The Great and Sticky Wall of China

article by Mina , Illustrated by Michel Streich

Learning Intention:


I am learning to explain how visual features contribute to the meaning of a text so that I can persuade an author to use them.


Success Criteria:

  • I can identify useful visual features for a non-fiction text.
  • I can create visual features to accompany a text.
  • I can write a persuasive text to convince an author to use my visual features.


Essential knowledge:

Teaching note: Although not necessary, this learning resource can follow on from last issue’s lesson for the article Trapped in a Flooded Cave.


Oral language and communication:

Brainstorm with students what sorts of visual features might accompany a non-fiction text, such as an article. Write the answers on the board for students to refer to during the lesson.

Sample answers: images, figures, tables, diagrams, maps, graphs, comic strips, timelines, photo stories, procedure diagrams and flowcharts, life-cycle diagrams.

Read the title of the article’s text: The Great and Sticky Wall of China. Ask students what sorts of visual features they might expect to accompany the article.


Understanding text:

Read the text as a class, or if you have a digital subscription, listen to the audio recording. After reading, ask students what visual features accompany the text (a photo of the wall, an illustration of a man playing with a model wall and a bowl of rice, an illustration of builder’s tools and a bowl of rice). Ask students if they were surprised by the visual features included.


Explain that students will be designing three extra visual features to accompany the text. They are to choose the visual features they believe to be the most appropriate ones to help contribute meaning. Some examples:

A map showing where the Great Wall of China is

A timeline of events

A short comic strip showing some of the events

A photograph of sticky rice

An inset text box with a recipe for rice mortar

A close-up photograph of the Great Wall


Creating text:

Give students time to create their visual features, either digitally or by hand. Explain that students will be writing a persuasive paragraph for each visual feature to convince the author to use it in the article.

Questions for students to consider:

- How does this visual feature help enhance the text?

- What extra information does this visual feature supply?

- Why should the author choose this visual feature over other options?


Assessment for/as learning:

A marking rubric for persuasive texts can be found on The School Magazine’s website. Students can use this to inform their writing and/or for peer assessment.