Exploring Biographies

Exploring Biographies

Author: Anne Trethewey

To further students understanding of the structural elements needed to create their own biography.

Students will view an example of a video biography and answer relevant questions concerning both the structure of a biography and its contents.  Further, students will explore and evaluate various online biographies using a set criteria.  In so doing, it is hoped that students will further develop their understanding of what it takes to create an engaging and well-written biography.

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To recap

Having completed the previous two lesson, you should now have some understanding of what a Biography is and the structure in which it is written.  To recap:

A biography is an account of someone else's life.  It tell about the important events and experiences in that person's life and may also highlighting the reason/s why the person is considered important.


  • Researching the person's life using multiple sources of information
  • Taking notes including important facts, dates, places, events and accomplishment
  • Focusing on the events that best reveal the person's character and achievements, leaving out unimportant details.
  • Ensuring the information is presented in chronological order, utilising time-order words.
  • Making use of anecdotes and/or interesting quotations.
  • Using descriptive adjectives to describe the subject.
  • The constructing of an interesting introduction that engages the reader.
  • Ending the biography with a conclusion which summarises the main points and reaffirms the subjects importance.
  • Ensuring a bibliography is included so that the sources used to compile the biography are appropriately credited.



Exploring Biographies

Biographies can be written and presented in many different ways.  Below is an example of a biography that has been created using a video format.  As you watch this video, listen carefully to how the biographical information is presented.  Does this video met the definition and structural requirements as listed above? 

Nelson Mandela Biography

Online Biography Examples

The following are a list of website that specialise in biographies.  Take the time to look at each of these links.  Read and evaluate at least two (2) biographies on each website using the Evaluation Sheet provided.  By reading and familiarising yourself with the way in which biographies you will gain a greater understanding of what makes a good.







Source: Miss Trethewey

Evaluation Sheet

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Source: Miss Trethewey