Captain Ahab's Weird Wide World: Movers and Shakers

article by Louise Molloy , photo by Alamy

Learning intention: 

I am learning to listen for cues and take turns with others so that I can work cooperatively in groups of my peers. 


Success criteria: 

  • I can interpret information from a text. 
  • I can use my listening skills to identify verbal cues. 
  • I can take turns with my peers based on assigned groups. 


After reading the article, instruct students to stand up in a clear space. Read the following descriptions from the text out loud and ask them to perform the moves in each one in whichever way they interpret them: 

Spinner dolphins – ‘They leap about four metres out of the water to spin, not once but seven times.’ 

Sifakas – ‘…short skips into long leaps. Sideways!’ 

Peacock Spider – ‘…the male raises and waves two of his back legs. Then he shimmies from side to side with his impressive brightly-coloured rear end flipped up behind him.’ 

Snowball the Cockatoo – ‘He likes to bob, tap and sway to rock music…’ 


View the following videos and ask students to analyse how similar their interpretations of each dance moves were to the animals in the video: 

Inform students that they are going to have an animal dance off using the moves they have just learned. Start with a practice game by calling out the name of the different animals from the list and having students practice the move of that animal. Once they feel confident in knowing the movement of each one, split the students into four groups have them sit back down. Assign an animal to each group and inform students that when you call out their group’s animal, they must all stand up and perform that particular dance. 

Have students suggest and vote on a song to play for the dance off, then have fun! Students may even wish to vote for the dancer with the most animal flair in each group.