L'elisir d'amore Teaching Resources

English Key Stage 2

L'elisir d'amore English Key Stage 2

Lesson one

Theme/ Activity headline: Researching love potions.

Curriculum attainment targets: Years 4-6: Reading: increase familiarity with a wide range of books; make comparisons; summarise main ideas.

Starter activity

Researching love potions.

In L’elisir d’amore, Nemorino drinks a love potion to try to make Adina fall in love with him.

What other stories with potions in do you know? In pairs, how many can you name in three minutes?

Share with the class. Who found the most? Who found the most unusual?

Main activity

Design a chart or table together in order to research and compare love potions in different stories.

In the library, or at ‘stations’ around the room, pupils research and make notes on three works containing love potions.

Suggested texts for KS2: A Midsummer Night’s Dream; The Little Mermaid; Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.


Compare two of the potions (e.g. colour, taste, smell, cost, effect)? (This could be done in the style of ‘top trump’ cards).

Lesson two

Theme/ Activity headline: Write a love potion poem.

Curriculum attainment targets: Years 4-6: Composition: draft and write by selecting appropriate grammar and vocabulary, understanding how such choices can change and enhance meaning.

Starter activity

Write a love potion poem.

Complete a questionnaire on your favourite things.

  • What are your three favourite smells? Find three adjectives to describe them.
  • What’s your favourite food and why?
  • What’s your favourite animal, and why?
  • What’s your favourite place?
  • What’s your favourite time of day?

Main activity

Write a poem about a recipe for a personalised love potion for you, containing all your favourite things. Teacher to model and guide this writing, focusing on ‘recipe’ vocabulary and ‘sensory’ language, to help students get going.

The Perfect Potion
If you want to make me love you,
Take a pinch of the smell of freshly cut grass;
A teaspoon of the tang of salt on tomatoes;
Heat with the look in a stray dog’s eye
When he gives you his paw to shake.
Add a drop of moonlight on a quiet lake.

Pick out the effective features in the example. Together, can you write a second verse? Then write your own.


Write up and decorate your poem for display.

Lesson three

Theme/ Activity headline: Investigating ‘miracle’ products.

Curriculum attainment targets: Years 4-6: Reading: distinguish between statements of fact and opinion

Starter activity

Investigating ‘Miracle Products’

In L’elisir d’amore, the love potion is a fake. Doctor Dulcamara pretends that his cheap wine is a ‘magic liquor’ love potion and sells it to Nemorino.

Dulcamara is not the first person to make exaggerated claims for a product.

Can you match the product to the tagline?

Main activity

As a class, with the teacher guiding, identify the persuasive devices used in a cosmetics advert. (See this link for some great examples, such as the Maybelline ‘Great Lash’ advert). Note the use of alliteration, patterns of three and pseudo-science.

Next, pupils analyse a different example advertisement in pairs. How does it appeal to its audience?


Invent a new ‘miraculous’ product. It must have a suitable name, a slogan and a suitable marketing pitch, including the devices investigated.

Lesson four

Theme/ Activity headline: Write a potion story.

Curriculum attainment targets: Years 4-6: Plan narratives by considering how authors have developed characters and settings in what pupils have read, listened to or seen performed. Also, draft and write by describing settings, characters and atmosphere and integrate dialogue to convey character and advance the action.

Starter activity

Write a story about a potion.

In talk partners, review the potion narratives you know, and share three initial ideas for your own potion story.

Main activity

Plan and write a story about a potion that makes someone do something they don’t want to do. It must have a clear beginning, middle and end, a crisis and a resolution.

Teacher to model this with their own plan for a story. You could use the ‘story mountain’ method.

Think carefully about where the potion comes from; who gives it to whom; and what its effects are. What will the ‘moral’ of your story be?


Write an explanation about what the moral of your story is, and why that moral is important.

Image credits: L’elisir d’amore, Festival 2011, photos by Bill Cooper

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