Captain Ahab's Weird Wide World: Return of the Dibbler!

article by Louise Lolloy , illustrated by Lesley McGee

Learning intention:

I am learning about how to use common suffixes so that I can form correct words when adding suffixes.

Success criteria:

  • I can identify suffixes used in a text.
  • I can make generalisations about adding these suffixes to a base word.
  • I can add suffixes to base words.
  • I can use these words in an extract of an article.


Essential knowledge:

Ensure students know that suffixes are letters or groups of letters that can be added to the end of a base word to change the word in some way.

Prior to reading Captain Ahab’s Weird Wide World: Return of the Dibbler! display the following list of suffixes:

  • ed
  • s
  • ists
  • ous

Display a table featuring each of the suffixes and instruct students to copy the table into their books. Read the first section of the article, under the subheading ‘Extinct’. Jot any words from this section of the article that feature the suffixes listed into the table. Discuss the meaning of each of the suffixes identified, ensuring students note the following:

  • ed makes a verb past tense
  • s makes a noun a plural

Instruct students to work with a partner, reading the rest of the article and adding any words with the suffixes listed to the table. Sample responses have been provided.

ed s ist ous
Words from the article ringed












































Discuss examples from the table. Again, discuss generalisations that can be made about the meanings of each of the suffixes.

  • ists – someone who specialises in a specific skill
  • ous – changes a noun to an adjective (it means full of)

Note: Students requiring more information on the suffix -ous can complete the BBC Bitesize activity, How to Use the Suffix -ous.

Inform students that they will be experimenting with adding suffixes to base words. Display the following base words:

  • fame
  • rabbit
  • disappear
  • discover
  • search
  • biology
  • study
  • Egypt
  • moment
  • walk
  • scamper
  • squeak
  • animal
  • marsupial


Remind students of the suffixes they analysed (ed, s, ists, ous). Discuss new words that can be formed by adding one of these suffixes to the displayed base words. Ideas for suffixes that could be added to the words displayed include:

  • famous
  • rabbits
  • disappeared
  • discovered
  • searched
  • biologist
  • studious
  • Egyptologist
  • momentous
  • walked
  • scampered
  • squeaked
  • animals
  • marsupials

Collaboratively compose a brief extract about a fictitious animal that has become extinct. Inform students that they should create a name for the species of animal. Tell students that they should use at least five of the words from the list, with suffixes added. A sample response is:

The Katamasta, which was a similar size to most average rabbits, disappeared many years ago. They were famous for their amazing tricks. They could flip, turn and tumble through the air. Biologists discovered them nearly two centuries ago. In recent years, many people have searched for the Katamasta, but no one has been able to find them.

Place students with a partner. Alternatively, they may work independently on this task if they prefer. Instruct students to select at least five base words to add suffixes to before including these words in a brief article about a fictitious animal becoming extinct.