Where are The Christmas Beetles?

article by Angela Toniolo , photo by Alamy

Learning intentions:

I am learning to explain how visual representation contributes to written factual texts so that I can create my own analytical images to accompany a text.


Success criteria:

  • I can describe how an analytical image would enhance the reader’s understanding of a text.
  • I can select and research relevant information to create my own analytical image.
  • I can construct my own analytical image to enhance the reader’s understanding of a factual text.


After reading Where Are The Christmas Beetles?, display the NSW English Syllabus Outcome EN3-3A or the Australian Curriculum outcome ACELA1524 on the board:

Uses an integrated range of skills, strategies and knowledge to read, view and

Comprehend a wide range of texts in different media and technologies.


Identify and explain how analytical images like figures, tables, diagrams, maps and graphs contribute to our understanding of verbal information in factual and persuasive texts.


Ask students to review the article and brainstorm what sort of analytical images would contribute to a reader’s understanding of the text. Answers may include:

  • population maps to show the difference between where Christmas beetles used to be found and where they’re found today
  • maps to show areas of habitat loss
  • a graph or a table to show declining population numbers
  • sample data from the ‘citizen scientist project’
  • a diagram showing the consequences for the ecosystem if Christmas beetles become extinct (soil health, waste management, pest control, and pollination)
  • a labelled diagram of the Christmas beetle
  • a diagram of the life cycle of the Christmas beetle

In pairs, students are to choose an analytical image type to add to the text and create it either by hand or using a computer program such as PowerPoint or Paint. Ensure students understand that an analytical image contributes data and isn’t just a plain drawing. Students may need to do further research to find specific statistics and locations.


Some useful websites include:

The Australian Museum’s Christmas Beetle webpage

Beetle Identification’s page on Christmas Beetles

Learn About Nature’s webpage on the Beetle Life Cycle

Kiddle’s section on Beetle Bodies


If students can’t find extra information, encourage them to be creative with their analytical images, as long as none of their data contradicts the information given in the original text. The important part is that they understand how their analytical image will enhance a reader’s understanding of the article.


When complete, students can present their image to the class and explain how it enhances the text.


Assessment as/of learning:

  • My visual aid is an analytical image that contributes data to the text
  • My analytical image uses relevant information to complement the text
  • My analytical image is clear and easy to understand.