Investigating Aesop's Fables: Texts, Contexts and Transformations

Author: Peter Adams, Publisher: Phoenix

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
More Information
Year Level Year 7, Year 8
Date of Publication 2014
ISBN 9781921586682
Subject English
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