Will Wonders Never Cease? Bike Polo

article by Zoë Disher , photo 'East Van Bike Polo Players' by Mark Klotz is marked with Public Domain Mark 1.0.

Learning intention

I am learning to participate in paired speaking and listening situations by interviewing a partner so that I can develop my skills by asking questions and listening to responses.

Success criteria

  • I can scan an information report to identify the genre.
  • I can identify the who, what, where, when, why and how in an information report.
  • I can plan questions to ask my peers.
  • I can interview my peers and record their responses.
  • I can include my peers’ responses in an information report.

Essential knowledge

View the video Genre from the English Textual Concepts.

Ensure students understand that knowing the genre of a text means that readers will be able to predict the patterns a text will follow. Inform students that genre can also apply to the type of text, providing examples such as poetry, information reports, narratives.

Focus question:

How can genre be determined by scanning the structure of a text?

Prior to reading Will Wonders Never Cease? Bike Polo, discuss the term scanning. Ensure students note that when readers scan a text, they don’t read the paragraphs in detail. Instead, they look at key elements, such as the following:

  • headings
  • subheadings
  • structure (is it a poem organised in lines? Is it an article organised using subheadings?)
  • images
  • the introductory paragraph

Tell students that often the genre of a text can be identified by scanning a text. Collaboratively scan Will Wonders Never Cease? Bike Polo. Using the think aloud strategy to emphasise that students shouldn’t read the information in the paragraphs and instead they should scan the elements discussed to obtain an overall sense of the text. Emphasise that the text features the following:

  • the heading: Will Wonders Never Cease? Bike Polo
  • subheadings: Horses vs bikes, From Grass to asphalt, Cycling skills
  • structure: it is organised under subheadings
  • images: it features photographs rather than illustrations
  • the introductory paragraph: Bringing the ancient sport of polo to a carpark near you!

Identify with class, what type of genre Will Wonders Never Cease? Bike Polo is, ensuring students note the following:

  • it features photographs rather than illustrations
  • it includes subheadings
  • it features a factual introductory paragraph.

Discuss what can be concluded about the genre based on these elements (it is an information report). Inform students that readers have expectations about what will appear in an information report due to its genre. Tell students that information reports usually include the following information:

  • Who?
  • What?
  • Where?
  • When?
  • Why?
  • How?

Inform students that most information reports will answer these. Read the first paragraph of the article (under the subheading Horses vs Bikes) with the students.

Discuss who and what is the focus of this text (people playing polo on bikes rather than horses). Place students with a partner. Instruct them to continue reading the article before answering the remaining questions (where, when, how and why).

Discuss responses ensuring students note the following:

  • Where: invented in Ireland, it was initially played on grass fields and is now popular in cities where it is played on asphalt surfaces like carparks and basketball courts
  • When: it has been played on horseback for thousands of years, it was invented in 1891 and now the game is becoming more popular
  • Why: bike polo is accessible for people who don’t have access to a horse due to cost or the amount of maintenance horses require. It’s a fast-paced game that tests players’ skills in a number of areas such as their pedaling ability, their ability to turn the bike and their ability to keep the bike motionless
  • How: it is played on bikes and players must be skilled at guiding a ball through the jumble of bikes using their mallet, while keeping their feet off the ground.

Inform students that they will be taking turns interviewing a partner to collect information for an information report. Tell students that the interviews should focus on their partners interests and hobbies. Prior to conducting the interviews, briefly discuss students’ interests or hobbies informing them that this can include formal activities such as extra-curricular classes or games they like to play. Tell students that when conducting interviews, it is important to ask questions that provide the most interesting answers.

Discuss the difference between closed and open-ended questions. Provide an example of each, such as, do you like ice-cream? (closed) and what do you like most about ice-cream? (open).

Delve further into the open-ended question, what do you like most about ice-cream? by asking students this question then asking follow-up questions, for example,

  • If they say they like ice-cream as it is sweet, ask what in particular they like about sweet food (it gives them energy)
  • If they say they like ice-cream as it is cold, ask what in particular they like about food (it cools them down or they like the sensation of the ice cream making their throat numb)

Tell students that often follow-up questions will provide the most interesting responses. Inform students that they should plan some questions and that they should be prepared to make up follow-up questions depending on their partner’s responses. Briefly discuss questions students may ask, ensuring they cover the who, what, where, when and how. Sample ideas include:

  • What interests or hobbies do you have?
  • Who do you do this activity with?
  • Where do you do this activity?
  • Why do you like it?
  • How often do you take part in this activity?

Remind students that they will need to think of follow-up questions as they go, based on their partner’s responses. Place students in pairs and allow time for them to interview each other. Students can record the interviews using digital software such as Voice Memos or make notes on the information their partner shares.

Once students have conducted their interviews re-visit the article Will Wonders Never Cease? Bike Polo. Discuss how the information is organised (grouped under subheadings). Instruct students to compose a brief information report that features the information collected through the interviews.

Allow time for students to share their information reports with the person they interviewed so that they can see their responses to the interviews come to life.