How the Camel Got His Hump by Rudyard Kipling

Teacher Guide by Ashley Trudeau

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How the Camel Got His Hump Lesson Plans

Student Activities for How the Camel Got His Hump Include:

"How the Camel Got His Hump" from Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling describes the humorous story of how the lazy Camel gains his hump. This is a perfect story for teaching a lesson about working hard and helping others.

How the Camel Got His Hump Lesson Plans, Student Activities and Graphic Organizers

Vocabulary Lesson Plan | How the Camel Got His Hump

Another great way to engage your students is by creating a storyboard that uses vocabulary from "How the Camel Got His Hump".

In this activity, students demonstrate their understanding of vocabulary words using sentences and corresponding images. Students may be provided the vocabulary words, or they can use words that they have discovered through their reading of the text. The sentences and images validate the understanding of the word and the context that it was used in the novel.

"How the Camel Got His Hump" Vocabulary

  • pow-wow
  • lollop
  • idle
  • palaver
  • howler
  • tamarisk
  • milkweed
  • prickles
  • indaba
  • punchayet
  • bearing

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"How the Camel Got His Hump" Character Map

As students read, a storyboard can serve as a helpful character reference log. This log (also called a character map) allows students to recall relevant information about important characters. With character mapping, students will record this information, helping them follow along and catch the subtleties which make reading more enjoyable!

You can click on this map and create a copy on your teacher account. Feel free to use it as is, or to edit it for the level of your class. Printing it as worksheets for your students to complete while reading is a fast and easy way to incorporate this character map into your classroom.

Here is an example for the Camel:

Physical Appearance

  • first had no hump
  • ends up with hump

Character Traits

  • lived in middle of Howling Desert
  • did not want to work; lazy
  • ate sticks, thorns tamarisks, milkweed, prickles


  • "He lived in the middle of the Howling Desert because he did not want to work."
  • "’That's your very own humph that you've brought upon your very own self by not working.’"
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Identify Themes in "How the Camel Got His Hump"

Several themes are present in the book. Students can pick a theme to explore, and should support their choice with specific details or events from the text. One prominent theme is “fairness”. The Camel was not being fair to the other animals because they had to work harder to make up for his laziness. The Djinn thought it was fair to give the Camel his hump to punish him for not working.

Example 1:

The Man tells the Dog, Ox, and Horse that they have to do more work because the Camel refuses to do anything. This is not fair.

Example 2:

The Horse asks if it is right for someone to be lazy and not help with work. The Djinn says that it is not fair for someone to act that way, and he ends up giving the Camel his hump because the Camel was not being fair.

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"How the Camel Got His Hump" Summary

In this activity, students decide on what they think the important parts in the text are, and categorize them into the beginning, middle, and end of the story. Having students decide on the beginning, middle, and end will help them break up the text, and make it easier to choose one or two main events to create. Students can plan their ideas with a partner or individually and decide what main parts they would like to add to their storyboard.

Parts of a Story - Story Structure
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The storyboard below shows one example for the beginning, middle, and end, but you could set a number of frames for the students to use based on the ability of the student, or length of the text.

Example "How the Camel Got His Hump" Summary


The world is new and the animals are just beginning to work for the Man. The Camel stays out in the desert and does not work. The Dog, Ox, and Horse all ask the Camel to work, and the lazy Camel always says "humph" and refuses.


Man tells the Horse, Dog, and Ox that they have to work extra because the Camel won't work. The three animals are upset and they tell the Djinn (person in charge of all deserts) that the Camel has not worked for three days. The Djinn decides to go into the desert to talk to the Camel about working.


The Djinn asks the Camel why he will not work. The Camel says, "Humph". The Djinn casts a spell and gives the Camel a giant hump on his back. The Camel asks how he will work with the hump, and the Djinn says he will be able to live off his hump for three days, and that he has to catch up on the work he has missed.

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Camel Facts - Context Information for "How the Camel Got His Hump"

In the story, the author briefly tells what the camel’s hump is used for. A fun way for students to learn more about camels and their humps is to have them create a storyboard web using facts they know, or have researched. Students can work individually or in pairs to compile a list of facts about the camel. You could set a targeted fact for the students to research (for example, solely about the camel’s hump and its purpose), or you could have students choose and create any facts they find.

In this activity, students will illustrate their facts using the storyboard art or photos found on Photos For Class.

Here is an example:

Fact 1:

  • Dromedary camels have one hump. Bactrian camels have two. The hump consists of stored fat that camels can use for energy when food and water is scarce.

Fact 2:

  • Humans use camels as a means of transportation. Camels can carry very heavy loads.

Fact 3:

  • Camels are herbivores. Water is important to them. They can drink 30 gallons of water in just 13 minutes.

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A Quick Synopsis of "How the Camel Got His Hump" (Contains Spoilers)

In the beginning of time, when the world is new, there is a Camel. The Camel is very lazy and he sits in the middle of the Howling Dessert, eating prickles and milkweeds. When anyone speaks to the Camel he responds with, “Humph”.

On Monday, the Horse comes and asks the Camel to help trot. The Camel replies, “Humph”. The Horse goes away and tells the Man. On Tuesday, the Dog comes and asks the Camel to help fetch and carry. The Camel responds, “Humph”. The Dog goes away and tells the Man. On Wednesday, the Ox comes and asks the Camel to help plough. The Camel states, “Humph”. The Ox goes away and tells the Man. At the end of the day, the Man calls the Three animals together. The Man says that since the Camel will not work, they will have to do extra work to make up for him. This makes the Three very angry, and they talk and complain about the Camel.

In rolls a Djinn, the man in charge of All Deserts, and he confers with the Three. They ask if it is alright for someone to be so lazy and not work. The Djinn, of course, says it is not.

The Djinn heads to the middle of the desert where the Camel is ogling his reflection. The Djinn asks the Camel why he is not doing any work and the Camel responds, “Humph”. The Djinn tells the Camel that since he has chosen not to work, he has given the Three extra work. The Camel says, “Humph”. The Djinn warns the Camel that if he says ‘humph’ again, something bad may happen. As soon as the Camel responds with “humph” again, and a huge hump grows on the back of the Camel!

The Djinn tells the Camel that is his very own hump, brought on by his selfishness and lack of activity. The Djinn says the Camel has to work, and the Camel asks how can he work with a giant hump on his back. The Djinn explains that the hump will hold enough fuel for him to be able to work for three days without eating.

The Camel goes to join the Three, and from that day always has a hump. The Camel has yet to catch up with the work he missed in the beginning of time, and he has not yet learned how to behave.

Essential Questions for "How the Camel Got His Hump"

  1. Is it okay to let other people do your work?
  2. Is it okay to be lazy?
  3. What lesson is the story teaching us?
  4. What is a fable?

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