Harry The Poisonous Centipede – Planning Overview

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Dan

Have you ever wanted to give your class a book that would let children explore the world of fiction and teach them valuable lessons? Look no further than Harry The Poisonous Centipede by Lynne Reid Banks—a captivating adventure story that will have your students wholly hooked.

With its endearing characters, thrilling plot twists, and unique educational opportunities, this classic novel offers plenty of storytelling fun while helping children develop their reading comprehension skills.

In this blog post, we’ll outline an overview for planning activities related to the novel so you can maximize its potential in your classroom!

Related: For more, check out our article The Boy At The Back Of The Class by Onjali Q. Rauf  here.

Harry The Poisonous Centipede Storyline

Harry is a young centipede who can’t help but be curious about the world outside of his family’s burrow in an old shoe. One day, he and his friend George venture into the “no-top-world” against Belinda’s warnings. They discover new and wondrous creatures but also face danger in the form of humans – the biggest threat to them.

Harry bravely faces these dangers and learns how valuable friendship can be, even in unexpected places. Along the way, he discovers essential lessons about courage, loyalty, and facing one’s fears – all with a humorous twist.

Ross’s line drawings capture all the action and emotions of Harry’s adventures, making this story a delight for readers 8+.

Themes in Harry The Poisonous Centipede

Courage

The story of Harry, the Poisonous Centipede, is filled with themes of courage, particularly when Harry and George face potentially deadly situations. Despite his young age, Harry shows remarkable bravery by putting himself in danger to protect his family from harm.

He must summon his wits to save his own life and Belinda’s when they both wind up in a human’s shower. This journey teaches him about courage and facing one’s fears.

Loyalty

Loyalty is also an essential theme in this story, particularly between Harry and his family. Though he doesn’t always heed Belinda’s warnings, Harry loves her dearly and protects her at all costs.

His loyalty extends beyond his mother, as he looks out for George during their adventures despite the other centipede’s reckless behaviour. As they navigate the no-top world together, they learn how valuable loyalty can be.

Friendship

Harry discovers that friendship can also be found in unlikely places during his journey beyond the burrow. Even with their differences in size, humans and centipedes can have strong connections if bravely faced with open minds.

Through George and, later on, even humans, Harry finds comfort in friendship when faced with difficult circumstances, which carries him through the story until its end.

Characters in “Harry The Poisonous Centipede”

Harry

Harry is the story’s protagonist, a young poisonous centipede who often gets into trouble but is just as quick to escape it. He is devoted to his mother, Belinda, and despite how reckless his friend George can be, he always looks out for him.

Harry learns important lessons about courage, loyalty, and friendship through his adventures with George that help him conquer any challenge.

Belinda

Belinda is Harry’s mother and the one who helps keep him safe from humans when they venture outside the burrow. She dutifully warns them against exploring and biting humans, but in the end, she still comes through to save her son when he gets into too much trouble.

By grinding the human on their first journey together outside the burrow, Belinda also serves as a reminder of why it’s essential to appreciate and protect wildlife.

George

George is Harry’s friend who isn’t afraid to explore the no-top world with him or tease him when he seems too scared. His reckless behaviour puts both of them in danger but also allows for some of their biggest successes – like catching a mole cricket for dinner – which shows that sometimes taking risks can bring rewards. His unique perspective helps Harry learn essential life lessons throughout their adventures together.

Related: For more, check out our article Henry V here.

Teaching Opportunities From “Harry The Poisonous Centipede”

  • Discussing courage and facing one’s fears.
  • Exploring loyalty between family members and friends.
  • Appreciating the importance of friendship and how it can be found even in unlikely places.
  • Analyzing why it is essential to protect wildlife, not just within one’s species.
  • Examining the risks and rewards of taking calculated risks, especially in difficult situations.
  • Encouraging students to find ways to relate to characters despite their differences.

Lesson Plans

Lesson Plan 1 – Exploring Courage and Facing Fears

Objectives

  • Students will be able to identify and discuss different aspects of courage.
  • Students will understand the importance of facing fears to grow.

Introduction

Start by introducing Harry and his story, then explain why it is essential for humans to face our fears to grow. You could even use an example from your experience or the book itself.

