9th May 2003 at 01:00
This article could be used as a stimulus for a range of questions in geography for different age groups.

* Where is Iraq? At KS1, the location of a place so much in the news should be shown to the children and used as an opportunity to develop the concept of near and far (PoS 2c, 3b). At KS2 and beyond, the significance of Iraq's location - its strategic position between Europe and Asia and at the head of the Persian Gulf - can be developed (KS2 PoS 3b, KS3 PoS 3a).

* Why is Iraq of economic importance? At KS3 and beyond, its importance as an oil-producing state, and the wider importance of the Middle East to Western oil interests could be used to illustrate development (PoS 6i) and resource (PoS 6k) themes.

* What effect have trade sanctions had? At KS3, trade sanctions could be considered as a "factor that influences development" (PoS 6 i iii). Trade and aid is a common theme at GCSE - Iraq would make an excellent topical case study.

* What explains Iraq's borders? The impact of colonialism is an important component of post-16 development units. Iraq would be a good case study and would allow for an interesting comparison with the European colonisation of other regions, eg Africa.

* Is Iraq a nation, a state or neither? The religious and ethnic diversity of Iraq lends itself to geographical analysis. This is of great significance to "how Iraq might change in the future", part of the PoS from KS2 onwards.

Pupils need to know that Iraq saw the "inventions" of farming, cities and wheeled transport as key elements in avoiding stereotypes and negative images.

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