Ted's teaching tips;The Big Picture

9th July 1999 at 01:00
This spectacular moonscape raises many questions about us and space. What on earth is the Earth doing up in the sky? And why will it go dark one morning this August?

Moon landing When did people first land on the moon (30 years ago, July 20 1969)? Who walked on the moon first (Neil Armstrong, American astronaut, Apollo 11 mission)? Why did he say, when stepping on to the moon's surface 'That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind'?

Space travel Why is it hard to travel in space (powerful rockets needed to escape strong gravitational pull; hostile environment because of lack of air, extreme high and low temperatures, pressure, flying debris)? Do you think we could have a mass migration from Earth in the future? What would we need (space stations, another planet with similar environment, food, water, fuel, protection)?

Eclipse Why will the sky go dark at 11.11am on August 11 (warn children not to watch the eclipse with the naked eye)? Mathematicians can calculate the exact time, so who said maths was useless? What causes an eclipse of the sun (moon passes between us and the sun)? What causes a moon eclipse (shadow of Earth cast over moon)?

Writing Write about what animals might think and how nature will behave when it goes dark in mid-morning (eg, birds will stop singing, flowers will close).

Ted Wragg is professor of education at Exeter University .

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A week in the life of modern languages student teacher Laetitia Decup, at St Martins School, Brentwood, Essex.

As a newly-qualified French teacher, Laetitia Decup counts herself lucky. She thoroughly enjoyed her PGCEcourse at Anglia Polytechnic University, which included a special 24 week placement with Years 7 to 13 at St Martin's School, Brentwood, and has just got her first job.

Having completed a degree in English in France, Laetitia started to work at St Martin's as a teaching assistant. When she left to start her PGCE, they asked her to come back on her placement. "I think it was exciting for the kids to have someone who was a native speaker. They thought I lived in France and asked me whether I took the ferry every day."

Before starting work at Thurstable secondary school in Tiptree, Essex, Laetitia is taking a holiday in her hometown of Beziers, near Montpellier, and with friends in Spain. "I've always wanted to be a French teacher in English.

It allows me to give students a bit of my culture, something that is a part of myself."

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