Teaching Students About the Four Parts of the Orchestra?

What is an orchestra?

An orchestra is a group of musicians (specifically instrumentalists) who use a range of string, woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments to play classical music together. They are led by a conductor who stands at the front, setting the tempo and guiding the players.

A typical Western orchestra is sometimes called a symphony orchestra. These can be made up of any number of musicians, depending on what music is being played or the size of the venue. Orchestras can consist of over one hundred musicians playing a single work!

What sorts of instruments make up an orchestra?

An extensive range of instruments makes up an orchestra. These include violins, trumpets, trombones, flutes, cellos, oboes, drums, and many other devices worldwide.

The instruments are grouped into four distinct families based on the characteristics of the instrument, such as how musicians play them to make sound, their volume or loudness, and what kind of sounds they produce.

The four Families of the Orchestra

The four families of the orchestra are:

  1. String
  2. Woodwind
  3. Brass
  4. Percussion

Keep reading for a deep musical dive into these four families and what instruments fall under each category. The answers might surprise you!

String Instruments in the Orchestra

Characteristics of String Instruments

When people think of what instruments make up an orchestra, string instruments like the violin are often the first example that springs to mind. But there are other instruments in this family, and all of them have the following characteristics:

  • As their name suggests, string instruments must have strings that cause them to create noise through vibrations. It doesn’t matter what material these strings are made of or how thick they are, as long as this is the case.
  • The instruments must create sound by being strummed, plucked by hand, or bowed.

What are string instruments made out of?

The body string instruments have to be hollow inside to produce the required sounds, so many of the instruments in this family are made of wood.

The strings themselves are a different story. Some are made out of nylon or steel, but the traditional way to create them is by using gut. Although these guts were called ‘catgut strings,’ no cats were harmed in making these violins. They were developed from sheep’s intestines. Gross!

Another essential part of string instruments like the viola and the violin is the bows used to play them. Unfortunately, these handles are made of a thin piece of polished wood, while the strings are made of horsehair, making them quite fragile.

Examples of String Instruments in the Orchestra

Here are seven string instruments that might be featured in a classic orchestra:

  1. Violin
  2. Double bass
  3. Viola
  4. Cello
  5. Guitar
  6. Harp
  7. Mandolin

Where are the string instruments positioned in an orchestra?

The string instruments are positioned in a fan shape at the front of the orchestra. They sit directly in front of the conductor in a set order. From left to right are the first violins, the second violins, the violas, and the cellos.

The harp sits behind the first violins, while the double basses sit behind the cellos.

Woodwind Instruments in the Orchestra

Characteristics of Woodwind Instruments

Sometimes referred to as the ‘wind instruments, the woodwind section of an orchestra relates to a few instruments which have these two things in common:

  • Woodwind instruments create sound when the player blows air into them through the mouthpiece.
  • Different pitches are made by covering additional holes on the instrument, which takes a lot of practice.

What are woodwind instruments made out of?

Even though they have ‘wood’ in the name, woodwind instruments do not necessarily have to be made of wood. Today, they can be made from wood, metal, or plastic (or some combination of all three).

The mouthpieces of many woodwind instruments are made out of a long, thin piece of wood called a reed. These vibrate when air is passed into them.

Examples of Woodwind Instruments in the Orchestra

Here are a few common examples of woodwind instruments:

  1. Flute
  2. Clarinet
  3. Bassoon
  4. Oboe
  5. Piccolo
  6. Saxophone
  7. Tin Whistle
  8. Recorder
  9. Bagpipes
  10. English horn

Fun fact: the piccolo is the highest-pitched instrument in the entire orchestra!

Brass Instruments in the Orchestra

Characteristics of Brass Instruments

Brass instruments have a few defining characteristics that have to do with how they make sounds and play different notes:

  • They make sound through the vibrations from the player’s lips into the instrument’s mouthpiece.
  • You can play different notes by adjusting your lips and using the instruments’ valves, slides, or keys.
  • They’re essentially very long pipes that have been twisted into various shapes.

What are brass instruments made out of?

As the name suggests, brass instruments are usually made out of brass – an alloy of zinc and copper.

Old versions of these instruments would have been made from wood or conch shells.

However, just because an instrument is made of brass does not mean it’s a brass instrument. One good example is the saxophone, a part of the woodwind family.

