Topic 3: Ed’s journey to the top of the world

Topic 3: Ed’s journey to the top of the world

Learning outcome

Students will learn more about the 1953 Everest expedition and consider the importance of others involved in the expedition and the value of teamwork. Students will also think about fame, its power and impact. Students will learn how a shy boy from rural New Zealand worked hard to become the world’s greatest mountaineer.

Activity 1

Look together at the photo story Climbing Mount Everest and watch the video Hillary Returns (0.00 to 1.38 min) and/or Hillary and Tenzing climb Everest.

In groups or on their own, ask students to answer the questions in handout 1 Ed on Everest.

What you need:

Photo story: Climbing Mount Everest
Handout 1: Ed on Everest
Videos: Hillary Returns and/or Hillary and Tenzing climb Everest

Activity 2

Individual activity: Ask students to choose a moment of either Ed or Tenzing’s journey, perhaps the moment they were picked to attempt the summit, the night before their final journey to the top, when they reached the summit, or the moment they faced the world’s TV and media. Consider how they might have felt and imagine what they might have been thinking about and then write a diary entry.


Group activity: Students can role play the moment Ed and Tenzing face the world’s TV and media. Two people play Ed and Tenzing while the others are the media – then the group can swap roles. Consider how Ed and Tenzing might have felt and imagine what questions the media might ask.

Activity 3

Ed suddenly became one of the most famous people in the whole world.

Group discussion: What do you think it would it feel like to become famous overnight? What would you do next?


Write it up: You have become famous overnight. How does it feel? What will you do next?

Activity 4

Read together as a class Handout 2: From shy boy to the world’s greatest mountaineer..

Ed described himself as a small, shy, and rather lonely child. He says he often felt inferior, especially when it came to sports.

Group discussion: Does it surprise you that Ed was small and shy as a young boy? Why do you think he feels inferior? If you could meet young Ed, what would you tell him?


Group activity: Role play in groups with one person taking the role of young Ed and the remainder are his friends and/or family. Friends and family can talk to young Ed about why he feels inferior and give him advice for the future. Students can take turns at playing the role of a young Ed.

What you need:

Handout 2: From shy boy to the world’s greatest mountaineer.

Extra activities

Physical education: Learn more about team work with a team game from Sparklers such as Loop-de-loop

Class activity for celebrating the process of trying new things, making mistakes and persevering. Sparklers: My amazing brain

Next topic

Topic 4: Are we there Yeti?

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