Batty Behaviour

article by Zoë Disher , illustrated by Fifi Colston

Learning Intention:

I am learning to use a variety of strategies to support my argument so that I can make them convincing.

Success Criteria:

  • I can analyse a text to identify strategies author’s use to position readers.
  • I can research a topic and compose an article.
  • I can use language to position readers.
  • I can challenge opposing arguments to encourage others to overcome misconceptions and to agree with my viewpoint.

Essential knowledge:

View the video Argument from the English  Concepts. Ensure students note the following about arguments:

  • They present views in a sensible and persuasive manner
  • To support an argument, you can use methods such as, making a claim, using statistics and including research

Discuss further methods that can be used when striving to be persuasive when presenting an argument. For example:

  • Anticipating the opposing view and offering a counter argument
  • Using emotive vocabulary

Oral language and communication:

Display images of bats from the National Geographic page, 10 Brilliant Bat Facts. Create a mind-map of students’ thoughts and opinions about bats. Highlight any opinions that are negative and that express fear for the animal. If none of the students express this viewpoint inform them that some people are afraid of bats.


Understanding text:

Read Batty Behaviour or listen to the audio file. Discuss the following:

  • How does the author of the article feel about bats? (The admire them and find them interesting and fascinating)
  • What language has the author used that expresses their viewpoint? (Strange, batty (meaning strange), special, puzzling, loving and caring family members, beautiful, fascinating and amazing, and by using emotive language to describe the bats, their appearance and their behaviour, for example: little, snuggle, furry ping pong ball)
  • What further evidence is there in the text that reveals the author’s opinion of bats? (The fact they have chosen to write an article about bats)
  • Discuss misconceptions that have been challenged in the article. (That vampire bats and predatory and that they such people’s blood)
  • How does the author’s presentation of the ideas help to position readers? (It encourages readers to agree with their viewpoint that bats are to be admired, by presenting factual arguments, by using emotive language and by refuting opposing views and challenging misconceptions)

If some students earlier expressed fear of bats, ask them if the article has changed their opinion.

Creating text:

Inform students that they will be composing their own article arguing for the positive attributes of a creature that some people might not like. Discuss animals some people don’t like such as snakes or spiders and note ideas on the board for students to refer to later.


Note: Be mindful of students’ sensitivity around animals and any potential phobias amongst students within the class. If a less controversial topic is preferred, students could focus on writing an article arguing in favour of their chosen mode of transport, such as by scooter or on a bicycle.


Place students with a partner and instruct them to select an animal to focus on. Instruct students to create a mind-map, outlining different perspectives of their chosen animal. Students may interview their peers who have differing views from their own if they find it challenging to identify alternative perspectives.


Instruct students to research their chosen animal, using sites such as:


National Geographic Kids

Britannica Kids

Tell students to identify positive facts about their chosen animal. Inform students that they should also consider alternative views or misconceptions about their chosen animal, such as that snakes are predatory towards humans when in fact they prefer to retreat when they hear someone approach. Tell students that this will help them with showing the counter argument when constructing their articles. Refer back to Batty Behaviour, to identify how the author of the article does this, for example:

There’s one kind of microbat that has a rather sinister reputation: vampire bats. In fact, they can make all bats seem a little bit scary. But you don’t need to worry. Vampire bats aren’t out to suck your blood.

So, vampire bats aren’t scary monsters after all. They are actually loving and caring family members who’ll happily vomit up their dinner to help a fellow bat out.

Instruct students to compose a brief article attempting to persuade others about the positive attributes of their chosen creature/mode of transport. Remind students that the author of Batty Behaviour also used positive language to describe the topic and inform students that they should do the same.

Allow time for students to compose their articles.


Assessment for/as learning:

Instruct students to swap articles with another pair. Discuss criteria that could be used for assessing the articles, such as:

  • Creates a convincing argument about the positive attributes of their chosen creature/mode of transport
  • Challenges misconceptions
  • Presents the alternative point of view and refutes it
  • Includes positive language to describe the topic

Students can allocate one mark for each of the criteria the article meets. Allow time for students to orally provide feedback on any areas in their peers’ work that could be developed further.

Display the following exit-ticket question and instruct students to record responses in their workbooks:

  • What are some of the persuasive devices authors may use when making an argument?