Ted's teaching tips;The big picture;Parting shots

26th June 1998 at 01:00
Do not try this at home! With fewer than 500 Siberian tigers left, it is unlikely that anyone could. "Endangered species" is a topic close to the heart of many children.

Life and living processes Why do some species thrive, while others become extinct? What do the words "predator" and "prey" mean, and how do the two concepts interact in the natural world? Tigers are powerful predators, so how can they also be prey? (We ourselves, sadly, are the planet's biggest predators: tiger skins are sold illegally at high prices.) Should humans protect animals, or could we affect the balance? (For example, if we protect deer they might overrun the area; if we kill insects regarded as pests, we rob birds of their food.) Language Describe a tiger and its movements, using adjectives like "beautiful", "sleek", "powerful", "mysterious", "alert"; concrete and abstract nouns such as "muscle", "fangs", "awe", "terror", "strength", "stealth"; verbs like "stalk", "lope", "bound", "leap". Compile a descriptive logbook, imagining you are a zoologist studying a family of tigers. Female tigers are good caring mothers, not breeding again until their cub is grown up (two years). Write a short story entitled "Zara the tigress".

Advertising and symbolism Why is the tiger such an attractive icon in advertising (cereals, petrol, etc)? Which products - like cars (jaguar), food (lion, tiger) - use big cats, and why? Is it harmless to do this?

Ted Wragg is professor of education at Exeter University

The Big Picture. See page 16

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