The Carnival of the Animals Lesson Plan

Instructor: Kevin Newton

Kevin has edited encyclopedias, taught history, and has an MA in Islamic law/finance. He has since founded his own financial advice firm, Newton Analytical.

This lesson plan for 'The Carnival of the Animals' will help you introduce classical music to students, showing them how it can be used to paint an aural picture of different animals and asking them to use technical terms to describe each.

Lesson Objectives

By the end of this lesson, your students will be able to:

  • describe the life of Camille Saint-Saens
  • analyze the movements of The Carnival of Animals for both the invoked animal of each movement as well as other musical aspects


  • About 60 minutes


To do either of the activities for this lesson, you will need access to a recording of The Carnival of the Animals. It is in the public domain and can easily be acquired online.

Curriculum Standards


Summarize a written text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.


Include multimedia components (e.g., graphics, sound) and visual displays in presentations when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or themes.

Key Vocabulary

  • Camille Saint-Saens
  • The Carnival of the Animals
  • The Swan


  • Before starting the lesson, ask your students to describe what they think different animals would be like if represented in music. What would the tempo be like? What about the notes? Any melody?
  • Take a few minutes to discuss then pass out copies of the lesson The Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saens. Read the lesson as a class, stopping after each section for the following discussion questions:
    • Camille Saint-Saens: How would you describe Saint-Saens' career? Why do you think he was ashamed of The Carnival of the Animals?
    • The Carnival of the Animals: Give some examples of how animals were described through music. Have students state how they would 'describe' animals through music with respect to instruments.
    • Crossover Appeal of The Carnival of the Animals: How have others used The Carnival of the Animals? What do you think that Saint-Saens would think of these innovations?

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account