Captain Ahab's Weird Wide World: Sing Along

article by Louise Molloy , photo courtesy Alamy

Learning Intention:

I am learning to present facts using appropriate language so that I can write for a specific target audience.


Success criteria:

  • I can identify the elements of a factual report
  • I can write a report using researched information
  • I can use language that considers the context of the target audience


After reading the article, ask the class the following questions:

- What type of text is this? (report)

- Who is the target audience? (kids)

- Why do you think that? (Type of language used, questions, exclamations, has a friendly tone as if talking to the reader)


If you have a digital subscription, complete the interactive activity examining various parts of the article.


As a class, view the webpage 10 Animals That Sing. Scroll through briefly without reading the article itself and tell students to choose one of the animals. Encourage students to choose an animal that is a specific species rather than the general bird, whale, mouse. Students may also opt to choose a different animal that they know makes music.


Students conduct their own research into their chosen animal, finding out three to four facts about the music their animal makes. To keep them from being overloaded with information, remind students they should be looking for how, why, and when the animal makes its music. They can use the website given above or find others. Some example websites include:


Katydids/crickets/cicadas – The sounds of summer

Toadfish – Grumpy Toadfish Sings Strange Love Songs (National Geographic YouTube video)

Bats – Bat Senses


Once students have their facts, they need to organise them into a format that will fit as a fourth section of the article. Encourage them to choose a subheading that will match the others (Drummers, Hummers, Humpbacks), which means it should be a single word relevant to their chosen animal.


Students need to choose a starting sentence that will draw in their readers. It should use the same friendly tone as the article, with a question or an exclamation that includes something interesting about their animal. Remind students that each point (how, why, and when the animal makes its sound) should be a different paragraph. Finally, students should choose an interesting and fun sentence as their conclusion. Have them look at the other last sentences for each section of the article for examples. If students need further scaffolding, model a few additional introduction and concluding sentences.


Students can find a photograph of their animal online to accompany their piece. The text can be handwritten or typed on the computer and printed.