Examples of Brass Instruments in the Orchestra

Seven brass instruments include:

  1. Trombones
  2. Trumpets
  3. Cornets
  4. Tubas
  5. Tenor horns
  6. French horns
  7. Euphoniums

What is the most difficult brass instrument to play?

Some say the French Horn is one of the most challenging brass instruments to play. How you play can produce loud blaring noises or much softer, gentler sounds.

Where are the brass instruments positioned in an orchestra?

Brass instruments are loud and disruptive, so they’re positioned toward the back of the orchestra, just in front of the percussion instruments.

Percussion Instruments in the Orchestra

Characteristics of Percussion Instruments

There are a lot of percussion instruments, and no two of them share the same characteristics. Still, there are a few reasons why they can be grouped:

  • Most percussion instruments make sounds when they are hit. If they don’t, chances are that they instead make sounds when they’re shaken, rubbed, or scratched (like maracas).
  • Percussion instruments can be loud. So even though percussionists have to be careful to control their volume and tempo in an orchestra, there’s no denying that basic fact.
  • They’re responsible for maintaining the rhythm of a piece of music.

What are percussion instruments made out of?

Usually, percussion instruments are made out of wood or metal to produce a timbre. Some feature a stretched membrane that vibrates when hit, like the top of a drum.

Examples of Percussion Instruments in an Orchestra

Here are a few examples of percussion instruments that you might find in an orchestra:

  1. Celesta
  2. Piano
  3. Tambourine
  4. Glockenspiel
  5. Triangle
  6. Bass drum
  7. Snare Drum
  8. Timpani
  9. Chimes
  10. Cymbals

There are plenty more examples, but even from this short list of ten, it’s easy to see that the variety of percussion instruments is wide.

Who would think a piano fits into a group with a triangle or cymbals? However, it makes a bit more sense when you think about it according to the main characteristic of making sounds when hit. A piano works through hammers hitting the strings inside, even though we control those hammers by using our fingers.

Where are the percussion instruments positioned in an orchestra?

As mentioned before, percussion instruments can be incredibly loud –think of the noise a gong might make in the middle of a musical performance. In addition, it means that they’re positioned at the very back of the orchestra.



What is a Statement?


What is a statement sentence?

A statement sentence is a type of sentence that conveys and expresses a simple piece of information in speech or writing. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a statement of fact. Instead, it could be a statement of an idea or someone’s opinion, such as “I like eating ice cream.”

A statement is the most common type of sentence used in everyday speech and writing. You’ll sometimes see this type of sentence being referred to as a ‘declaration’ or a ‘declarative sentence.’

Statements are one of the four different kinds of sentence structure, along with:

– Exclamative sentence (an exclamation).

– Interrogative sentence (a question).

– Imperative sentence (a command).

What are some examples of statement sentences?

Here are five different examples of how a declarative sentence might look:

  1. I need to do my homework tonight.
  2. I don’t want pasta for dinner, so I’ll have to buy something else.
  3. Our flight back to London from Spain was canceled, so we had to stay an extra night.
  4. I go to my swimming lessons every Wednesday afternoon.
  5. I take the bus to school every morning.

Statements of fact vs. statements of opinion

Before we learn about these statement sentences, it’s important to note that they can be split into two camps; statements of fact and opinion. Here are a few examples:

I think this film is the best in the series.

Mount Everest is the tallest mountain in the world.

We can see here that the first sentence is a statement of opinion, while the second is a statement of fact. While this example is pretty simple, things get more complicated when ideas are said as if they’re facts.

That’s why pupils need to know the difference. One of the national curricula aims for years 5 and 6 is to tell statements of fact and opinion apart.

How can I write a statement sentence?

Writing these declarative sentences is relatively straightforward. Like all sentences, a statement will typically include a clause. Clauses contain a verb (a ‘doing’ word) and a subject (the thing or person referred to).

Let’s take a look at a quick example:

‘I often go on walks through the park with my dog.’

In this example, the verb used is ‘go.’ We can also see that it’s written in the first person, so the subject is the person who wrote the sentence. The writer states that they like to go to the park with their dog.

A statement will always finish with some punctuation. It might be an exclamation mark, but it will be a complete stop in most cases.



What are Discourse Markers?



