Tummy Tours

article by Zoë Disher , illustrated by Michel Streich

Learning Intention: 

I am learning how vocabulary is used to express a greater precision of meaning so that I can identify and explain the different purposes, audiences and degrees of formality of texts. 

Success Criteria: 

  • I can identify the audience, purpose and form of two different texts on the same topic.  
  • I can differentiate between Tier 2 and Tier 3 vocabulary and locate Tier 3 vocabulary in a nonfiction text.  
  • I can substitute vocabulary to change the audience, purpose and form of a text.  

Read the article as a class. After reading, discuss the articles audience (primary school age children), form (short article) and purpose (to inform, but also to entertain). You may wish to highlight similarities and differences with Zoe Disher’s other article in this issue, her regular column ‘Sylphie’s Squizzes’. Both are high interest articles, presented using informal language, catchy headings and engaging examples. However, unlike Sylphie’s Squizzes, this article is much longer and, despite being nonfiction, also contains a fantasy element: the reader imagines that they are riding through the digestive system in a ‘Tummy Tour capsule’. 

Next, introduce students to the concept of Tier 2 and Tier 3 vocabulary. Tier 2 vocabulary are high frequency words, used by mature language users across lots of different subjects. Some examples from the text are: digest, absorb and capsule. In contrast, Tier 3 words are subject specific, often regarded as technical language. In the article there are many examples of subject specific vocabulary, such as: enzyme, nutrient and oesophagus.  

Show students the YouTube clip: Visible Body | 3D Tour of the Digestive System. After viewing, ask how the audience and purpose of this text is different to the article. Answers include that the audience is likely to be older, more specialised viewers, like high school science students, and the purpose is purely to inform. Then pause the video at various points and identify some of the Tier 3 language used, for example: oral cavity, bolus liver, pancreas, gall bladder and defecation. If you have a digital subscription, you can complete this as an interactive activity.    

Finally, ask students to substitute some of the Tier 3 language used in the clip into the article. For example the heading, ‘The Mighty Mouth,’ would change to, ‘The Mighty Oral Cavity’. The phrase, ‘the walls of the tube are pushing in and out,’ would become, ‘the involuntary contractions of peristalsis’. Then read the rewritten sections of the article and discuss how the audience and purpose has changed due to the inclusion of more Tier 3 vocabulary. 

Extension: ask students to categorise the word list of the puzzler on page 33 into Tier 2 and Tier 3 vocabulary.