28th March 2003 at 00:00
All young children will be familiar with tea - although not necessarily with what it is like inside the tea bag! This makes tea a meaningful stimulus for the key question: "Where does it come from?" (PoS 3b), which develops locational knowledge and the concept of near and far (PoS 2c).

At KS2 an Indian locality is a common topic, supported by unit 10 of the QCA scheme of work. Tea will allow the key question: "What is this place like?" (PoS 3a) to be explored through all of the senses, making for a rich learning experience: touch (feeling loose tea); taste (drinking tea); sound (tea being made and drunk); smell (the aroma of different teas); and sight (from bushes to bags).

Tea would be an excellent starting point for the consideration of a range of development issues at KS3 (PoS 6i) and in particular interdependence and fair trade. The changing distribution of its production and processing could also support PoS 6h.

At GCSE and beyond, tea's environmental requirements and impact provides useful case studies. For example, its distribution is to a large extent explained by relief, soil and climate and the monoculture of the tea plantation has environmental costs as well as economic advantages.

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