Ted's teaching tips

9th January 1998 at 00:00
Are your pupils bored on Friday afternoon or sleepy on Monday morning? Why not turn them into detectives,investigating the facts and fantasies behind an exciting image? Children have an insatiable curiosity - each week I'll be here to help you teach them something interesting


1 When was this picture taken?

2 Who are these people?

3 Where are they?

4 How do you know? What clues are there? Clothing? Landscape?

Four themes

1 History. Why did people want to travel in 1857? One reason: David Livingstone had returned from exploring Africa in 1856: many people now wanted to carry out their own exploration. The development of railways ( there were 1,300 miles of track in Britain by 1841) allowed people to travel much more quickly, though only the rich would have got as far as the Alps. How does this compare with the opportunities offered by today's package tours?

2 Geography. What are glaciers? They are sheets of ice, left over from the last Ice Age (10,000 years ago), several hundred metres thick. They moved slowly, carving out valleys as they went. The 'mer de glace' in Chamonix is 3.5 miles long.

3 Art. Draw or paint a winter scene. Children like drawing lots of figures in a landscape, so they could also look at a Breughel or Lowry painting.

4 English. Children can invent a story, poem or drama about the people in the picture - who they were, why they went, what they felt seeing a glacier for the first time (no TV!).

Ted Wragg is professor of education at Exeter University

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