Discourse Markers

A discourse marker is a word or phrase that changes the flow or structure of dialogue without changing its meaning. We use discourse markers a lot in our day-to-day lives for many reasons. For instance, if we wanted to change the topic of a conversation, we’d use ‘so’ or ‘anyway.’

What Are Discourse Markers in The English Language?

We use discourse markers every day, often without even realizing it. They’re phrases and words that mark the direction of a conversation or discourse. They are used to connect, organize and manage what we think, say or write, or express a confident attitude. But they can also be used to redirect or focus a conversation.

You might sometimes see them as linking words, linking phrases, or sentence connectors.

What Are Some Examples Of Discourse Markers?

Now that we know a bit more about these words and phrases let’s look at a few examples. In this table, we’ve compiled a few common words and phrases that get used a lot in everyday speech:




As I say








For starters



How Do You use Discourse Markers in a Sentence?

Now you know some examples of these markers, it’s time to learn how your students can use them in their writing. Every discourse marker can be used for a different purpose to create emphasis, introduce evidence or conclude a text, so you need to understand which tag will suit your sentence. Here are some examples of how you can use discourse markers for different purposes.

To start a topic or sentence:

Words and phrases, like firstly and first of all, are used to introduce an item, opinion, or thought in a longer list or sequence. Here are a few examples of how they might look in a sentence:

“For a start, 90% of people voted for the new law.”

“First of all, let’s recap what we learned in the last lesson.”

To structure ideas:

Another common way to use these words and phrases is when we’re trying to structure our ideas in a way others can understand. For example, we might use numbered terms like ‘firstly’ and ‘secondly.’ Or if we’re telling a story or series of events, we might be more likely to use words like ‘then’ or ‘next’:

“Firstly, I didn’t eat the scones. Secondly, you have no proof that it was me.”

“I woke up at 7:30, and then I went to shower. After that, I got changed and had some breakfast.”

To express an opposing idea:

We might also use discourse markers to acknowledge or discuss two different ideas or opposing opinions. This discourse marker is most commonly used in balanced arguments and debates. For example:

Tim wanted to go to Sarah’s birthday party. However, he had a big test to study for.

I could buy these sweets now. But, on the other hand, I could save up for the new computer game.

To say something differently:

This course marker can also come in handy when we want to rephrase or reiterate something we’ve already said. Some examples include ‘in other words’ and ‘what I mean to say.’

There are also some specific words and phrases that are particularly useful when we want to simplify our ideas or sum up something complex using a few simple words:

“To cut a long story short, Alice forgot to bring her homework to school.”

“To put it simply, we need more time to finish the project.”

To provide additional information:

We might also use markers like ‘which,’ ‘but,’ or ‘so’ when we want to give information that would be useful to the listener, support an argument we’re trying to make, or even interject with our ideas. Take a look at a couple of examples:

“Assuming that I did eat the scones, which I didn’t, there would be crumbs on the kitchen counter.”

“The performance of King Lear, which took place at the local theatre, was well received by critics.”

Other ways to use discourse markers:

There are also loads of other ways that we use these markers in our speech and writing, including:

  • Changing the topic (‘so,’ ‘well,’ ‘anyway;’):

“Anyway, enough about my day. How was yours?”

  • To respond to someone (‘actually,’ ‘wow,’ ‘exactly’):

“Wow, those holiday photos look fantastic!”

  • To end or sum up a conversation (‘right,’ ‘okay,’ ‘so’):

“So that about wraps up this week’s creative writing session. Let’s meet up again next Friday.”

What are Speech Marks?


Speech Marks

Speech marks are punctuation marks that indicate direct speech in a sentence. Learn all about speech marks and how to show speech in writing.

What does a speech mark look like?


What are speech marks?

Speech marks are punctuation marks used in pairs in various forms of writing to indicate speech or begin a direct quote.

They are also called quotation marks and inverted commas.

Speech Mark Rules

The main rules for punctuating direct speech are:

  1. The spoken words should be surrounded by speech marks/inverted commas.

2) Each section of direct speech should end with a punctuation mark inside the speech marks. For example, “Bonjour!” said Anna cheerfully.

In this case, the exclamation mark ends the spoken sentence, so it needs to go inside the speech marks.

3) Remember to begin all new speech with a capital letter, like you’re starting a new sentence.

4) If a reporting clause breaks up a section of direct speech, it should end with a comma inside the speech marks. For example, “Ah, you’ve been learning French,” Josh said. “Salut!”

