Ted's teaching tips;The Big Picture;Parting Shots

17th April 1998 at 01:00
This ironic picture of two "ships of the desert", alongside a ship of the sea, raises important questions about the environment, a topic dear to primary and secondary children.

The environment

Once the fourth largest stretch of inland water in the world, the Aral Sea may be completely dry a few years from now because a government diverted the rivers that feed it. Should we be shocked by this? Look at a map of Britain. If the Thames, the Clyde or the Severn were diverted, what would happen to wildlife, transport, docks, countryside, irrigation, bridges, the quality of people's lives? How do people improve the environment or make it worse? What would you like done (or not done)?


How do we get water? Why do we need it? How important is it historically? (The water cycle, canals and rivers, seafaring, water supply.) What is a desert? (Usually 250mm10 inches or less of rain a year; about 5 per cent of the Earth's land surface; can be in cold areas as well as hot.) Could we have desert in Britain, for example in East Anglia. Which countries get the highestlowest rainfall? What causes floods?


Pretend you are child living by the Aral Sea, and the boat in the picture belongs to your family. Write about what happened to your lives when the water level began to drop, leaving your boat high and dry.

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