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Rikki-Tikki-Tavi by Rudyard Kipling

Teacher Guide by Becky Harvey

Find this Common Core aligned Teacher Guide and more like it in our Middle School ELA Category!

Student Activities for Rikki-Tikki-Tavi Include:

"Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" by Rudyard Kipling is the story of a brave young mongoose who keeps a human family and a number of animal friends safe from the vicious, murderous cobras who slither through the garden.

By the end of this lesson your students will create amazing storyboards like the ones below!




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A Quick Synopsis of "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" (Contains Plot Spoilers)

In the Segowlee cantonment, the British living quarters in India during World War I, Rikki-tikki, a mongoose, is swept from his burrow by a flood. Rescued by Teddy, the young son of a British family, Rikki-tikki is nursed back to health and adopted by the family. At first, Teddy’s mother worries that Rikki-tikki might be too wild and would be dangerous to have around Teddy. Teddy’s father reassures her that mongooses are not only safe to have in a house, but excellent protectors against deadly snakes.

Rikki-tikki makes friends with some of the animals in the garden. There are two cobras, Nag and Nagaina, who terrorize the birds and other animals. Darzee, a bird who lives in the garden, and his wife have lost one of their fledglings to the snakes. Darzee begs Rikki-tikki to keep them and their children safe. Rikki-tikki decides he will kill the cobras, but first, he kills another deadly snake. It is his first kill, and his family are impressed. He is hailed a hero. This only makes Rikki-tikki want to kill Nag and Nagaina more. He feels responsible for the safety of the family and the garden animals.

One night, Nag and Nagaina plot to kill the human family. Nag falls asleep in the bathroom while he waits for the man to come in for his morning bath. Rikki-tikki watches and waits for the right moment, then attacks. The mongoose wins a terrible battle against the cobra. Teddy's father shoots Nag in two, only after Rikki-tikki has killed him, and throws the snake on the trash pile.

Rikki-tikki and Darzee’s wife make a plan to get Nagaina away from her eggs. Darzee’s wife fakes a broken wing, making a racket to distract the cobra. Nagaina leaves her nest of nearly-hatched eggs and begins to chase the bird. Rikki-tikki kills the unhatched cobras and Darzee's wife calls out a warning to him. Thinking the man killed her husband, Nagaina has cornered the entire family on the veranda.

Rikki-tikki brings one last unhatched egg and taunts Nagaina. She is frantic and begs for her baby back. With the snake occupied, the family escapes. Rikki-tikki knows that if he does not kill Nagaina, neither the family, nor the garden animals will ever be safe. He attacks and chases her into her underground den. Darzee sings a sad song, saying that Rikki-tikki must be dead, for nothing can beat a cobra in its own den. Rikki-tikki, however, emerges victorious, announcing that Nagaina will not return.

The family and animals rejoice. Rikki-tikki eats a huge celebration meal with the family, and settles down as the proud protector of his human family and garden-animal friends.


Essential Questions for "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi"

  1. How does our "nature" define us?
  2. Is trust earned or given?
  3. How is trust lost?

Rikki-Tikki-Tavi Lesson Plans, Student Activities and Graphic Organizers

Plot Diagram | "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" Summary


Copy Assignment



A common use for Storyboard That is to help students create a plot diagram of the events from a story. Not only is this a great way to teach the parts of the plot, but it reinforces major events and help students develop greater understanding of literary structures.

Students can create a storyboard capturing the narrative arc in a work with a six-cell storyboard containing the major parts of the plot diagram. For each cell, have students create a scene that follows the short story in sequence using: Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.



Example "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" Plot Diagram

Exposition

Rikki-tikki, a mongoose, is swept from his burrow by a flood and is rescued by Teddy. Teddy’s father, the Englishman, says mongooses are not only safe to have in a house, but excellent protectors against the deadly snakes in the area. The family adopts Rikki-tikki.


Conflict

There are two deadly cobras, Nag and Nagaina, who threaten the safety of the garden. Rikki-tikki decides he will kill the cobras, but first, he kills another deadly snake. It is his first kill, and the Englishman and his wife are impressed. He is hailed a hero. This only makes Rikki-tikki want to kill Nag and Nagaina more. He feels responsible for the safety of the family and the garden animals.


Rising Action

Nag decides to sneak into the house to kill the humans. He falls asleep in the bathroom while he waits for the humans to wake up. Rikki-tikki realizes he is there and attacks. The mongoose wins a terrible battle against the cobra. In the morning, the Englishman again hails Rikki-tikki a hero, chops Nag in half, and throws the snake on the trash pile.


Climax

Nagaina, thinking the man killed her husband, tries to kill the human family. Darzee’s wife fakes a broken wing, making a racket to distract Nagaina, who has cornered the entire family on the porch. Nagaina, unable to resist an easy kill, begins to chase the bird. With the snake occupied, the family escapes, and Rikki-tikki kills the unhatched cobras. He smashes all but one of the eggs, but realizes that Nagaina is preparing to bite Teddy.


Falling Action

Rikki-tikki brings the last egg and taunting Nagaina. She begs for her baby back. Rikki-tikki knows that if he does not kill Nagaina, neither the family, nor the garden animals will ever be safe. He attacks and chases her into her underground den. Darzee sings a sad song, for nothing can beat a cobra in its own den. But Rikki-tikki emerges victorious, announcing that he has killed Nagaina.


Resolution

The family and animals rejoice. Rikki-tikki eats a huge celebration meal with the family, and settles down as the proud protector of his human family and garden-animal friends.


Rikki-Tikki Tavi Plot Diagram
Create your own at Storyboard That EXPOSITION CONFLICT RISING ACTION CLIMAX FALLING ACTION RESOLUTION Rikki-tikki, a mongoose, is swept from his burrow by a flood and is rescued by a young boy, Teddy. The family decides to adopt Rikki-tikki. The safety of the garden is threatened by the two cobras, Nag and Nagaina. Rikki-tikki decides he will kill the cobras, but first, he kills another deadly snake. It is his first kill, and man and his wife hail him as a hero. Nag falls asleep in the bathroom while he waits to attack the humans. Rikki-tikki wins a terrible battle against the cobra. The man shoots Nag in half, and throws the snake on the trash pile. Darzee’s wife fakes a broken wing to distract the cobra. Nagaina leaves her nest of nearly-hatched eggs and begins to chase the bird. Rikki-tikki kills the unhatched cobras and Darzee's wife calls out a warning. Thinking the man killed her husband, Nagaina corners the entire family on the veranda. Rikki-tikki taunts Nagaina with one last egg. She is frantic and begs for her baby back. With the snake occupied, the family escapes. Rikki-tikki knows that if he does not kill Nagaina, neither the family, nor the garden animals will ever be safe. He attacks and chases her into her underground den. Rikki-tikki emerges victorious, announcing that Nagaina will not return. The family and animals rejoice. Rikki-tikki eats a huge celebration meal with the family, and settles down as the proud protector of his human family and garden animal friends.