Pigeon Pictures

article by Mina , illustrated by Fifi Colston

Learning Intention:

I am learning to use information texts and digital tools as stimulus for my own creative and descriptive writing so that I can compose texts written from different perspectives.

Success Criteria:

  • I can create a visual representation of information provided in a factual text.
  • I can create texts by drawing on the experiences of a person from history.
  • I can use digital technologies to conduct research when planning my writing.
  • I can reflect on how different perspectives can shape the creation of texts.

Essential knowledge:

View the English Textual concepts Perspectives video.



Write ‘Bird’s eye view’ on the board. Ask students the following questions:

  • What does this phrase mean?
  • Why do you think this phrase was developed?
  • Why do you think people still say this today?
  • Can you think of another way of saying ‘Bird’s eye view?’ (For example: aerial photograph, high angle)
  • Can you think of any other sayings or phrases using the idea of birds? (‘As the crow flies,’ ‘two birds one stone.’)


Understanding text:

Read the article as a class or listen to the audio recording.

Create a Pigeon Pictures timeline using the information from the article to show how the pigeon camera was developed and then how it’s use changed over time.

Extension: Add further developments to the process of taking aerial photographs beyond the use of pigeon cameras.


As a class discuss the following questions:

  • Who invented the pigeon camera?
  • Why did they need this invention?


Ask students to use the information from the timeline and the information in the article, to imagine they are Julius Neubronner. Have students write a diary entry from Julius’ perspective in which they write about Julius’ invention. Students may like to write specifically about one of the following important days:

  • The day the first pigeon arrived back having successfully used the camera.
  • The day Julius applied to get his idea patented.
  • The day Julius presented at the International Photographic Exhibition in Germany or France


Encourage students to think about how Julius would feel about his experiences and show his opinion about why his invention is an important one and worth pursuing.

Creating text:

Organise students into pairs. Have pairs use a computer or tablet device to use Google Street View and then Google Earth for one place well known to students. Suggested places include: The school and surrounding areas, a local landmark, a university, a city (for example Sydney CBD). Once students have explored their chosen location from both a bird’s eye perspective and a street-view perspective, have one partner write a detailed description of the place from a bird’s eye view, and the other partner to write a detailed description of the place from the ground.

Ask students to think about the following:

  • What can be seen from the air that cannot be seen from the ground?
  • What can be seen from the ground that cannot be seen from the air?
  • Which features of the place stand out?
  • What colours, shapes, lines and details draw your attention?

Sentence starters:

  • From a bird’s eye view/street-view, (place) looks….
  • The thing that stands out the most is…
  • From this perspective, I can see…
  • From this perspective I cannot see…

Pairs swap their writing and compare the features they have chosen to write about. They are to note what is similar about their descriptions and what is completed different.


Assessment for/as learning:

Have students complete an exit ticket in which they answer the following question:

  • Why is it important to see things from more than one perspective?