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Lesson 1: Introductory activity – every picture tells a story

"Tracking the consequences of water shortage"

For use with the Introductory activity: Every picture tells a story.

Learning objectives

Going short of water has many consequences in people’s lives.
These kinds of consequences would apply to anyone, no matter where they live.

You need:

Copies or projected displays of ‘padlocked tap’ image, ‘girl at pump’ image and of the framework used for tracking consequences; a flip chart; large sheets of paper for group diagrams.

What to do:

  • Ask the children to look at the first photograph [padlocked tap]. What things do they notice about the picture? (That it's outdoors, rural maybe, the padlocked tap.) Ask, Why might the tap be padlocked? (E.g. shortage of water, there's a war and the enemy want to prevent access to water)

    In fact, although your pupils might think the padlock is there to deny people access to water, it is meant to conserve water. The people in this village in Kenya have agreed to take water from the tap they share for just a few hours each day. The land can be dry and water is very precious.

  • Ask, What kinds of things could we be doing to conserve water? Should we have a lock on the water supply from time to time?
  • Ask them to imagine that when they go home tonight they find that the water supply has been shut down. Ask, How would being without water affect you and those around you?
  • Scribe some of their initial suggestions. Are any of their suggestions linked? Does one thing sometimes lead to another?
  • Show the sample diagram for tracking consequences. Explain how it shows that one thing leads to another, which leads to still more problems.
  • As a class, work through one set of likely consequences on a flip chart (retain for future reference).
  • In groups, ask the children to have a go at tracking consequences in a similar way to the sample diagram. If time is short, advise them that it may be best to track one consequence as far as they can.
  • Get feedback from the groups on the examples they have tracked. Are there similar lines of thought? Do some groups break into new ideas for consequences?
  • Can the children begin to understand the enormity of having insufficient reliable water in or near home? Can they also see that the consequences would apply to anyone in that situation, wherever they live in the world?
  • Ask the children to look at the second photograph [girl at pump]. Ask, What do you notice about this photograph?
  • Tell the group: This pump is the main water supply for this girl in Liberia. Without it she could face the same kinds of consequences that you have already identified.
  • Now say: Imagine – water was short but now it’s back on! Display the photo and ask the group to suggest all the positive words they can think of to place around its edge.
  • Ask the group to suggest, and agree on, captions or titles for the two photographs.

Next steps

We recommend that you follow this activity with Lesson 2: Quiz – going short of water which matches potential causes of water shortage to pictures.

Further development

Keep the children’s sheets handy so they can be re-examined following the case study information.

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Oxfam logo: Click here to visit the main Oxfam GB website Oxfam Education: Click here to visit Oxfam's website for teachers and children Locked tap: Click here for the learning activity associated with this image Click here for the introduction to Water for All