Ted's teaching tips

20th February 1998 at 00:00
The colourful swirl of this week's carnival picture offers possibilities in several areas.

Religious festivals

1 Why do many Christian countries have a carnival leading up to Shrove Tuesday? What is Lent? (the 40 days of fasting before Easter matches the 40 days that Jesus - and Moses and Elijah - spent in the wilderness). What fasts do other religions have (for example, Ramadan, Yom Kippur)? Why do people fast (atonement of sins, marking an important date, protest (Gandhi), shortage of food)?

Design and technology

2 Use the striking red and yellow colours and shapes in the picture to inspire a design for a wallpaper or fabric called "Carnival". Use a computer to create a repeating design. Otherwise, draw a design on paper one quarter the size and shape of your big sheet, trace it four times on to your larger paper, then colour it in. Can you get a sense of excitement and movement into the design?

Music and dance

3 Discuss the excitement of carnival and explore the sort of syncopated movements dancers might make. Choose a South American rhythm, like a samba or bossa nova, or play Ravel's "Bolero", so that children can dance and move to the sounds.


4 Make up a short story about one of the dancers in the picture. Who is she? Did she make her own costume? Did anything exciting or unusual happen at the carnival?

Ted Wragg is professor of education at Exeter University

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