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Skara Brae

Benin Kingdom

Lesson Plans

The Benin Kingdom Resource Pack contains a complete unit of work with detailed lesson plans, teacher guides and pupil resources.

Benin Planning Pack


Lessons include:

1. Introduction: What was the Kingdom of Benin?

This lesson introduces the Kingdom of Benin. Pupils will use atlases to find out where the Kingdom of Benin used to be located. Then they will set this period into the wider context of British and world history and make their own timelines.


2. The Makings of a Kingdom: How was the Kingdom of Benin first established?

This lesson invites pupils to discover how the Kingdom of Benin was born when a group of rainforest villages joined together. Pupils will learn about some of the ways that the early kingdom protected itself so well and will research the famous Benin moat.


3. Coming out of its Shell: What did the people of Benin Kingdom believe?

This lesson addresses how important storytelling was in Benin culture. Pupils will discover some of the mythologies of Benin Kingdom and will look in detail at its creation story - a fabulous tale involving a snail shell and a talking hornbill! They will take on the role of storyteller and find their own ways of retelling the creation story.


4. Dynasty Drama: Why did the first dynasty of Ogiso end in AD 1180?

In this lesson pupils will find out how things changed in Benin Kingdom when the last Ogiso king was exiled from the kingdom. Pupils will listen to the dramatic series of events before making their own comic strip version of the story.


5. Obey the Oba!: What were the rulers of Benin Kingdom like?

In this lesson pupils will use the bronze plaques as historical sources to find out about the Obas. They will use their online research skills to discover more information and then use what they have learned to design their own bronze plaque depicting a powerful Oba.


6. Off to Work we Go!: What did ordinary people do for jobs in the Kingdom of Benin?

In this lesson pupils will study what jobs there were for ordinary people in the Kingdom of Benin. They will discover how the high quality of its produce helped Benin Kingdom to thrive. Pupils will find out what the main crops grown by farmers were and then will have the chance to make and test recipes using two of Benin's main crops: yams and plantains.


7. Picturing the Kingdom: What was Benin Kingdom art like?

Pupils will consider what surviving works of art tell us about Benin Kingdom. They will develop their ability to analyse art work and they will learn the technical vocabulary associated with it. Then pupils will prepare and record their own podcasts about one piece of art from Benin Kingdom. 


8. Lasting Legacy (Part 1):What happened to Benin Kingdom after the period AD 900-1300?

Pupils will consider how the period they have studied fits into a bigger picture of Benin's history. They will find out how historians classify Benin's history into three main periods. Pupils will discover what happened when British troops destroyed Benin City in 1897 and will develop an argument to show whether or not the invasion was justified.


9. Lasting Legacy (Part 2): What was left after Benin Kingdom was destroyed?

In this lesson, pupils will evaluate the types of evidence left that tell us about Benin Kingdom. Then they will research the looting of the Benin bronzes and will hold a class debate to decide whether or not the bronzes should be returned to Nigeria.


10. Summing Up: What have we learned about this period of history?

In this lesson, pupils reflect on their learning over the course of the unit. They will revise the chronology of Benin Kingdom and they will prepare an information book using everything they have learned about Benin Kingdom.

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