5) New speaker, new line. Direct speech should be carefully structured to help the reader follow the conversation. Every time there’s a new speaker in the discussion, you should start a new line.

A quick note on reporting clauses:

A reporting clause after the direct speech tells the reader who’s speaking.

Also, the reporting clause shouldn’t start with a capital letter unless the person’s name is used first. So, ‘said’ should never be capitalized in a reporting clause.

How do you use speech marks?

Do you want to know how to show speech in writing? Then we’ll break it down for you.

Direct speech:

The most common use of speech marks is to punctuate direct speech.

Direct speech is any speech spoken directly by a person or character. For example:

  • “I’m tired!” Lauren complained.

Direct speech can be the most complicated type of speech to punctuate because of the placement of the speech marks and punctuation in each sentence.


Outside direct speech, inverted commas can also indicate the title of something.

The book is called “The Wyrmstooth Crown.”


Speech marks can also be used to say that something is “so-called” and to indicate irony.

The “fresh” apples were full of worms.

The “free” gift required me to buy something first.

Using technical terms

Occasionally, we might use speech marks to indicate technical words or phrases. For example,

The reading technique is called “decoding.”

What is English Language Devices?


Literary devices, also known as linguistic or figurative devices, are techniques writers use to communicate a mood, feeling, or theme more effectively. English has many language features, including simile, metaphor, allusion, and hyperbole. All of these can be used to create a particular effect in the writer’s text.

English Language Techniques and Their Effects

Having a toolkit of English language techniques on hand is an excellent way for kids to amplify their writing. It also helps them analyze different texts, as they can identify the English language techniques used and their effects.

Here is a list of standard language features in English that kids will find in lots of novels, plays, poems, and more. We’ve also included examples of each technique to see how they look. By introducing some of these devices to your learners, you can help them to elevate their writing to the next level:


Imagery is a way of using language to paint a picture for the reader. Imagery can affect all five of the reader’s physical senses – not just sight. In other words, imagery assists a reader in imagining the smell, taste, touch, view, and sound of the scene that the author is describing.


One of the most common language features in English is similes. Similes are descriptive English language device that compares two things to create a vivid image in the reader’s mind. Similes impact the reader’s experience in imagining and understanding what they are reading. Similes are commonly used as a language devices in descriptive writing and poetry. Check out these examples of similes to see for yourself:

  • Cool as a cucumber.
  • Right as rain.
  • Lonely as a cloud.
  • Fit as a fiddle.

These examples of similes demonstrate how this language device adds extra detail to help the reader understand behaviors, people, situations, events, or objects.


While similes compare two things, metaphors create more of a direct and literal effect. A metaphor is a form of figurative language that directly resembles one thing to another for rhetorical effect. Metaphors most commonly use the structure ‘X is Y.’ Check out these examples of how metaphors can be an effective English language device:

  • The cat had eyes of moonlight.
  • She’s the sun on a cloudy day.
  • The night is a shadow cast on the Earth.


Alliteration can make your words more engaging and entertaining. When your writing engages your audience, they’re more likely to pay attention and remember what you say. Check out these examples of alliteration to understand the effect of this English language device.

  • The bird sang sweetly.
  • Matthew met Michael at the moor.
  • Tough talk.
  • Becky’s a busy bee.


Personification is a language device in which human characteristics, including thoughts, feelings, or actions, are given to something non-human. The ‘non-human’ in this case encompasses everything from inanimate objects to plants and animals. It makes it one of the language features in English that’s fun to experiment with. Check out these examples of personification as a practical language device.

  • The stars danced in the sky.
  • Those flowers are begging for water in this hot weather.
  • The sun is playing hide-and-seek today.


Assonance is when two words in a sentence share the same vowel sounds, but consonants differ. It creates a type of alliteration that flows to the text and can be strategically used to amplify the meaning.

For example:

  • Make sure to go slowly over the road bumps.

The assonance here is in the long ‘o’ sound.

Colloquial language

Colloquial language is essentially just informal language or simple forms of communication in written form. Includes shortened versions of words or specific phrases. This form of language is often used to show that characters in a story are familiar with one another.

For example:

  • ‘Wanna’ is a colloquialism meaning ‘Do you want to.
  • She needs to step up to the plate is a colloquial phrase meaning that someone needs to rise to the challenge of something.


