Benin c. CE 900 - 1300
The Benin Kingdom

Learn about the rise and establishment of the Benin Kingdom. Consider what brought the Edo people to the rainforests of Benin and how the empire grew. Use freeze framing, image making and role play to bring this learning to life.

Session 1 Foundation of the kingdom

Objectives

History

  • Continue to develop a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of British, local and world history, establishing clear narratives within and across the periods they study.
  • Construct informed responses that involve thoughtful selection and organisation of relevant historical information.

Geography

  • Describe and understand key aspects of physical geography, including: climate zones, biomes and vegetation belts, rivers, mountains, volcanoes and earthquakes, and the water cycle.
  • Understand human geography, including: types of settlement and land use, economic activity including trade links, and the distribution of natural resources including energy, food, minerals and water.

English

  • Extend pupils’ confidence, enjoyment and mastery of language through public speaking, performance and debate.

Teaching and Activities

Remind each other of the Benin timeline, before looking deeper into the rise and establishment of the Benin Empire. Locate Benin on a world map and look at that area of Africa as it is today. Consider what brought the Edo peoples to the rainforests of Benin. Use freeze framing to imagine what it was like to first settle in Benin in the 900s in small villages.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To learn about the earliest history of Benin.
  • To explore the West African rainforest and what settlement would have looked like in early Benin.
  • To use drama to explore what life would have been like in these early settlements.

Children will:

  • Identify the environment of the earliest Benin settlement as rainforest.
  • Research the animals of the Benin rainforest.
  • Role-play the arrival of the Edo people into the rainforest.

You Will Need

  • Rainforest setting for the classroom
  • Water mister
  • Camera-enabled devices

Session 2 Growing the kingdom

Objectives

History

  • Continue to develop a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of British, local and world history, establishing clear narratives within and across the periods they study.
  • Construct informed responses that involve thoughtful selection and organisation of relevant historical information.

Geography

  • Describe and understand key aspects of physical geography, including: climate zones, biomes and vegetation belts, rivers, mountains, volcanoes and earthquakes, and the water cycle.
  • Understand human geography, including: types of settlement and land use, economic activity including trade links, and the distribution of natural resources including energy, food, minerals and water.

English

  • Extend pupils’ confidence, enjoyment and mastery of language through public speaking, performance and debate.

Teaching and Activities

Learn about how the Obas created the first cities in Benin. Using images of the cities drawn by Europeans and their freeze frames from the first session to do flash forwards of how life would be different in a city. Create a series of still images showing the differences.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To learn about the foundation of Benin City.
  • To explore the human geography of an early city in Benin.
  • To use drama to explore what life would have been like in the early city.

Children will:

  • Demonstrate understanding of the foundation of Benin City.
  • Explain what was needed to build Benin City.
  • Role-play life in early Benin City.

You Will Need

  • Cardboard boxes
  • Camera-enabled devices

Session 3 Ogisos and Obas

Objectives

History

  • Continue to develop a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of British, local and world history, establishing clear narratives within and across the periods they study.
  • Children should construct informed responses that involve thoughtful selection and organisation of relevant historical information.

English

  • Extend pupils’ confidence, enjoyment and mastery of language through public speaking, performance and debate.

Teaching and Activities

Find out more about the selected Ogisos and Obas, who all contributed to the growth of the Kingdom. Using role play, convey what each of these Obas would have been like to live and serve under. Video the role-play to share on the school website.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To learn about the five kings of Benin.
  • To use drama to explore what life would have been like under certain kings.

Children will:

  • Research a king of Benin.
  • Improvise a role-play as part of a group.
  • Perform a role-play as part of a group.

You Will Need

  • Video-enabled devices