Wladyslaw Slesicki

Poland, 1973



• Polish
• History
• Natural Sciences
• Geography
• Biology



Topic of the lesson

Journey through Africa as a coming-of-age process

Prepared by: Kamila Żyto

Educational level:  primary school

Duration: 2 ×45 minutes (plus the time for watching the film)

After the classes the student:

– will know the geography of Africa, the location of the most important countries and the racial structure of the population,

– will be able to name the geographical regions of Africa, characterize their flora and fauna and describe their topography,

– will be able to use educational aids,

– will be familiar with the characteristics of a road movie,

– will be able to analyse the symbols connected with a journey,

– will be able to describe transformations that the characters undergo, i.e. to characterize them,

– will be able to point out the events that had the greatest influence on the characters’ “evolution,”

– will be able to notice the connection between the changes in the character’s personality and his or her appearance, as well as the changes in his or her surroundings.

Methods of work
heuresis, mini-lecture, mental map, brainstorming, working with supporting materials, group work

Course of the classes:

1st part of the classes: GEOGRAPHY

  1. Students are divided into three groups and asked to note down the following while watching the film:
  2. a) animals appearing in the film,
  3. b) plants appearing in the film,
  4. c) describing the land topography in connection with the changing climatic zones.
  5. The lesson is started with working in the previously-created subgroups. Using a geographical atlas, e.g. an atlas of plants and animals, dictionaries and encyclopaedic compendia of geographical knowledge, the students try to identify and name African animals, plants or regions.
  6. The three groups work together. Using their newly-acquired knowledge, e.g. about the natural habitats of elephants or lions, or names of cities and other places they learnt from the film (e.g. Port Said, Khartoum), they draw the route of Staś and Nel’s journey on a physical map.
  7. Then they try to connect the geographical locations with the events.

PART II Literature

  1. The group, with the teacher’s support, discuss the symbolic character of road and journey. The students’ associations are written down in the form of a diagram. It can be a tree diagram or two sets of items (depending on the course of the associative process).
  2. The teacher provides a definition and characteristics of a road movie.
  3. The students are divided into two groups and, using the map created during the previous lesson, they:
  4. a) divide Staś and Nel’s adventures into positive (meeting the elephant and the traveller) and negative ones (fire, kidnapping, destruction of the African village) [GROUP I]
  5. b) point out those events in the film that make the young characters more mature and grown-up.
  6. The students are assigned a homework: writing a short essay on the following subject: The meaning of the title In Desert and Wilderness

Topic of the lesson

Journeys and adventures — on the basis of Henryk Sienkiewicz’s In Desert and Wilderness and its film adaptation

Prepared by: Jadwiga Mostowska

Educational level:  primary school

Duration: 2 x  45 minutes (plus the time for watching the film)

Learning objectives:

  • learning about literary and film conventions and motifs characteristic for a specific literary/film genre — travel and adventure novel, adventure film and introduction to analysis and interpretation of a cinematographic work;
  • the ability to draw conclusions,
  • development of group work skills,
  • practising the ability to form and express opinions and judgements on the film’s subject matter.

Methods of work
 brainstorming, moderated discussion, free talk, individual and group work

Course of the classes:

The teacher asks students to try to decide what is the main subject of Henryk Sienkiewicz’s novel and then — what type of novel it is. To facilitate the second part of the task, the teacher can prepare sheets of paper with types of novels written on them (e.g. fantasy novel, psychological novel, adventure novel, crime novel, etc.) and ask students to select the correct one, and then place it on the blackboard.

Then the teacher explains to the students the basic characteristics of an adventure novel: dynamic action, events often occurring during a journey, action taking place in exotic countries, possible historical motifs (background), the protagonist demonstrating his bravery and courage, entertaining the readers, but also providing them with certain educational or moralizing contents.

To check if the students understand the characteristics of an adventure novel, the teacher asks them to give other examples (titles) of such novels they are familiar with (e.g. Jules Verne’s or Alfred Szklarski’s works).

The teacher refers to film adaptations of Sienkiewicz’s novel, pointing out that cinema also can be divided into specific genres, including adventure film.

Its purpose — as in the case of adventure novel — is entertainment. It is characterized by such inherent elements as: the motif of journey (travel), lively action, exotic setting, brave protagonist who never loses heart in the face of adversity, etc. As scenes of escape, fighting, pursuit, etc. have great influence on the film’s reception, they require dynamic editing (of image and sound), music and sound effects, as well as special effects. In addition, an important element of an adventure film are stunts.

To make the students better understand the characteristics of an adventure film, the teacher can play selected fragments of the film In Desert and Wilderness and analyse them with the students.



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