Operation Swimming Pool

The School Magazine

Learning Intention:


I am learning to understand the importance of setting and the way that it helps to shape the story so that I can consider my settings more carefully in my writing.


Success Criteria:

  • I can identify the way that settings can impact characters and plot, including the complications and resolutions in a story
  • I can create a story plan based on my own idea of a setting
  • I can compose a story using my setting idea



Essential knowledge:

To assist students with organizing their ideas into a narrative, view the English Textual Concepts video Narrative.


Understanding text:

Prior to reading Operation Swimming Pool, ask students to identify the setting based on the illustrations. Explain that the setting is the time and place where the story occurs. Students should determine that the story takes place in a family’s backyard on a hot day. Ask students to give examples of settings from other stories that they are familiar with. Begin by modelling some, such as:

  • A boarding school that teaches witchcraft and wizardry over the course of a school year (Harry Potter series)
  • A juvenile detention camp in the desert (Holes)
  • A fantastical chocolate factory on a day where a tour of golden ticket winners takes place (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)


Using the examples students have given, discuss the way settings affect the characters and plot. For example:

  • In the Harry Potter series, Harry makes friends and enemies at the school, learns important skills in his classes and solves mysteries involving school staff and other characters involved in magic.
  • In Holes, Stanley and his fellow inmates are forced into hard labour in the detention camp which involves digging holes in the desert. This means that they are not only dealing with the effects of severe heat, but also the danger of desert creatures such as snakes and scorpions.
  • In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Charlie and his grandpa tour a range of imaginary worlds within the factory and members of the tour group face disturbing consequences when they show their greedy sides.


Ask students to consider how the setting of Operation Swimming Pool may affect the characters and plot of the story (e.g. they may be overheated and fatigued, desperate to cool down, but they face challenges in trying to do so).


Oral language and communication:

Read the story as a class or in reading groups. Discuss the following questions with students:


  • How did the setting affect the characters? What complications did it cause? (e.g. Jemima and Felix were desperate to go swimming to get some relief from the heat, but they didn’t have a pool and lived too far away from the beach)
  • How did the setting help further the plot? (e.g. They tried to find solutions based on what was available at home, such as a bath, their paddling pool and a neighbour’s pool, but none of these suggestions helped. This meant they had to become more creative)
  • How did the setting contribute to the resolution of the story? (e.g. Grandpa had Jemima and Felix collect household items to create a barrier for the water and used their backyard cubby house and the garden hose to make an indoor pool)


Assessment for/as learning:

Inform students that they are going to come up with their own setting as the basis for a story. Have them brainstorm potential settings and story ideas using the following questions for guidance:


  • Where is your setting?
  • What time of day / year is it?
  • How can these factors affect your characters’ experiences in the plot?
  • How can the setting cause complications in the story? Would this be caused by the geographical location, the buildings or natural surroundings?
  • What kind of items would be found in this setting? How might they factor into the story?
  • How can the setting influence the resolution?


Once students have brainstormed their idea, they should write a draft of their story to be checked, then publish their story in their book or on a piece of paper.