James & the Giant Peach Lesson Plan

Instructor: Kevin Newton

Kevin has edited encyclopedias, taught middle and high school history, and has a master's degree in Islamic law.

This lesson plan will help you teach your students about the adventures of James and the Giant Peach. In the process, they will review the idea of different types of conflict in literature.

Lesson Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • describe the plot and basic details of James and the Giant Peach
  • analyze how James and others meet conflict within the book and persevere


30 minutes, plus 30 minutes for activity

Curriculum Standards


Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.


Determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.


Describe how a particular story's or drama's plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution.

Key Vocabulary

  • Roald Dahl
  • Pit


  • First, ask students if they are familiar with Jack and the Beanstalk. Have them recount the story, and explain that the classic tale Jack and the Beanstalk has a lot in common with the focus of the lesson, James and the Giant Peach.
  • Distribute and read as a class the lesson James & the Giant Peach: Author & Summary, pausing after reading the following sections for discussion:
    • 'Roald Dahl' - Do you get the idea that the author led an adventurous life or a relatively boring life? Why or why not?
    • 'James and his Green Beans' - What do you think of James' aunts? Why do you think this?
    • 'The Giant Peach' - Were you right about his aunts? Also, why do you think that James may be ready for an adventure?
    • 'The Escape and Journey' - Do you feel sorry for James' aunts? Why or why not? What are some of the examples of problems that James faced on the trip across the Atlantic? How were they dealt with?
    • 'Look, I See New York!' - Would you call this a happy ending? Why or why not?


  • Break your class into small groups. Have each group identify 3-5 points in the book where James met a conflict. Have them write these down as well as the page numbers.
  • Then, have the students write down how the conflict was addressed. Make sure that students understand that James' conflict can be with himself, with others, or even with nature.
  • As a class, discuss the conflicts that James came across and how they were resolved.


  • Ask students to compare the ending of James and the Giant Peach to the endings of other Roald Dahl books they may have read.
  • What are some scientific problems that exist with this story that prevent it from being realistic?

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