War Horse – Historical Fiction Lesson Plans Inspired By The Movie

by Sandra Foyt on December 13, 2011

in Enrichment Ideas

war horse posterOn Christmas Day, Steven Spielberg’s epic adventure – War Horse – rides into theaters.  It’s a tale of loyalty, hope and tenacity set against a sweeping canvas of rural England and Europe during the First World War. There’s no doubt that the War Horse movie will be a huge success, the must-see holiday movie of the year, and because of this – it’s a great opportunity for sneaking in lessons.

War Horse begins with the remarkable friendship between a horse named Joey and a young man called Albert, who tames and trains him. When they are forcefully parted, the film follows the extraordinary journey of the horse as he moves through the war, changing and inspiring the lives of all those he meets—British cavalry, German soldiers, and a French farmer and his granddaughter—before the story reaches its emotional climax in the heart of No Man’s Land.

The First World War is experienced through the journey of this horse—an odyssey of joy and sorrow, passionate friendship and high adventure. War Horse is one of the great stories of friendship and war— a successful book, it was turned into a hugely successful international theatrical hit that is currently on Broadway. It now comes to screen in an epic adaptation by one of the great directors in film history.

War Horse Lesson Plans

war horse at warDreamWorks Pictures’ War Horse is based on the young adult novel by Michael Morpurgo, first published in 1982. While the film is rated PG-13, it’s perfect for families with older children!

Inspired by the War Horse movie, Scholastic has developed a series of lesson plans:

Every story and every event has more than one side. This language arts and social studies program provides lessons and printables to help your students look at history through the lens of historical fiction.

Find the War Horse lesson plans here: www.scholastic.com/warhorsemovie

The historical fiction lesson plans are rated for Grade 8-12, but I recommend using your own judgment to assess if they are right for your child. The War Horse movie is rated PG-13 due to war violence, which is well within the scope of what my son was watching at age 10, but would not have been OK for my older child.


Go See It!

War Horse

  • Cast: Emily Watson, David Thewlis, Peter Mullan, Niels Arestrup, Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irvine, Benedict Cumberbatch, Toby Kebbell
  • Director:  Steven Spielberg
  • Producers: Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy
  • Executive Producers: Frank Marshall, Revel Guest
  • Screenplay by: Lee Hall and Richard Curtis
  • Based on the book by: Michael Morpurgo and the recent stage play by Nick Stafford, produced by the National Theatre of Great Britain and directed by Tom Morris and Marianne Elliot
  • Genre: Drama
  • Rating: PG-13

| Sandra Foyt is a storyteller, photographer, and road trip junkie. A veteran of six cross-country road trips, she drove Route 66, the Lincoln Highway, the fossil freeway, the extraterrestrial highway, and even “the loneliest road in America.” Find her on GetawayMavens.com, an award-winning destination guide to extraordinary travel in and from Northeast USA, on her portfolio site at SandraFoyt.com, and in freelance gigs on Family Travel 411, Minitime, Huffington Post, and Matador Network. Email: sandrafoyt@albanykid.com, Twitter @SandraFoyt.

Brent Watson December 21, 2011 at 12:35 am

Is the “F” word in this movie, “WAR HORSE”?

Thank you.

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