The Magic Tide

story by Laura Holloway , illustrated by Marjorie Crosby-Fairall

Learning intention:  

I am learning to research topic-related words so that I can expand my knowledge and vocabulary. 

Success criteria: 

  • I can make a list of unfamiliar words from texts  
  • I can find and match the meanings of new words in my vocabulary 
  • I can further research the topic to add more words to my vocabulary 


Essential knowledge: 

Information about researching with the use of reliable sources can be found in the English Textual Concepts video Authority. 


Read the story and ask students to make note of any new or interesting words they find in it as they read along. View the video Plankton, a Thank You Would Be Nice and ask students to also make note of any new or interesting words in this video. By this point, students should have a list similar to the following: 




Milky Way 








Food chain 


Crude oil 


Students should then add more words to their list by conducting further research into plankton and bioluminescence, using information from reliable sources such as: 








Ideally, students should have a list of 10 – 15 words, and they should then locate the meaning of each using a physical or online kids’ dictionary or encyclopedia. If you have a digital subscription, our matching activity can be used to get students started in building their understanding of the definitions of topic words from the text. 


Instruct the students to create a word puzzle using their word list and meanings, by using the meanings as clues. For example, the clue for the answer substance may be something like: 


The physical material that something is made from. 


The word puzzles students should create may be a crossword, word search or a type of their choosing. They may create these on paper or by using an online generator such as the Discovery Education Puzzlemaker. 


Once completed, students should swap their puzzles with a friend to challenge each other.