Sylphie's Squizzes: The Drip Rifle

article by Zoë Disher , illustrated by Marjorie Crosby-Fairall

Constructs labels for a diagram by summarising key information from a text.

Read the first paragraph, that appears under the subheading ‘A clever contraption.’ Draw students’ attention to the illustration at the bottom of the page, emphasising that this drawing shows how a self-firing rifle is set up. Inform students that often explanation texts include a labelled diagram.

Tell students you will be using the information in the text to add labels to one of the illustrations. Display a copy of the first illustration that accompanies the article (found on page 4).

Model checking back to the text using the think aloud strategy to share key words that help you to identify the beginning of the extract, explaining how to set up a self-firing rifle (‘to set it up’). Read the first step aloud.

A tin full of water was placed over another tin, which was empty.

Use this information to add the first two labels to the illustration, ‘a tin full of water,’ referring to the tin at the top, and ‘an empty tin,’ referring to the tin at the bottom. Emphasise how you have paraphrased the information from the text, summarising what you have read and rewriting it into your own words rather than copying the information in the article, word for word. Labels can be attached using post-it-notes or written on a photocopy of the image.

Continue reading and again use the think aloud strategy to emphasise the discovery of additional information:

A small hole was punched in the top tin to allow the water to slowly drip through.

Return to the first label for the tin full of water and add the additional information ‘a small hole punched in the top to allow the water to slowly drip through.’

Continue following this process, adding the labels to the diagram based on the remaining information. Sample responses are provided below:

The tin tips over when all the water trips to the bottom tin (as a separate label referring to the top tin)

This pulls on a string connected to the trigger of a rifle (directed at the string)

When the sting is pulled, the rifle fires (referring to the rifle)

Read the second paragraph together before placing students in small groups. Instruct them to read the final paragraph under the subheading ‘Slipping away’ with their group. Tell students to use this information to label the illustration at the bottom of page 5. Students can use Worksheet 1 for this task. Remind students to scan the text for relevant information before summarising the details in their own words.

A sample response is provided below:

Final evacuation took place on 19 December 1915 (referring to somewhere in the sky)

The troops muffled their boots and covered anything that might reflect the moonlight (directed at the troops boots)

The troops marched silently in a single file across the trenches (referring to the troops)

The boats were waiting for them (directed at the boat in the background)

The Turkish soldiers did not realise they were leaving as William Scurry’s self-firing rifle was still shooting at the enemy (referring to the distance, far right, where the shadows might be the enemy troops)