Dialect is a great English language technique for establishing different story characters. It is a type of language that people speak in a particular geographical area. Therefore, using it in fiction helps show where the characters are from.


Hyperbole is the name given to an exaggerated phrase. If language is said to be hyperbolic, it is over the top and not intended to be taken literally.

For example:

  • The young boy was so hungry he could eat a horse.

Hyperbole can function as an intensifier, allowing us to put extra emphasis on something that’s happening in a story. However, exaggerated hyperbole can also be used for comedic effects.


The irony is brutal to describe but can be effective when used correctly. It means when words or ideas are used sarcastically or humorously to imply the direct opposite of what they mean.


Onomatopoeia is one of those language features in English that’s much easier to use than it is to spell! This English language technique is a word that sounds like the noise it’s describing.

For example:

  • Splash, drip, bang, crash.


An oxymoron is where two words typically not associated with one another are used together.

For example:

  • The ending of the movie was bitter-sweet.


Pathos is any language that is used to stir up feelings of sadness.


This English language technique is pretty self-explanatory. Often, writers will repeat specific words or phrases to emphasize them.

For example:

  • It is cold here in Belfast.


Rhyme is another of the language features in English that is most frequently used in poetry. Poems do not have to rhyme, but many adhere to a particular rhyme scheme. When describing the rhyme scheme in a poem, you use letters to represent the different rhyming sounds. For instance, a sonnet has 14 lines and follows the fixed rhyme scheme: ABAB CDCD EFEF GG. Rhyme can have various effects, depending on how it is used and in what context. It is really up to the writer to control this technique’s impact.


Rhythm is another technique that is most commonly used in poetry. Many poems maintain a steady beat, known as ‘meter,’ throughout. Much like rhyme, rhythm can have various effects on a text, depending on its use.


Symbolism can be one of the most helpful language features in English when used properly, and it’s a fantastic way to boost your writing and create an exciting text. Many different things can be used as symbols, such as colors, places, sounds, and objects. Symbolism can be used in different ways but is often used to provide further insight into the text’s central themes.

For example:

  • Red is often a symbol of danger, so if a building is painted red in a text, we get the sense that it is not a safe place.


The tone is a way of writing to create a specific mood or feeling in a text. This mood can be anything from shock, happiness, anxiety, anger, and sorrow. Many techniques listed above, in addition to structural devices like short or long sentences, can be used to create tone.


An allusion is a language technique in which something from a completely unrelated context is referred to indirectly. As the reference is discreet, it is left up to the audience to make a direct connection.


Anaphora is the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of a sentence. It can create a dramatic effect and a great sense of rhythm within a piece of writing.

  • I wish you didn’t have to go. I hope you want to stay. I wish things didn’t have to change.


You will likely have seen an anecdote without realizing it is an effective English language technique. An anecdote is an engaging, personal story or tale often used to develop specific ideas in a text or add depth and personality to characters.

Anecdotes can also be used as clues in a text to hint towards some aspects of a character’s story or life covertly.


A cliché is a type of expression or phrase that is extremely popular and over-used. These phrases tend to lose their original meaning but serve a different purpose in a text. It can give readers specific insight into a character’s personality, for example, if they use a lot of clichés.

  • And they all lived happily ever after.


Consonance is simply the repetition of consonants throughout a sentence or phrase. Consonant sounds are often harsh and abrupt and can create a coarse, grating tone in a text. However, these sounds can also create a rhythm within a text, which is why they can be found in many poems.

  • The car tore through the street at an alarming speed.


Contrast is when two or more objects, events, or characters directly oppose one another. Writers use this technique to show the difference between these objects, events, or characters within a text, which, in turn, accentuates their uniqueness or individuality.

  • Henry was a lovely boy whose golden hair shone in the sun. He was renowned for his kindness, which seemed to flow from him effortlessly. His brother, Max, however, was a horrible, you man. His face, constantly shrouded in a dark mass of hair, bore what seemed to be a permanent frown.


A text is didactic if it intentionally pushes a particular moral message to the reader. This simple message does not have to be overt but can be buried within the story’s subtext. Lots of famous children’s books are didactic.


Ellipsis is one of the most versatile language features in English. One of the most common ways it is used in literature is to create a dramatic effect. Ellipses create a pause in a text, which writers can use to build tension and suspense. Ellipses can symbolize unspoken words in a text, perhaps too complex for a character to say. Moreover, ellipses are often used to portray a sense of uncertainty. If there are ellipses before or after a phrase or sentence, it completely changes the meaning of the words.

