article by Nicole Kelly , illustrated by Sylvia Morris

Learning Intention:

I am learning how to use a range of symbols in my writing so that I can plan, draft and publish short multimodal texts.

Success Criteria:

  • I can read and consider the ideas presented in a text.
  • I can use ideas in a text to prompt my own creative thinking.
  • I can turn my ideas into a multimodal text that uses a range of symbols.

Essential Knowledge:

More information on how symbols are a shortcut to a bigger idea can be found in the English Textual Concepts video Connotation, Imagery and Symbol.

A suggested sequence for introducing symbolism to Stage 2 can be found on the NSW Education webpage Two Week Learning Sequences.

Read the article as a class. If you have a digital subscription you may wish to listen to the audio recording on The School Magazine website. After reading, discuss the content of the article. You may wish to use these prompts:

  • Which of these statements best summarises the main idea of the text:
    • The 17th of January is Kid Invention Day.
    • Thanks to technology, it is easier than ever for kids to invent things.
    • Kids make wonderful inventions because they have incredible imaginations and ideas to solve the world’s problems.
  • Identify three interesting details from the text that link back to the main idea.
  • What problem was faced by Louis Braille? What did he invent to solve it?
  • What problem did Boyan Slat identify? What did he invent to help fix this problem?
  • Think of three problems currently being faced by the world.
  • Keep a “problems diary” overnight. List all the problems that you had in a 24-hour period.

Use the final two bullet points to facilitate whole class discussion. First, generate a list of problems in the world. Then create a shortlist based on problems that students could create a suitable invention for.

Break students into groups of 2 – 3. Ask each group to select three problems from the class list. As a team, they must try to think up an invention that could solve or help to solve each of these problems. Direct student attention to the call out box of tips for inventors. Ask students to consider these points as they creatively approach these problems.

Assessment as/for learning:

Ask groups to conduct an initial idea pitch with their peers. They should present each problem and the potential invention that would help address it. Peers could use the table below to structure their feedback:

Problem Invention/Solution Rank      /3
Explain your number 1 ranking:


Can you think of any ways they can improve their invention?


Finally, explain that groups will pitch their best solution to the class, a little bit like the television show Shark Tank. Students could structure their pitch using publishing software such as Canva, or presentation software such as Google Slides. It should be multimodal, containing at least text and images. Students should aim to use a range of symbols to convey information such as safety considerations and methods of operation. If you have a digital subscription, you can access a drag and drop activity that explicitly teaches students the relationship between common safety symbols and meaning.

Advise groups to imagine that the class are investors who will give them money to develop their inventions. For their proposed invention to be persuasive, they will need to address the following points:

  1. An overview of the problem they are trying to fix. Include facts and details. Exaggerate the problem.
  2. An outline of their proposed invention. What is its purpose? How will it work? Who can use it? How much will it cost?
  3. An explanation of what will need to happen for it to be invented. Research? Computer or app development? Trials?
  4. A justification of why the invention is important. High modality to list all the benefits caused by the invention.

Assessment as/of learning:

Persuasive text rubrics can be found on The School Magazine website. Students can use these rubrics as success criteria in the crafting of their persuasive texts via anchor charts. The rubrics can also be used to provide structure for peer or teacher assessment.