Will Wonders Never Cease? The Lone Charger

article by Zoë Disher , photo by Alamy

Compose a presentation, detailing research into animals used during the First World War.  

After reading the article write the heading, ‘animals during the war’ on the board. Discuss some of students thoughts around this topic, using the accompanying worksheet to record responses. Leave the third column blank for now. Sample responses are provided below:  


  • Animals were killed in the war.
  • Animals performed important tasks in the war.

Want to know:

  • What kind of roles did animals undertake?
  • What type of animals were used?



Place students in pairs and instruct them to add their own ideas to the chart.  

Discuss some of the students questions. Focus particularly on questions that centre around other animals that may have been utilized during the war. 

Provide access to a range of sites to enable students to research answers to the questions they have generated. These can be accessed digitally, or printed. Suggested sources include:   

Instruct students to note interesting facts they discover in the third column on the KWL chart.  

Conduct a brief text analysis of the article, using the second half of Worksheet 1. Discuss how the information in the article is arranged (according to the subject matter). Draw students attention to the subheadings and the fact that they provide clues about the types of information included in each section.  

Model scanning the text under the first heading, and use thinking aloud to reflect on the information included in this section. Sample answers are provided below. Instruct students to work with their partner, repeating this process with remaining two subheadings.  

Empty saddles:

  • Introducing the subject matter
  • The reason the horse is paraded

The Light Horse:

  • More detailed information such as:  
  • the number of soldiers and their horses who served in the war 
  • an explanation of a charge horses are particularly famous for, when they swept towards the town of Beersheba 

A solemn remembrance: 

  • Outlining modern alternatives to using horses, such as trucks  
  • When horses can still be seen, riding solemnly in the ANZAC Day parade 

Instruct students to consider the information they gathered through research. Tell them they will be preparing a brief presentation about what they have learnt. Instruct students to group the information in the following paragraphs:  

  • Paragraph 1: an overview of the topic 
  • Paragraph 2: more detailed information, for example why the animal was used, how many were used in the war and any notable or interesting facts they have discovered 
  • Paragraph 3: any changes of developments they have noticed (this third paragraph is optional, depending on the information students collect from their own research) 

Students can share their presentation with another group