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Horton Hears a Who:
A Mini-Unit

Here are some activities to incorporate into a lesson or literature unit using Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss.

Book Summary:

"On the tenth of May, in the Jungle of Nool,
In the heat of the day, in the cool of the pool,
He was splashing... enjoying the jungle's great joys,
When Horton the elephant heard a small noise."

One day, Horton the elephant hears a cry for help coming from a speck of dust. Even though he can't see anyone on the speck, he decides to help. As it turns out, the speck of dust is home to the Whos, who live in their city of Whoville. Horton agrees to help protect the Whos and their home, but this gives him nothing but torment from his neighbors, who refuse to believe that anything could possibly live on the speck. Still, Horton stands by his motto: "A person's a person, no matter how small".

About the Author:

Theodor Seuss Geisel was born on March 2, 1904, in Springfield, Massachusetts. During his long career, he wrote more than 40 children's books, which have sold more than 200 million copies worldwide. Although he was told by a high-school art teacher that he would never be an artist, Seuss illustrated many of his books. Seuss died in September 1991, at the age of 87.

Suggested Vocabulary Words:


Link: Horton Hears a Who Word Search Using Vocabulary Words

Discussion Questions:

1. What was your favorite part of the story?
2. If you could be any character in the story, who would you like to be? Why?
3. Why did Horton Help the Whos?
4. Will the kangaroos really help protect the Whos? Why?

Simple Science:

Place a 'dust speck' on a microscope slide, look into the microscope and see what is there! Draw a picture of what you see. (Note: It may be necessary to place a drop of water on the speck of dust and place a clear slide cover over it to view it well.)

Activities and Games:

Link: Online Interactive 'Who Hunt'

Horton Hears a Who Outdoor Team Chopstick Game

Divide into two teams with the first person from each team standing inside a starting hoop with a pair of chopsticks in their hand. On the signal to begin, players must move through the “Horton” sprinkler to the pile of “Whos” in the hula-hoop. Younger children can use both hands with the chopsticks to pick up a Who and run back through the sprinkler to the beginning hoop. Older children may only use one hand with the chopsticks (they have to put the other hand behind their back) to pick up a Who and run back through the sprinkler to the beginning hoop. Once a player is back, then they place the Who in the bucket and pass the chopsticks to the next person in line. Teams continue to go until time has been called.

Equipment needed: 4 hula-hoops, 2 hoses and sprinklers (you can use a "Y" splitter), 100 cotton balls (for "Whos"), 4 sets of chopsticks, 2 small buckets.

You could alternately play this indoors in a gym without sprinklers!
Adapt as needed.

Elephants can be trained to do many things... even paint portraits! Watch the video below and be amazed!

Ready for more fun? Here's a wonderful new mini-unit from one of our sister sites, HomeGrownHearts. Science, math, poetry, recipes & more!

'Horton Hears a Who' Unit at HomeGrownHearts.com

Brand NEW! "Horton Hatches the Egg" unit study!

Even more Dr. Seuss activities.


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