  • The door swung open, but there was no one there.
  • Yeah, sure, I’d love to.

Pathetic Fallacy

Pathetic fallacy is a language technique in which human emotions are given to inanimate objects. This technique is most commonly used with objects or aspects of nature. A pathetic fallacy can be found throughout many classic texts, wherein nature is used as a powerful reflection or representation of certain characters’ feelings.

  • The rain pelted outside, and the freezing air nipped at his skin.

In this use of pathetic fallacy, the rainy weather represents the character’s feelings of sadness.

  • The sun beamed down Mary’s face and warmed her body from head to toe.

In this use of pathetic fallacy, the sunny weather represents Mary’s happiness.


Satire is used commonly, both in written and spoken language. It is a technique in which language mocks certain aspects of human nature or behavior. Satire can be used unkindly, depending on the broader context, and is often regarded as a very high form of comedy. Shakespeare was a big fan of satire and used it frequently throughout his plays.


Foreshadowing is when the writer hints about something earlier on in a text that will become important or meaningful later on in the story. It is a fun English language technique that can often go unnoticed on first reading but becomes apparent upon closer analysis.



What are North Pole Animals?



North Pole Animals

Some North Pole animals include Polar Bears, Arctic Hares, Arctic Foxes, Snowy Owls, and Reindeer.

Meet some of the North Pole animal residents! You might be surprised by the variety of animals that inhabit the Arctic despite some seriously extreme conditions.

Polar Bears

Polar bears are amongst the largest land animals at the north pole. They use the ice in the Arctic Sea to hunt seals. They’re the largest carnivores (meat-eaters) that live on the land – the most prominent males can be up to ten feet tall, though the females tend to be about half their size. Though polar bears look white, their skin is black. The fur covering their dark skin is see-through and helps them blend in with the icy environment. Their sense of smell is fantastic – they can smell a seal almost a mile away!


Polar bears are excellent swimmers. Their paws are specially-adapted for paddling, and they use their hind legs like a rudder. They can reach up to 6mph in the water and swim without rest for days. Because they spend so much time at sea, polar bears are considered ‘marine mammals.’ They’re the only type of bear to be classified in this way.

Their fur is so effective at keeping them warm that polar bears must be careful not to overheat! So instead, they maintain a comfortable temperature by strolling when they’re not stalking prey.

Though they’re impressive creatures, their hunting success rate is meager. Less than 2% of their hunting missions end in a kill. As a result, they have to be resourceful and often end up scavenging from nests or eating small creatures to keep them going between meals.

Arctic Hares

Arctic hares dig burrows beneath the snow. They’re much bigger than the average pet rabbit, but their ears are shorter. They change color throughout the year. In summer, their fur is a bluey-grey to help them blend in with the rocks on land. When it snows heavily in winter, their fur turns white so that they can stay camouflaged. They must remain concealed from arctic foxes, who will kill and eat them.


Arctic hares are extremely fast and can be bound away from predators at speeds up to 40mph. Arctic hares stand on their hind legs like meerkats to watch for predators.

Arctic Foxes

Like their prey, arctic hares, arctic foxes also have fur that changes throughout the year. The skin of an arctic fox is the warmest on the planet, making them the best-insulated animals in the Arctic. They live underground burrows and use their long, bushy tails as blankets.


To save energy, arctic foxes will sometimes follow polar bears and scavenge the remains of the bear’s kill rather than find their prey. They will also eat vegetation and steal eggs from nests.

The burrows of arctic foxes are extensive structures. Some are spread over 500 feet and have over 100 entrances. Like polar bears, their noses are very sensitive – they can sniff out a seal lair from more than a mile away.

Snowy Owls

Snowy owls perch on rocks to hunt, as there are no trees in the Arctic. Their favorite food is lemming (a kind of small rodent), and they can eat around 1,600 a year. They will also eat birds, fish, and other small mammals like rabbits, rodents, and arctic hares.

Most owls are nocturnal, but snowy owls are diurnal – they’re active during the day and night. Male snowy owls are the heaviest in North America: weighty and strong enough to knock over an adult human!

Snow owls’ legs and toes are covered in feathers to help them stay warm. The males tend to be paler than females – the females never become entirely white.


