Where is this colourful scene and who are the people in the picture? Many children will find it odd to see Rajasthani women digging roads, but it can stimulate ideas about communications, sexual roles and the Third World.
Why are roads so important? Which roads do you use (own street, town centre, motorways)? How are roads built in different countries (dust tracks carrying carts or pedestrians; stone, rubble or concrete, often covered in tarmac)? Who were great road builders (Persians, Chinese, Romans, Incas)? Who was John McAdam (Scottish engineer, invented Tarmac, revolutionised road building in early 19th century)?
Where are they (mainly in Africa, Asia and Latin America)? These countries may be poor, but the people are often resourceful, living in difficult conditions, using wind and sun, skilful at irrigating and farming parched land. Find Rajasthan (a desert state in north-west India) on the map. Does any pupil know about India and the many states, languages, beliefs, customs in this huge sub-continent?
Women at Work
Are you surprised to see women digging roads? More women go out to work nowadays, so what sort of jobs do they do (full-time, part-time)? Has there been any change in sex stereotyping in Britain (male nurses, women engineers)?
You and your friends have to build a farm road or path without modern machinery. Describe how you do it.
Ted Wragg is professor of education at Exeter University.