Ted's teaching tips;The big picture

30th April 1999 at 01:00
Why has this woman painted her face (with a paste made from tree bark)? An intriguing set of possibilities with this striking picture.


Why do we need to protect ourselves from the sun (the sun burns your skin, especially if you are fair-haired; black people as well as white people may suffer sunburn; can cause reddening, painful blisters, or even skin cancer; too much sun can lead to dehydration and heatstroke)? What can we do (use suntan oil with a high protection factor; sportspeople use cream on their nose; avoid midday sun or long exposure; 15-20 minutes may be plenty)?

The skin

What is skin made of (three main layers: epidermis (outer layer), dermis and fatty tissue)? What does it do (protects us from infection; generates melanin, the substance that affects pigmentation and protects from sun rays; sweat glands, in fatty tissue, produce perspiration to keep us cool)?

The picture

Do you find this picture striking in any way? What makes an impact -the colours of the face and clothes? The shape of the face and its surroundings? What features does the woman seem to have - dignity, mystery, beauty?


A man has been found wandering around with nothing in his possession other than this picture. Who is the woman? How does he know her? And why is he carrying her picture? What happens when she is found?

Ted Wragg is professor of education at Exeter University.

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