Teaching Points

  • Discuss the idea of courage: what makes someone brave, common fears, how we can help each other face them, etc.
  • Use examples from Harry’s story to illustrate how he met his fears, such as when he ventured outside the burrow despite his mother’s warnings or went into battle against larger foes.
  • Have students create their own stories of bravery by drawing on concepts they learned during the lesson and identifying ways they have overcome fear.

Reflections & Key Questions

At the end of the lesson, allow students time to reflect on what they’ve learned and think about questions like: How can I become brave? What is courage all about? How can I support my friends when they are afraid?

Lesson Plan 2 – Exploring Loyalty

Objectives

  • Students will be able to identify different types of loyalty.
  • Students will understand the importance of being loyal and the rewards that come with it.

Introduction

Introduce Harry’s quest for his lost family and explain why it is essential for humans to stay loyal to those close to us. You could even use an example from your experience or the book itself.

Teaching Points

  • Discuss the idea of loyalty: what makes someone loyal, why it is essential to be dedicated, how we can show our loyalty, etc.
  • Use examples from Harry’s story to illustrate the importance of loyalty, such as when he sets out on a quest for his lost family or chooses not to tell stories about his adventures until he is reunited.
  • Have students create their own stories centring around themes of loyalty by drawing on concepts they learned during the lesson and identifying ways they can practice loyalty in their own lives.

Reflections & Key Questions

At the end of the lesson plan, allow students time to reflect on what they’ve learned and think about questions like: What does loyalty mean? What are my obligations when I am being loyal? Is there ever a reason not to be reliable?

Lesson Plan 3 – Exploring Leadership

Objectives

  • Students will be able to identify and discuss different aspects of leadership.
  • Students will understand the importance of taking the initiative and having a goal to be an influential leader.

Introduction

Introduce Harry’s quest to prove his worth, then explain why it is essential for humans to take the initiative when faced with adversity. You could even use an example from your experience or the book itself.

Teaching Points

  • Discuss the idea of leadership: what makes someone a good leader, how one can lead effectively, etc.
  • Use examples from Harry’s story to illustrate how he became an effective leader, such as when he formed Dumbledore’s Army and encouraged other students to participate or rallied those around him against Voldemort.
  • Have students create their own stories about leadership by drawing on concepts they learned during the lesson and identifying ways to be better leaders in their daily lives.

Reflections & Key Questions

At the end of the lesson plan, allow students time to reflect on what they’ve learned and think about questions like What makes a successful leader? What do I need to become a good leader? How can I make sure everyone is heard?

Lesson Plan 4 – Exploring Bravery

Objectives

  • Students will be able to identify different types of bravery.
  • Students will understand the importance of being brave and the rewards that come with it.

Introduction

Introduce Harry’s courage in the face of danger and explain why it is essential for humans to embrace bravery. You could even use an example from your experience or the book itself.

Teaching Points

  • Discuss the idea of bravery: what makes someone brave, why it is essential to be bold, how we can show our bravery, etc.
  • Use examples from Harry’s story to illustrate the power of bravery, such as when he faced Voldemort to protect his friends or when he stepped up against Dolores Umbridge even though he knew there were consequences for his actions.
  • Have students create their own stories centring around themes of bravery by drawing on concepts they learned during the lesson and identifying ways they can be braver in their lives.

Reflections & Key Questions

At the end of the lesson plan, allow students time to reflect on what they’ve learned and think about questions like: What does bravery mean to me? How do I know when I am brave? Can anyone be daring?

Books with Similar Themes

  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • Divergent by Veronica Roth
  • The Maze Runner by James Dashner
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
  • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Website Resources

Harry, the Poisonous Centipede’s Big Adventure , is a guided reading pack full of questions and answers about the classic children’s book by Lynne Reid Banks. It includes 150 questions with scripted responses to help teachers facilitate students’ learning during group or individual reading sessions.

Harry the Poisonous Centipede KS2 Guided Reading Pack – 150 Questions with Answers is an extensive resource for teaching Harry the Poisonous Centipede’s Big Adventure to grade 4 and 5 students. The pack contains an introduction to the novel, complete with a plot summary, character descriptions and illustrations, and over 150 comprehension questions for students to answer to build their understanding of the story and its themes.

[Quiz on Harry the Poisonous Centipede’s Big Adventure by Lynne Reid Banks](https://www.tes.com/teaching-resource/quiz-on-harry-the-poisonous

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