Dinosaur on the Move

story by Katie Aaron , illustrated by Sarah Davis

Learning intention:

I am learning to analyse text structure so that I can explain how authors use character development to create interest for the reader.


Success criteria:

  • I can identify how an author creates a sympathetic character.
  • I can explain how a character develops through a text.
  • I can present my understanding of character development in an oral presentation.


Essential Knowledge

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


After reading the story, sort students into groups of three or four and give them time to discuss how the author was able to make Martha a sympathetic character (a character who the reader can identify with) despite the fact she isn’t human. The following questions can be used as prompts:

  • What human characteristics did the author give Martha?
  • How do you know how Martha felt during the course of the story?
  • Can you identify with these feelings?


Encourage students to find direct quotes and think of personal experiences to support their answers. Once groups have had a chance to discuss, come together as a class to share answers. Students might identify that Martha was lonely and give an example of a time they also felt lonely. They might connect with her perseverance while she tried to walk or her embarrassment when she fell. Some students might relate to Martha’s joy at finding friends.


Explain to the class that while Martha is a T-Rex, the author was able to make the audience sympathetic to her situation by giving her the universal experience of loneliness, which all people feel at one time or another. This sympathy is what connects the reader to the character.


Write the following on the board (notes in brackets can be explained orally):

  1. Character desire (what is a problem in the main character’s life/what does the character want?)
  2. Inciting incident (what moment sparks the character to make a change?)
  3. Obstacles (what keeps the character from getting their desire?)
  4. Character actions (what does the character do to overcome the obstacles?)
  5. Climax (what is the biggest thing at the end that gets in the way of the character achieving their goal?)
  6. Solution (how does the character overcome this final obstacle?)
  7. Resolution (how has life changed for the character?)


As a class, answer the first point together by:

  1. Discussing what the problem is with Martha’s life (she’s lonely)
  2. Discussing what would solve the problem (companionship)
  3. Have students find quotes from the text to support their answers. Sample quotes are below.


Martha had been put at the dead end of a long corridor away from the room,

on her own.


No-one had ever said anything nice to Martha before.


‘You must be lonely…’ This boy was a mind-reader.


She’d like to say thank you to him for knowing she was lonely.


He pointed up the wide corridor with its shiny floor and wall of glass windows.

(Note: the author selects vocabulary like wide and shiny, and uses the desirable

description of a wall of glass windows to imply that there is a nicer

place for Martha.)


Martha watched the boy run to join his friends. She wished he’d stay. (Note: the

author is comparing Martha’s solitude to the boy’s group of friends to emphasise

her loneliness and highlight her need for companionship.)


Once character desire has been discussed, each group fills out a table or a list completing the other headings using information from the text to plot Martha’s character arc. Encourage students to use quotes from the text to support their answers. Once complete, each group presents their findings to another group. They can use a visual aide such as Prezi, PowerPoint or a poster to assist with their presentation.


Sample answers:

  1. Inciting incident (Ryan suggests Martha should be with the other dinosaurs)
  2. Obstacles (Martha can’t walk/getting there would cause pandemonium)
  3. Character actions (Martha practises walking/selects a time she wouldn’t be seen)
  4. Climax (Martha falls over and is stuck upside down)
  5. Solution (Ryan suggests Martha use her tail to get up)
  6. Resolution (Martha is now with the other dinosaurs)