Geography - She says sea sense on the sea shore

30th November 2012 at 00:00
An educational game from the RNLI encourages beach safety

The scene is set: it is a beautiful day, the seas are calm and three children are spending a day on the beach with their parents. There may even be an ice cream on the way home, if they are good.

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, looking after the baby. Suddenly, the older sister vanishes and the outing becomes a nightmare.

This is one of three scenarios in Shorething, a decision-making lesson from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) designed to make children and young people think about safety on the beach.

Pupils are split into groups of four and each member is given a different ending to the story. The group role-plays the scenario four times, each concluding in a different way.

In the first scenario the child tells the father, who runs into the sea looking for the big sister. In the second, the lifeguard is alerted. In the third, the child tries to explain the situation to their mother and father, but they are too busy tending to the baby and are only half listening. In the final scenario the child stays calm, despite the fact that there is no lifeguard. The child dials 999 on a family mobile phone and tells their parents what has happened.

After the role-plays, pupils work in pairs to discuss which of the options is safest - and the possible consequences of making the wrong decision.

Although it is winter and outings to the beach - in the UK at least - may seem unlikely, sea safety is an important issue all year round. RNLI lifeguards, many of whom are volunteers, treated 188 children for major injuries in 2011 and children are typically involved in two-thirds of the incidents that the charity deals with each year.

When it comes to the sea, there's no harm in being prepared.


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

Use Widgit symbols to explain coastal features, with the help of Widgit_Software's "What is a Coast?" worksheet. bit.lyWhatsACoast.

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