Baobab: Giant of the Savanna

article by Anne Renaud , photo by Alamy

Learning intention: 

I am learning to plan, rehearse and deliver presentations, selecting and sequencing appropriate content and multimodal elements for defined audiences and purposes so that I can develop my presentation skills. 

Success criteria: 

  • I can analyse an article to identify how information has been sequenced.  
  • I can conduct research into a chosen tree.  
  • I can make decisions on how best to sequence information.  
  • I can prepare a presentation with logically sequenced information.  
  • I can present my presentation to peers.  


Discuss what the writer has decided to include in the article. Ensure students identify the article includes:  

  • details about an African myth based on the tree 
  • general information about the Baobab (for example, how large they grow, how long they live) 
  • interesting facts about the Baobab (for example, how they store water, when they flower, how they are pollinated, animals that live inside them, animals that eat Baobabs) 

Discuss how this information has been sequenced. Ensure students note that information has been grouped based on the subject matter.  

Inform students that while this information has been included in an article the same process can be followed when deciding how to sequence information in a presentation. Tell students that they will be conducting research before logically sequencing the information to compose a presentation.  

Inform students that there are many myths from a variety of cultures that centre around trees. View the webpage, Myths and stories behind trees from all over the world. Skim the page, noting key sub-headings and illustrations. At this stage it is not necessary to read the information included under each sub-heading. Collaboratively select one of the trees for example, the yew tree. View the appropriate section and read the information.  

Collaboratively summarise the myth, paraphrasing key points. For example:  

  • the great yew tree, Yggdrasil, is known as The World Tree in Norse mythology  
  • it is believed its roots sprang from the centre of the Earth 
  • as it rose its branches reached over the whole universe and connected the nine worlds 
  • an eagle perches on top of the tree with a hawk sitting between its eyes 
  • news was delivered to the eagle by a squirrel while serpents coiled around the tree’s trunk 
  • the tree was the symbol of knowledge and wisdom, and it was believed that it sought to hold the universe together  

Remind students that the article Baobab: Giant of the Savanna also included factual information about Baobab trees. View the webpage Yew, on Britannica Kids and read the information. Jot key points on the board. Strive to obtain similar information about yew trees as was included in the article Baobab: Giant of the Savanna (general information and interesting facts). Sample responses include:  

  • Yews are evergreen trees and bushes 
  • They grow in the northern hemisphere  
  • Some may grow as tall as 25 metres in height 
  • They have dark pointy leaves 
  • Yew seeds are very poisonous 
  • They take a long time to grow 
  • Many yew trees are incredibly old (some are more than 1,200 years old) 
  • Some people trim yew trees for landscaping to decorate outdoor spaces 
  • Yew tree’s wood is extremely hard which makes it useful for woodcarving 

Collaboratively compose a multimedia presentation based on the research. Inform students that they should Include elements such as video, music and images and provide the following suggestions for how students might compile these:  

  • Images can be located through internet search engines.  
  • Videos could be created by compiling a slide show of images using programs such as Google Slides.  
  • Music can be found on sites such as MusicRadar.  

Model selecting the elements and placing them into a slide show program such as PowerPoint.  

Place students in pairs or small groups. Instruct them to select one of the trees from the webpage Myths and stories behind trees from all over the world. Students can use the following webpages from Kids Britannica to research their chosen tree:  

Allow time for students to prepare their presentations. Discuss criteria students should use to ensure information has been logically sequenced. For example:  

  • the presentation features a myth that focuses on the tree 
  • general factual information is grouped together 
  • interesting facts appear towards the end of the presentation 

Pair groups with one other and instruct students to share their presentation with the other group.