Reindeer eat moss, plants, and grass. In winter, they travel further south as it gets too cold to survive. Their sharp hooves help them walk on ice and rocks.

Believe it or not, reindeer do get red noses! It is because there are a lot of capillaries in their noses that carry oxygen-rich blood. In addition, the dense network of veins in the nose helps reindeer regulate the internal temperature of the rest of their bodies. As a result, their nose is designed to warm the chilly air before it reaches their lungs.

Reindeer are very social and live in herds. These herds can be huge, with up to 500,000 reindeer moving between 1,000 to 3,000 miles south to find warmer climates in winter. Sometimes, to make sure they don’t lose each other, reindeer can communicate using a clicking sound made by their knee joints.

Reindeer are a great example of herbivorous north pole animals – they only eat plants. Instead, they use their antlers (both males and females have antlers) to dig through the snow to find vegetation.

Arctic Seals

Arctic seals are brilliantly adapted to live on the ice at the North Pole. They dive through gaps in the ice to hunt for fish and crustaceans, using the claws in their front flippers to pull them along. They can dive a long way down to find food, sometimes going as far as 150ft underwater. And they can stay underwater for over fifteen minutes at a time. Under their fur has a thick layer of fat that helps keep them warm.


Female harp seals can tell which seal pup belongs to them by their sense of smell alone. When the seal pups are born, they have a layer of long fur that keeps them warm until their blubber develops.


Walruses are also very blubbery. When fully grown, they weigh over 1,500 kg, which is 1.5 tonnes! They are very social animals and collect in huge groups on the ice. Their whiskers help them find shellfish to eat, and they use their vast tusks to hack through the ice, hoist themselves out of the sea, and defend against predators.


Walruses tend to live to around forty years old. Unlike seals, they don’t stray far into deep water. Instead, they prefer shallow water, where they can find all the worms, snails, and sea cucumbers they want to eat.

As most ice melts due to climate change, walruses have few places to rest, eat, and shelter with their young. They’re forced to move to land, further away from where they can find food. There are also vast numbers in a small space, which can lead to stampedes. Life as a walrus is becoming increasingly difficult.



What are the Types of Reading?



What are the Different Types of Reading?

When we read texts, we don’t read the same way every time. The type of reading approach we take often depends on what we want to get from what we’re reading. Is it for pleasure, or are we looking to learn something new?

The types of reading can be placed into two main categories: extensive and intensive.

Extensive vs. Intensive

Extensive reading is reading that’s for pleasure and relaxation. As readers, we can dive into a book and get lost in a topic that interests us or explore a fictional world with exciting plot points and characters. With extensive reading, there’s no aim to achieve or objective to reach. It’s simply for the fun of reading.

Intensive reading takes a more active approach. As the name suggests, it’s more of an in-depth technique where the text is analyzed on a deeper level. This type of reading requires a careful and critical eye. There are different kinds of intensive reading, including scanning, skimming, and essential reading.

Types of Reading Examples


Scanning texts helps the reader find the precise information they’re looking for.

For example, if baking a cake, you might scan the recipe to remind yourself of the amount of flour you need to weigh.

So, scanning is seeking out specific information from a text. It’s also called rapid reading because we seek information quickly.


Another form of rapid reading, skimming, allows us to understand the central message of a piece of text without reading the entire thing.

You can skim-read titles, headings, subheadings, charts, and diagrams to get an idea of what it’s about. It will give a broad but shallow understanding of the text.

This type of reading can save time and tells you if it’s worth reading the entire text in detail.

For example, children might skim-read the chapter titles of a book to find out if it’s something they’d be interested in reading.

You may have also skim-read the headings of this Teaching Wiki to see if it will provide the information you’re looking for!


Critical reading is the most in-depth and intensive type of reading. As the name suggests, it involves having a critical eye and holding up a metaphorical magnifying glass to the text you’re reading.

It’s not about looking for faults and flaws in the text but instead holding the author and their ideas to account. Can they back up what they’re saying? Is there sufficient evidence to prove their point?

To read a text critically, you must analyze what it is saying and how it’s saying it (such as by looking at the literary devices it uses). From this, you make inferences and use your judgment to conclude – do you agree or disagree with what the text is saying or trying to say?

Critical reading analyzes various texts, including novels, poems, articles, and even what we see on social media or television.

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