Captain Ahab's Weird Wide World: Exercise While You Eat?

article by Karen Jameyson , "chopsticks" by Identity Photogr@phy is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Learning Intention:

I am learning to consider the information authors choose to include and to leave out of texts to identify their position on a topic so that I can critically analyse the information presented in texts.

Success Criteria:

  • I can identify vocabulary and information included in texts to express an author’s position.
  • I can compose an article.
  • I can select information and vocabulary to express my position on a topic.


Essential knowledge:


View the video Argument from the English Textual Concepts. Ensure students note that arguments can take many forms and that they are useful when trying to persuade others.




Display the following statements about mushrooms:

  1. Mushrooms taste great on pizza.
  2. Food containing mushrooms should be avoided.
  3. Mushrooms are a healthy addition to any meal.
  4. Mushrooms are mushy and slimy when cooked.

Tell students to imagine they are composing a text about mushrooms. Discuss which of the statements displayed they would choose if they wished to show mushrooms in a positive light (a and c).

Next, place students with a partner and use the Think, pair, share strategy for students to discuss which of the statements might be used if the author wished to show mushrooms in a negative light (b and d). Discuss responses.

Discuss specific vocabulary in each statement that allowed students to decide if the position of the author, for example:

  • Taste great
  • Avoided
  • Healthy
  • Mushy and slimy

Jot the examples of vocabulary students identify on the board or note them digitally in Google Jamboard for them to refer back to later.

Understanding text:

Prior to reading, Captain Ahab’s Weird Wide World: Exercise While You Eat? discuss the following questions:

  • Have you ever used chopsticks before?
  • If so, did you find them easy to use or challenging?
  • Would you recommend them to others?

Read Captain Ahab’s Weird Wide World: Exercise While You Eat? or listen to the audio file. Use the following questions to guide discussion around the opinions the author puts forward in the text:

  • How does the author feel about using chopsticks? (They think they are great for many reasons, including that using them uses more muscles than eating with a knife and fork, that users tend to eat more slowly and to eat smaller mouthfuls)
  • Do they think it is something other people should try using chopsticks? (Yes, they suggest everyone should give them a try if they haven’t already)

Emphasise that the title and the subject matter, focusing on why using chopsticks provides exercise and a workout while you eat also reveals the author’s opinions about using chopsticks.

Place students with a partner. Instruct them to note any vocabulary in the text that reveals the author's opinion on post-it-notes. Alternatively, students can record their ideas digitally using Google Jamboard. Share responses and add them to the list on the board or the one that has been composed in digital format. Sample responses include: more muscles, little workout,

Refer back to students' comments on using chopsticks and discuss how the opinion in the article differs or is similar to students’ own experiences.

Creating text:

Inform students that they will be constructing their own article that uses persuasive vocabulary and careful selection of what information to include to encourage readers to try a fictitious meal. Tell students that first they will be creating an example together.

To design a fictitious meal to include in your article, first discuss a list of meals that students enjoy, for example pasta, noodles, or desserts such as cake. Tell students that they should aim to make their fictitious meal as fun and wacky as possible. Discuss how you might combine meals or ingredients into new and unusual taste sensations, for example: chocolate lasagna or ice cream flavored noodles. Make notes of the flavours and ingredients included in the meal, such as:

  • Honey
  • Strawberries
  • Banana
  • Chicken
  • Carrots
  • Chocolate
  • Hummus
  • Noodles
  • Rice
  • Fish
  • Ramen
  • Pho
  • Lentils

Conduct a text analysis, briefly summarising the information included in each paragraph of Captain Ahab’s Weird Wide World: Exercise While You Eat? Ensure students note the following:

That the article features:

  • Factual information about positives of eating with chopsticks (how this uses less muscles)
  • How many people around the world eat with chopsticks
  • Other reasons why using chopsticks is healthy
  • A call to readers to try using chopsticks if they haven’t done so already

Discuss vocabulary that might be included to encourage people to try the meal. Remind students of the vocabulary discussed when examining the examples featuring mushrooms. A thesaurus may also be useful for this. For example:

  • Tasty
  • Delicious
  • Tantalizing
  • Mouth-watering
  • Sumptuous
  • Enticing flavours

Jointly construct an article that describes the fictitious meal and that encourages readers to try it. Refer back to the list of persuasive vocabulary identified in the article. Tell students to include a title for their article. A sample response is:

Chocolate hummus bread

When first considering a dish that features hummus and chocolate you wouldn’t be alone in thinking it might be disgusting. But take a risk and you’ll discover not only is it a mouthwatering treat, it’s also incredibly healthy for you as it contains many essential minerals and vitamins.

The meal blends hummus and chocolate to make a sweet type of bread. The undertone of hummus mixed with the sugary flavor of chocolate creates a taste sensation.

In fact, around the world it’s becoming one of the most popular new types of bread.

Not only is it healthy, but it’s also easy to transport and is great for lunchboxes.

So come on, try chocolate hummus bread today!


Place students with a partner and instruct them to complete the following steps:

  • Discuss ideas for a fun and unusual meal (this can be delicious or disgusting)
  • Note down the features and ingredients of the meal
  • Construct an article describing the fictitious meal
  • Include persuasive vocabulary

Assessment for/as learning:

Once students have completed their articles, match students with another pair. Tell the students that they will be peer-assessing each other’s work. Discuss elements students should look for in the work of their peers, such as:

  • A description of the meal
  • Persuasive vocabulary
  • A clear opinion expressed in the article
  • Tell students to use the two-stars and a wish strategy to assess the work of their peers.