These activities encourage pupils to think both logically and creatively to find solutions for everyday problems

This week’s primary enrichment activity looks at the implications of natural disasters, encouraging pupils to think logically about how to plan effectively for these emergences.

This week’s secondary enrichment activity draws on the redesign of the classroom chair, getting pupils to think of innovative ways to improve the design of other items of classroom furniture.

***Primary Enrichment***

KS2: Citizenship. Developing confidence and responsibility and making the most of their abilities.

Pupils should be taught:

  • to talk and write about their opinions, and explain their views, on issues that affect themselves and society
  • to recognise their worth as individuals by identifying positive things about themselves and their achievements, seeing their mistakes, making amends and setting personal goals
  • to face new challenges positively by collecting information, looking for help, making responsible choices, and taking action

Have a plan

A blackout in Florida last week affected nearly one million households and businesses. Chaos hit the area as people became trapped in lifts, electronic doors failed to open and traffic signals and lights failed. Two nuclear reactors shut down, causing a complete loss of power in the area. All this was familiar to Americans who experienced the 2003 blackouts when the power failure affected both the Northeast and Midwest of America. In the same week the UK experienced an earthquake that was measured by the British Geological Survey (BGS) as 5.2 on the Richter scale, the biggest earthquake for nearly 25 years. Incidents such as a widespread blackout, earthquake or major road accidents require a sophisticated multi-agency response. Incident managers need to be familiar with:

  • the roles and responsibilities of the various agencies and organisations which respond to incidents
  • the specific problems generated by bad weather, mass casualties and hazardous situations
  • the consequences of an emergency on the infrastructure of an area or country

At a personal level, we should all be able to organise ourselves to manage our safety and wellbeing if caught up in the general experience of a major incident. We should also consider opportunities to assist others.

Some questions for your pupils to consider and discuss:

Ask your children to discuss emergency situations such as an earthquake or power failure. What would they consider to be the important preparation and actions they should take to cope in such an emergency? Let your children select a major incident for which they should prepare an action plan that includes some consideration of the emergency arrangements for:

  • anyone else who may need help
  • keeping informed about events

Making plans

Going further

Ask your children to consider what they would need to have in a ‘ready bag’ that is always packed with essentials in case they need to evacuate their home in an emergency. Below are some examples of items from the ‘London prepared’ website that could be considered for inclusion in their bag.

Important documents (eg passport, driving licence and important phone numbers) Spare batteries A torch or a candle and matches Cash and credit cards Toiletries and personal first aid kit
Bottled water and any easy food (eg tinned food or biscuits) Mobile phone Home and car keys Spare clothes and blankets A wind-up or battery radio

(An astute child will also suggest a tin opener).

More detail about the Florida blackout here.

More detail about the UK earthquake here.

How to make better decisions click here.

Other countries’ advice Several other countries have also come up with a personal help scheme. Visit the three sites. Why do you think the advice is slightly different from place to place? North America − Ready Kids

New Zealand – Getthru

Australia – Let’s Get Ready Sydney, click here.

You will find guidance about personal planning at the ‘London prepared’ website click here.

  Learning and teaching Scotland.

Education for citizenship for more information click here.

Education for citizenship is about learning to be a good citizen now − and having opportunities to exercise that citizenship − as well as learning to be an effective citizen in the future. International Baccalaureate. Primary years programme. Primary Years Programme, Curriculum framework Six transdisciplinary themes of global significance provide the framework for exploration and study:

  • where we are in place and time
  • how we organise ourselves.

***Secondary Enrichment***

KS4: Art and design. Knowledge and understanding. Pupils should be taught about:

  • the visual and tactile qualities of materials and processes and how these can be manipulated and matched to ideas, purposes and audiences
  • codes and conventions and how these are used to represent ideas, beliefs and values in works of art, craft and design
  • continuity and change in the purposes and audiences of artists, craftspeople and designers from Western Europe and the wider world [for example, differences in the roles and functions of art in contemporary life, medieval, Renaissance and post-Renaissance periods in Western Europe, and in different cultures such as Aboriginal, African, Islamic and Native American].

Learning not leaning

Former maths and physical education instructor Tom Wates has designed a school chair (the ‘Max’) that is, as reported to the BBC, physically impossible to tip backwards. Wates said:

‘Each year 7,000 British school children need to go to hospital after injuring themselves by tipping backwards on chairs. It is physically impossible to swing the chair backwards more than a few centimeters.’

Some questions for your pupils to consider and discuss:

What other item of school furniture could be ‘reinvented’ in such a way as to:

  • improve the design to make it more ‘fit for purpose’
  • enhance and enrich the aesthetic qualities of the item
  • redesign and re-engineer the item so that it responds artistically to curriculum areas − for example what design for a bookcase would be appropriate and artistically interesting if it was used in the geography department or the science department?
  • promote safe behaviour and reduce accident


Considering school furniture

Going further

Using the initial discussion about improving and revitalising the artistic qualities of school furniture could lead to a room ‘make-over’ plan, with a department being chosen and furniture designed to enhance the learning and teaching experience of the department.

The full report about the non-tipping chair can be seen here.

For a picture of a different kind of bookcase go to:

A full range of conventional bookcase designs can be found here.

Learning and teaching. Scotland. The 5-14 Art and Design curriculum is a series of developmental experiences which involve pupils in investigating materials and media; expressing feelings, ideas and solutions; and understanding, appreciating and sharing in the products of others. The main context for learning is pupils’ involvement in their own world. International Baccalaureate

Diploma Programme curriculum. Group 6: The arts

This e-bulletin issue was first published in February 2008

About the author: John Senior is the author of Enrichment Activties for G&T Pupils. He is a teacher with 26 years’ experience of teaching Gifted and Talented children, working with parents and carers as a consultant on high ability, and peer mentoring. John is also a co-author these books:

> Enrichment Activities for G&T, > Enriching English, > Enriching Maths, > Enriching Science, > Primary Enrichment, and > The Primary G&T Co-ordinator Handbook.