Ted's teaching tips;The Big Picture

15th May 1998 at 01:00
See page 18

Natural disasters bring out the best in people: there is rarely any panic, everyone helps out, looting is less frequent than is thought. Floods are a good example of a misfortune that can hit a community suddenly.


How and where do floods occur? Causes include excessive rainfall (Lynmouth disaster in 1952, "flash floods" in hilly regions); storms at sea (high tide and strong winds); ice and snow melting (for example, River Danube); volcanic eruptions creating huge waves (Krakatoa eruption in Indonesia in 1883 produced tidal wave 35 metres high which caused 36,000 deaths). How can floods be prevented? (Aswan Dam, sea and river defences) Simulation

Split the class into groups of four for a simulation. Each group must imagine a flood occurs and produce an action plan. How will they organise: food? medical care? transport? shelter and housing? power supplies? emer-gency services? Invite someone from local emergency services to come and say what they do, or see if pupils could act as volunteers. Done properly, a superb citizenshipPSE activity.


"Insurance" is a nice topic for exploring "probability" and "risk". What are the annual odds of a 20 year (p = 0.05), 100 year (0.01) or 1,000 year (0.001) flood? If the costs of such floods in a village were pound;20,000, pound;100,000 and pound;1,000,000 respectively, roughly how would (a)a non-profit and (b) a profit-making insurance scheme work out for1,000 villagers?

Ted Wragg is professor of education at Exeter University

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today