What it's all about
It is a beautiful day, the seas are calm and three children are spending a day on the beach with their parents, writes Victoria Grace Walden.
Pupils are given the role of the middle child, who has noticed their older sister heading for the sea, despite the red flag that means it is dangerous to swim. The child calls out, but their sister takes no notice. Their mother and father are preoccupied with the baby. Suddenly, the older sister vanishes.
This is one of three scenarios in Shorething, a decision-making lesson from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), designed to make children think about safety on the beach.
Pupils are split into groups of four to role-play the scenario four times and each member is given a different ending: a) the child tells the father, who runs into the sea looking for the big sister; b) the lifeguard is alerted; c) the child tries to explain the situation to the parents but they are tending to the baby and only half listening; d) the child stays calm, despite the fact that there is no lifeguard, dials 999 on a mobile and tells their parents what has happened.
The pupils then work in pairs to discuss which option is safest - and the possible consequences of a wrong decision.
RNLI lifeguards, many of them volunteers, treated 188 children for major injuries in 2011. Children are typically involved in two-thirds of the incidents the charity deals with.
Find the Shorething problem-solving task and more from rnlieducation on the TES website, bit.lytesShorething. For a project on coasts, try Digital Schoolhouse's cross-curricular geography and ICT lesson, bit.lyDigitalCoasts.