Captain Ahab's Weird Wide World: Give Peas a Chance

persuasive article by Cheryl Bullow , photo by Alamy

Note: Before the lesson, have enough copies of The School Magazine’s persuasive text marking rubric to share between groups of three.


Learning Intention:

I am learning to analyse language features and images of a text so that I can identify the text’s purpose.


Success Criteria:

  • I can explain the purpose of a persuasive text
  • I can evaluate persuasive devices used in a text
  • I can describe the way an image can enhance the purpose of a text.


Essential knowledge:

For more understanding about text types, view The School Magazine’s video on Genre.

For more understanding about structural features of texts, view The School Magazine’s video on Code and Convention.


Oral language and communication:

Explain that you will be reading an article as a class. Ensure students understand that an article is an informative text. Without showing students the article, read aloud the line:

They’re small, round and full of goodness. What’s not to love about peas?

Ask students what they expect the topic of the article to be about. Once students identify peas, ask students to predict what sorts of information the article will contain. Students may guess things like where peas grow, how they’re harvested or what nutrients they contain. Reread the line: What’s not to love about peas? Give students another chance to think about what they might find in the text. Do not give the answer at this point.


Understanding text:

Read Give Peas a Chance as a class, or, if you have a digital subscription, listen to the audio recording. Ask students what else they notice about the text besides the fact that it’s informative. If they’re unsure, guide students towards the answer that it is a persuasive text. Ask:

- What is the text trying to persuade us to do? (Eat peas – “Give peas a chance”)

- How is the text structured? (In three sections, each with a subheading)

- How do you think the image contributes to the text? (Answers will vary)


Creating text:

Divide the class into groups of three. Give each group a printed copy of The School Magazine’s persuasive text marking rubric. Explain that students will be using the rubric to assess the article as if they’re the teacher. Students colour-code each box depending on how successfully they think the article achieved the criterium – for example, green for excellent, orange for so-so, red for not achieved. As a class, discuss how the rhetorical questions (Feeling tired or rundown? Need a boost of energy?) and strong adjectives like delicious, chockful can be addressed with the criterium that “the author carefully chooses language that presents the topic in either a positive or negative way”.


Once groups have assessed the written text, give them time to analyse the accompanying image and write a brief evaluation on how well it contributes to the purpose of the text. Sample answers include:

- It is plain and boring and needed more colour

- It showed juicy, fresh, shiny peas and made us want to eat them

- It was good to focus only on the peas because it didn’t distract the viewer with other images


When groups have finished their full evaluation, groups share their answers with the class. Discuss any points where groups have disagreed with each other and make a final evaluation with the class.


Assessment for/as learning:

As an exit slip, students can either:

  • explain the purpose of a persuasive text
  • name one persuasive device that the article Give Peas a Chance successfully achieved.