4th February 2000 at 00:00
NEW DENWICK, A Village Development Project. Northumberland County Council. pound;125.

This cross-curricular multi-media resource is based on the development of a small Northumberland village in economic decline. Its aim is to develop Denwick into New Denwick by attracting people and industry to the area. As well as geography, it involves ITC, citizenship and technology activities.

The manual outlines key stage 2 and 3 schemes. There are four parts: the need for development, Denwick's background, a plan for New Denwick including model-making, and evaluating New Denwick.

The resources include a CD-Rom with information about the village, a clip art library and a file for designing housing. A map and photograph pack support the pupil task and resource sheets - delivering the suggested teaching outline would take between five and seven hours.

The pack focuses on how rather than why the village should be developed.This seems a missed opportunity to look at the causes and process of rural and economic change. The "Getting to know Denwick" activities, however, should promote discussion about the village and develop investigative skills.

"Planning how Denwick should develop" is a class-based activity: pupils form companies to buy and develop plots to make a profit. The floor map and building templates help to create a scaled model.

There are suggested activities to evaluate the final plan. The mystery story approach about people who move into the village and the living graph describing population change are two useful activities, but a more detailed outline would have been useful.

The resource has several good ideas, but the cost and additional work required to adapt the materials for different school situations make this an expensive resource.

Greg Hart is deputy head of Myrtle Springs School, Sheffield.

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