Disneynature has released their annual Earth Day movie, this time it's about Elephants and features narration by Megan, The Duchess of Sussex. You can watch this movie along with it's companion documentary on Disney+. This is a great movie to use as an introduction to the species and it's role as a keystone species. This movie is accessible to all ages, but the narrative nature will really draw in elementary age children. At a running time of 1 hour and 29 minutes, it is a touch on the long side for younger students, but is engaging enough that most will be able to make it through in one sitting. I will caution that the entire "Circle of Life" is depicted so if you have very sensitive children you might want to preview the movie and prepare them.
Disneynature has provided both an Activity Packet and Educator's Guide for this movie. The Educator's Guide is packed full of great content for Grades 2-6, broken down into specific lessons for Grades 2 and 3, and other lessons for Grades 4 through 6. All lessons are aligned to U.S. Standards in ELA, Social Studies, Art, and Math.
One of the lessons topics included is "Elephants As a Keystone Species". Detailed background information is provided for the educator about the geographic regions in the movie, Botswana’s Okavango Delta and Kalahari Desert, and the role elephants play in the ecosystem. The two lesson plans that are provided in this section focus on having students examine ecosystems. Worksheets are provided and curriculum links are highlighted. This set of lessons, although not as focused on the role of elephants as keystone species as I would like, are engaging, hands on and well put together. Other lessons topics focus on the arts, elephant communication, the water cycle, and conservation.
Overall this is a nice collection of lessons to use with your students. Check back for a blog post on links to Disney's Animal Kingdom coming soon.