such as resourcefulness and teamwork.

Introduction:

Introduce the book Fantastic Mr Fox and its plot. Explain that Aesop’s Fable inspires it but is written in a more modern style. Discuss the main characters, setting and action of the story.

Main Teaching Points:

Have students identify key themes from the book, such as resourcefulness and teamwork. Discuss how these themes influenced how Fantastic Mr Fox went about his mission to provide food for his group.

Then, discuss ways to break down the creative process of story writing into its most basic components, such as characters, plot, dialogue and setting. Finally, have students apply their knowledge by creating their own Fox-inspired stories that adhere to what they’ve discussed in this lesson.

Reflection:

Wrap things up by discussing how their stories reflected their understanding of the themes in Fantastic Mr Fox.

Problem-Solving Activity Lesson Plan

Objective:

Have students brainstorm innovative solutions to Fantastic Mr Fox’s hunger and food scarcity problem.

Introduction:

Introduce the book and discuss the plot of Fantastic Mr Fox’s goal of providing food for his group. Please explain how the farmers, Boggis, Bunce, and Beanset, put up traps trying to capture Mr Fox and his group.

Main Teaching Points:

Have students identify ways Fantastic Mr Fox could outwit the farmers and obtain food for his group. Then, discuss how this could be adapted into an activity by having them brainstorm solutions for similar scenarios.

Discuss how each answer should consider ethical implications associated with stealing from others. Finally, have them develop innovative solutions as a group or individual that would satisfy their needs without putting themselves in danger.

Reflection:

Wrap things up by discussing their experience brainstorming solutions together as a class and draw parallels between their process and what Fantastic Mr Fox did in the story.

Moral Dilemma Discussion Lesson Plan

Objective:

To have students discuss the moral dilemmas posed by Fantastic Mr Fox’s mission to provide food for his group.

Introduction:

Introduce the book and discuss the plot concerning Fantastic Mr Fox’s mission and how it caused tension between him and the farmers. Explain how stealing from others has profound ethical implications, even if done out of necessity or because of unjust practices.

Main Teaching Points:

Have students brainstorm situations in which stealing from other people may be justified. Ask them to consider both sides of the argument, personal needs vs societal norms. Lead a discussion on these topics while encouraging them to think critically and express their opinions without judgement.

Reflection:

Wrap things up with a discussion on why understanding ethical concepts can help lead to better decision-making in life.

Recommended Reading List

  • The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams: A story about a toy rabbit coming to life and its struggles with developing real emotions.
  • Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh: A book exploring themes of identity, friendship, and honesty as Harriet navigates her world as an independent young girl.
  • Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White: A children’s classic about an unlikely friendship between a pig and a spider where both creatures must rely on one another for survival.
  • The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein: An illustrated narrative about selflessness and unconditional love as demonstrated through the relationship between a boy and an apple tree.
  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak: Follows a young boy as he explores his imagination and learns life lessons through his journey.
  • Stuart Little by E.B. White: A classic about a mouse who is born into an adoptive family and how he strives to find his place in the world.
  • The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: A mysterious story of friendship, love, and self-discovery that has captivated readers across generations.
  • James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl: An adventure tale about the unlikely friendship between a curious young boy and six friendly bugs inside a giant peach.

Website Resources

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJofxwa5bMo

This resource from TES offers twelve interactive tasks for exploring Roald Dahl’s famous book, “Fantastic Mr Fox”. It includes activities that bring the story to life, such as recreating the fox’s den and creating characters from various animal masks. This resource is perfect for a group project or class activity! Link

Literacy Shed Plus offers an in-depth analysis of the themes and motifs of “Fantastic Mr Fox”. This comprehensive resource can be used to deepen students’ appreciation of the text and address important topics such as empathy and morality. Link

This six-lesson block from TES provides a range of activities exploring characters and themes from “Fantastic Mr Fox” through art, drama, debate, writing, and other media tasks. The lessons help develop an understanding of morals and emotions presented throughout the story in creative ways. Link

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