Dossier of Discovery: Catch Me If You Can!

article by Mina , photo by Alamy

Learning intention:

I am learning to identify key information in a text so that I can use it to adapt a different type of text.


Success criteria:                       

  • I can identify the key information in a non-fiction text.
  • I can describe the language features and rhyming sequence of a poem.
  • I can adapt my non-fiction information to use in a similar style of poem.


Essential knowledge:               

  • More information about style can be found in the English Textual Concepts video style.


As a class, read Dossier of Discovery: Catch Me If You Can! If you have a digital subscription, complete the interactive activity Fulgurite Facts.


Return to the first paragraph under the subheading Fast as lightning (finishes with the phrase “also called fulgurite”). On the board, model taking notes by finding key information in the first paragraph. Sample notes may be:

  • ice particles in clouds crash together to produce an electric charge
  • charge builds up and releases as lightning
  • fossilised lightning is called fulgurite
  • fulgurite can be centuries old.

In pairs, students are to find key information through the rest of the text and take notes. Encourage them to pay special attention to what fulgurite looks like. Sample notes may be:

  • fulgurite is a rare type of glass
  • caused by silica and lightning together
  • looks like thin, glassy tubes
  • can be smooth or lined with fine bubbles on inside
  • outside coated with rough sand particles
  • diameter = couple of cms
  • can be metres long
  • can be made by planting metal rod in sand


Once students have their key information, turn to page 20 of this issue of Touchdown and read the poem A Show of Summer. Explain that students will be writing their own poem about fulgurite in the style of A Show of Summer, using the information they’ve collected.


As a class, identify the rhyming scheme of the poem (ABCBDEFE). Point out that lines C and D are the same two words reversed (flittering and fluttering/fluttering and flittering). Ask students to identify other language features in the poem. For more information, visit NSW Education Department’s page on Literary Devices. Some possible answers:

  • Line A has alliteration
  • Line A is a metaphor
  • The first line B is personification
  • The last two lines are a simile.


Ask students how they can describe fulgurite using similes and metaphors, as well as to think of two adjectives that can be swapped around, the same as lines C and D in A Show of Summer.


Students work individually or in pairs to create a poem about fulgurite. Encourage them to count the syllables in A Show of Summer to mimic the rhythm as best they can, and to use a rhyming dictionary if needed. A sample poem is below.


A lashing of lightning

Makes the sky boil

Crashing and smashing

Through sand and soil

Smashing and crashing

Silica to glass

Thin tubes of fulgurite

Like a rough spyglass.


Students can complete the checklist below for self-assessment before swapping with a partner for a peer review using the same checklist.

  1. Have I included key information about fulgurites?
  2. Have I followed the same rhyming scheme as A Show of Summer?
  3. Have I included some language features, such as metaphors or alliteration?
  4. Have I mostly followed the rhythm of A Show of Summer?