Captain Ahab's Weird Wide World- Sea Superstars

article by Stephanie Ryan , 'Starfish' by buck82 is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Learning intention:

I am learning to identify characteristics of animals so that I can use them when creating fictional characters.


Success criteria:

  • I can list characteristics of starfish based on the information in the article
  • I can identify the use of real-life and imaginary characteristics in fictional starfish characters
  • I can create my own starfish character for a particular type of story of my choosing


Essential knowledge:

More information about creating characters can be found in the English Textual Concepts video Character.


After reading the article, ask students to recount facts about starfish and write their answers on the board. If you have a digital subscription, you can use our interactive quiz to help students recall some facts. Answers may include:

  • They are also known as sea stars
  • Their predators include fish and sharks
  • Some are covered in pointy spines
  • Some can shoot mucus to defend themselves
  • Most starfish move around on their own
  • They can be found in oceans across the world
  • They can be found in depths of up to 9000 metres
  • Most have five arms, but can have as many as forty
  • If they lose a limb, they can grow another one
  • They pull themselves along using tiny tube feet – the video Starfish Walking on the Beach can be viewed to demonstrate this.

Discuss the use of starfish as characters in fiction and the way that these include some real-life characteristics of starfish, as well the use of fictional aspects. Some characters that may be familiar to students are Peach from Finding Nemo, Sandy from Jake and the Neverland Pirates, or Patrick from Spongebob Squarepants. View the video Real Starfish vs Patrick Star to further demonstrate the combination of real and imaginary characteristics.

Inform students that they are going to create their own starfish character and should incorporate some real-life qualities that they have learnt about starfish as well as some that they make up from their imagination. They should consider what kind of story their starfish would be a part of, depending in their personal preference. For example, perhaps it is a detective that is trying to solve a deep-sea mystery, the queen of an underwater city, or a silly starfish that is always pulling funny pranks.

Once they have decided this, they should create their character profile by drawing a picture of their starfish and writing facts about them such as:

  • Type of character (detective, queen, prankster etc)
  • What their hobbies are
  • What their favourite food is
  • Where they like to hang out
  • What their best and worst qualities are
  • What makes them happy
  • Who their underwater friends are

Students may also like to come up with their own facts that they feel is important to their character. Profiles can be created in their books or on paper to display in the classroom.