Trapped in a Flooded Cave

article by Annaleise Byrd , illustrated by Peter Sheehan

Learning Intention:

I am learning about the purpose of visual features used in factual texts so that I can create my own factual text accompanied by a diagram.


Success Criteria:

  • I can evaluate the importance of diagrams to support written words in an article
  • I can identify the visual features used in an article
  • I can rate the effectiveness of a range of visual features in an article
  • I can write my own short factual text accompanied by a diagram to enhance reader understanding.


Essential knowledge:

For more information and example informative texts and analysis worksheets see p. 19-29 (Appendix 4 – 6) of the NSW Department of Education’s learning resource Stage 3 Reading text structure.


Understanding text:


Before handing out the magazine for students to see, read the first two pages of the article (page 8-9) out loud or listen to the audio for this section only.


Ask students to draw a diagram showing the Tham Luong cave system. It will be helpful to read the section under the subheading ‘Tham Luong cave’ a second time, so that students can hear the key information about the cave system. Assist the class in making a list of the features of the Tham Luang cave.

Suggested list:

  • Cave system
  • 10km into the mountain
  • Initial series of large chambers, then narrows into tight tunnels
  • The soccer team are trapped 2.6 km into the cave system
  • The cave system floods in the wet season.

Allow students time to draw their own diagram of the Tham Luong cave system using the information given. When they have finished, organise students into pairs and ask them to share their diagrams with one another. They can discuss what is similar and different in their diagrams and talk about why they chose to represent it as they have.


When students have finished their pair work, hand out the magazine. Ask students to look at the diagram of the cave system on page 9. Ask students to compare this with their own diagram and note the similarities and differences between their own diagram and the one in the magazine.


Engage students in a whole class discussion. Ask the following questions:

  • What did you get right in your own diagram from listening to the article being read?
  • What was missing or incorrect in your diagram?
  • How does the diagram in the magazine help readers to understand the danger faced by the Wild Boar soccer team?
  • What information do readers miss when they do not have a visual diagram to accompany the words in the article?
  • Do you think that factual articles should always include diagrams? Why or why not?


Continue reading the article, this time students may have the magazine in front of them. After reading, ask students to list the different visual features included in the article.

Suggested list:

  • Photograph of pararescuemen using a weighted training dummy
  • Five vital rules
  • Photograph of rescuers in the cave
  • Illustration of the ‘Inert Package Plan’


Work as a class to rank the visual features from 1-4, with 1 being the most useful visual feature and 4 the least. As this ranking is being negotiated, discuss what each visual feature offers the reader and adds to the words on the page.


Creating text:


Have students create their own short 2-3 paragraph article about a topic they know a lot about. They are to include a diagram and images to help readers understand the information they are providing in their article.


Example topics:

  • The off-side rule in soccer
  • The positions of a netball team
  • Caring for a particular type of pet
  • How to start learning a musical instrument
  • How to wash a car


Assessment for/as learning:


Exit ticket: Give students the following question to complete as an exit ticket:

  • Why is it important to include visual features like diagrams, maps, photographs and illustrations in a factual article?