Package 4-4: Responding to text 2

This lesson focuses on comprehension skills including skimming a text for information, and using text evidence to make inferences.

Week 5 - Package 4 - Year 5 and 6 English/literacy - Responding to text 2

Things your child will need

Have these things available so your child can complete this task.


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Before your child starts

This lesson focuses on comprehension skills including skimming a text for information, and using text evidence to make inferences. Your child will explore that we make inferences each day by using our background knowledge, clues in the text, images and making predictions to make a judgement on what is happening, for example, if there is steam coming from the bath, we can infer the water is hot.

This text is written from the point of view of European settlers and does not acknowledge that the traditional custodians of the Blue Mountains crossed them regularly. You can explore the more information about the traditional custodians on the NSW National parks website.

What your child needs to do

Your child will watch a video of a lesson to explore the text and demonstrate how to use text evidence to answer questions. The teacher will guide your child as they brainstorm and delve into the meaning of words within different contexts. Throughout the lesson, your child will be asked to pause the video to complete an activity on the activity sheets.

What your child can do next

Your child will be completing a range of activities, including:

  • exploring nonfiction text features.
  • using evidence in texts to make inferences.

Options for your child

Activity too hard?

Explore inferences further by giving scenarios, for example: she drank the whole water bottle in thirty seconds – the inference would be that she is thirsty.

Activity too easy?

Have your child read the entire text and annotate other examples of where they might make an inference.

Extension/additional activity

Your child might compare a Blue Mountains tourism website with information about the Blue Mountains from the text.

Activity sheet 1: Nonfiction and fiction

Your task

  • Highlight clues in the text that show it is nonfiction (headings, sub-headings, images and so on)
  • Highlight clues in the text that show it is fiction.

Access the full text from NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service here.

Blue Mountains National Park

Explore World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains National Park, home of the famous Three Sisters in Katoomba. Discover iconic lookouts and waterfalls, historic walking tracks, mountain biking, Aboriginal culture, adventure sports, and camping - right on Sydney's doorstep.

Blue Mountains Heritage Centre is a good introduction to this popular park, and the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.

Pack a picnic and enjoy a day trip to marvel at the Three Sisters rock formation from Echo Point, in Katoomba. Take in sweeping views of sheer sandstone cliffs and hazy blue Grose Valley declared wilderness area from Govetts Leap, in Blackheath. At Wentworth Falls you're spoilt for choice with world-class lookouts, walks and waterfalls.

This certified Ecotourism Destination is a walker's paradise, boasting over 140km of tracks and trails. Why not walk a section of historic Prince Henry Cliff walk, between Katoomba and Leura. Climb Mount Banks' summit or descend into the Grand Canyon. Combine a short walk with Aboriginal rock art or a swim in a natural pool, near Glenbrook.

Mountain bike riders can tackle the famed Woodford-Oaks trail, scenic Narrow Neck, or Faulconbridge Ridge trail. There are also great opportunities for adventure sports tours, including abseiling, rock climbing and canyoning.

Within 2 hours' drive from Sydney, you can be camping by majestic eucalypts at Euroka, or watching a spectacular sunset at Perrys Lookdown. Seek solitude at remote Acacia Flat, or 4WD to Mount Werong or Burralow Creek, for a night of stargazing and wildlife spotting.

There are 6 areas in this park:

Katoomba area

Katoomba area is the heart of Blue Mountains National Park. This popular day trip from Sydney is home of the iconic Three Sisters. It's packed with heritage walks, world-class views and waterfalls, in...Read more

Blackheath area

Blackheath area spoils you with amazing walks, mountain biking and cliff top views in Blue Mountains National Park. Visit Govetts Leap, conquer the Grand Canyon and explore the Grose Wilderness. Read more

Glenbrook area

Glenbrook area is your eastern gateway to Blue Mountains National Park from Sydney. Camp in the wild and enjoy natural swimming spots, Aboriginal rock art, walks and mountain biking, so close to Sydne...Read more

Lower Grose Valley area

The Lower Grose Valley area of Blue Mountains National Park tempts you with crowd-free nature escapes. Discover remote camping, walks, and mountain bike trails to secluded lookouts and waterfalls, les...Read more

Mount Wilson area

Visit the natural wonders of Mount Wilson area on an exhilarating walk or mountain bike ride. Hike to Mount Banks, or explore canyons and wilderness in this remote corner of Blue Mountains National Pa...Read more

Southern Blue Mountains area

The Southern Blue Mountains area near Oberon is a hidden corner of Blue Mountains National Park. Get off the beaten track and explore remote campgrounds, wilderness walks and 4WD routes. Nearby, Yerra...Read more

Activity sheet 2: Almost impossible: Crossing the Blue Mountains

Your task

  • Read the following text extract.
  • Use evidence from the text to infer how each person might be feeling.

