Is it a Bird? Is it a Plane?

article by Karen Jameyson , illustrated by Michel Streich

Learning intention:

I am learning to analyse and compare information on the same topic from different reputable sources so that I can conduct more reliable research.

Success criteria:

  • I can identify the main points of a biographical article.
  • I can compare these points between reliable sources.
  • I can arrange my research in a logical order.

Essential knowledge:

More information about researching with reliable sources can be found in the English Textual Concepts video Authority. View this video with the entire class to ensure everyone understands what Authority is.

After reading the article, watch the video Australian Story – Nancy Bird Walton and ask students to write down any important details from Nancy’s life. This video contains an actor speaking in the role of Nancy, but if students would also like to hear from the real person, the video Nancy Bird Walton – interview can also be played to give further insight of her experiences.

Ask students to consider why these sources would be considered reliable (the first video is created by a museum run by a local historical society, the second is a direct interview with Nancy speaking in her own words).

Using the information from the article and video/s, students should then draft a list of events from her life, noting the order that they occurred in as well as the year each one happened or the age that she was at the time, where possible. For example:

  • She was born in 1915
  • She went on a Gipsy Moth plane when she was 13
  • She left school, started working and saving her money for flying lessons
  • She started training under Charles Kingsford-Smith in 1933
  • Obtained her Class A flying licence at 17
  • She started flying for the Royal Far West Children’s Health Scheme in 1935
  • President of the Australian Women Pilots Association

If you have a digital subscription, you can find this as an interactive challenge.

Based on the information they have learnt and the list they have drafted, students should create an illustrated timeline of Nancy’s life and achievements. Timelines should include:

  • Events or achievements clearly stated
  • The approximate year each event took place
  • Illustrations to accompany at least 3-5 of the events in the timelines. The images from the magazine story can be used as inspiration or guides for less confident students.