Almost Impossible: Crossing the Blue Mountains

Article by Kate Walker, published in The School Magazine

(Note: This text is written from the point of view of European settlers and does not acknowledge that the traditional custodians of the Blue Mountains crossed them regularly.)

The Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, can be crossed by car in one hour and fifteen minutes, the distance being just seventy kilometres. However, back in 1788 when European colonists first settled in Sydney Cove, those mountains were a barrier no-one could pass. It would take twenty-five years and as many attempts to find a way across.

First attempts

In December 1789 Governor Arthur Phillip sent Lieutenant William Dawes with two soldiers to cross the Blue Mountains on foot. Only six horses had come from England with the First Fleet, and they were too valuable to be risked or spared. Horses would have been useless on the journey anyway. Dawes’s party spent three exhausting days climbing rocky ravines and hacking through tangled bush. They reached Mount Twiss, north of where Linden is today. Here their food ran out and they turned back, having crossed less than a quarter of the way.

It was a bitter defeat. Dawes had been sent to find better farmland away from the coast. Crops planted in the sandy soil of Sydney Cove had failed to thrive, and better farmland needed to be found if the colony was to feed itself. But those mountains, a mere fifty kilometres away, defied escaped convicts and soldiers alike. Governor Philip mounted no more serious attempts and focussed instead on developing farms around the Parramatta and Hawkesbury Rivers. Unfortunately those farms failed too.

Infer how Dawes might have felt:

Text continued:

In 1792 Major Francis Grose took over as caretaker Governor, with Captain William Paterson as second-in-command. Paterson was a seasoned soldier and explorer, and he set out in September 1793 to cross the Blue Mountains by boat. His party of soldiers and convicts followed the Grose River, which flowed out of the mountains to the north. Rowing against the river current would prove the easiest part of the journey.

They soon entered a vast valley rimmed with sheer cliffs on either side. The exploration party was forced to carry their two boats over rocky shallows. Then came the waterfalls. Waterfall after waterfall, around which the boats had to be hauled. After ten tiring days, one boat had been shattered on a stump, and the planks of the other boat were coming loose. Paterson had followed the torturous river for just a third of its length when he admitted defeat and turned back. Boats were as useless as horses in this wild country.

Infer how Captain William Paterson might have felt:

Text continued:
Seamen attempt a crossing on foot

Henry Hacking had been quartermaster of the First Fleet ship Sirius. He was a rough man, often in trouble with the law, and he hoped that if he found a path across the mountains, the authorities would overlook his villainous deeds. With two companions he is believed to have trekked only as far as present-day Linden. Though Hacking himself suggested he made it much further—all the way to the Great Cliff wall of Kings Tableland. If he had, that cliff plummeting 1000 metres to the Jamison Valley below would have stopped him. On his return, Hacking declared the mountains ‘an impassable barrier’ and announced that if he could not cross them, no-one could.

That boastful challenge was taken up by George Bass, the naval explorer after whom Bass Strait is named. In 1796 Bass and two companions tried crossing the mountains along the Burragorang Valley to the south. Rather than haul cumbersome boats, they came prepared with ropes and what Bass called ‘scaling irons … hooks fastened to the wrists, to better climb the precipitous ridges’ (probably what we'd call today grappling hooks). With these Bass was able to climb steep ravines. Other times, he had himself lowered down on ropes. His party travelled west, reaching the Kanangra Plateau, with its 700 metre high walls. Bass wrote later, ‘after fifteen hard days … many (more) lines of cliffs made us turn back.’

Infer how Henry Hacking might have felt when George Bass did not succeed:

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