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In the latest edition


Ruling body bites back

Luis Suarez reacts after clashing with Giorgio Chiellini during their 2014 World Cup match 24 June 2014© InfoAn international football disciplinary committee says Uruguay striker Luis Suarez assaulted another player and showed unsporting behaviour towards him. The apparent bite on an opponent's shoulder resulted in a 9-game international ban and a total ban on all football for four months.

Discuss why someone might bite another player. Why do the authorities treat it more seriously than a rough tackle or head butt?  

As a group, brainstorm different situations that might make a person feel angry. List different factors which might make someone more likely to react negatively to a certain situation? This can be a wide-ranging list, from the pressure of a World Cup football match to being blamed for something that wasn’t your fault. 

Make a list of common ways of dealing with anger and frustration. Which are acceptable and which are not?  Does acceptability vary according to situations and circumstances?

What are the consequences of losing control in an angry outburst? What can you do to help manage your emotions during stressful situations? 

Stroke selfie

A woman records a video of herself during a stroke© Info

Ever been for medical advice with no current symptoms to show the doctor? It happens with conditions that come and go. It can be frustrating, as doctors have trouble diagnosing something they cannot see.

That's why 49-year-old Stacey Yepes from Toronto, Canada videoed her face as she was having a stroke. The medics were impressed - and able to diagnose and treat her condition.

Talk about how strokes are caused. A blockage of the blood supply to the brain can affect someone's appearance, movement and speech. Doctors think that Stacey had "mini-stroke"

Watch the video and list the different symptoms you can see.

You can help someone having a stroke. Use the memory aid: think F.A.S.T. 

Face: is there weakness on one side of their face? 
Arms: can they raise both arms? 
Speech: is their speech easily understood? 
Time: to call 999

A stroke needs immediate attention, and the faster a person receives medical help, the less damage is caused.  

Discuss the pros and cons of using video to record emergencies. When might it be useful to video an incident? 

When might it not be appropriate? What would you bear in mind before videoing yourself or someone else?   

Road casualties falling

A car passes a sign as it travels along the United Kingdoms most dangerous road on 30 June 2010Road deaths in Britain fell by two per cent last year. The number of those who died, 1,713, is the lowest since national records began in 1926. Nearly half of those who died were in cars, and nearly a quarter were pedestrians. 

Government experts are not sure of the reasons for these reductions. What do students find interesting about these national statistics and what factors do they think might be behind them?

Match students' ideas with possible explanations suggested by the government: the economic downturn, reduced average traffic speeds, better technology in cars, better engineering on highways, improved education and training, and improvements in trauma care. 

Debate and vote on those that seem most influential.

On average, more than seven pedestrians and two cyclists are killed each week on Britain's roads. 

Which parts of the local area are known to be hazardous for cyclists or pedestrians? Use students' knowledge to devise safer alternative routes. 

What else might road users do to reduce their own vulnerability? Invite students to draw up a list, including texting whilst walking and listening to music on headphones. For more information see the National Statistics available here from the Department of Transport. 



Previous editions of newsthink


Feminine-named hurricanes deadlier

Hurricane Katrina in Gulf of Mexico seen from space 11 May 2012Hurricanes in the US that are given women's names cause a lot more deaths than those named after men. Can students explain?

Researchers wondered if it was because a woman's name made a storm seem less severe, so people didn't take it so seriously and didn't prepare so well. If this is true, what does it say about death rates in natural disasters?

The researchers devised experiments to find out more. When asked, people revealed that they were more likely to evacuate when a hurricane called Christopher was approaching rather than one called Christina. 

Does this show that it's not just the severity of a storm that matters, but how people react to it? Can students think of examples where their own decision-making has been affected by impressions that are really irrelevant? What would students do to solve the problem of people not taking feminine-named hurricanes seriously enough?


Rescuing the rescuers

A fire department vehicle is half sunken in a road that collapsed after heavy overnight rainstorms in Poland 29 May 2014A large lorry has veered off the road and into a ditch. Who do you call to pull it out? Full marks to those who said the fire and rescue service. Ask students to list what other services they provide.

Show students the photograph. It shows a fire engine in a road that collapsed after heavy overnight rainstorms in Glucholazy, Poland, last month. What happens when the rescuers need rescuing?

Talk about the task of recovering the vehicle. What physical principles will be used? How big might the lifting equipment be? What practical problems need to be considered - such as the unreliability of the roads?

Emergency services often face difficulties. They are trained to make the scene of an emergency scene as safe as possible. Invite students to picture a scene, like a flood or road traffic incident. What specific things will the emergency services do to make the area safe and to prevent further incidents?


Floods dislodge landmines

People drive through the flood waters in Orasje in Bosnia and Herzegovina where many parts of the city remain underwater nearly two weeks after the floodingAreas of Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina that were hit by floods and landslides last month were conflict zones during the 1990s. What added danger might that have brought to residents and rescuers?

Invite comments, then talk about land mines. Experts have spent years mapping the location of unexploded mines so that those living in affected areas can stay safe. But the recent flooding and landslides have dislodged mines and their warning signs.

Mine Action Centres in the three countries are warning people not to approach mines or any unexploded ordnance that has moved because of a landslide or been swept away by swollen rivers. Instead they should improvise some warning signs. Ask students how they would do that, if they came across a land mine.

The experts also want to hear about findings of warning signs that have been moved. Why? The signs are marked with a serial number and co-ordinates of where they were placed. How might that be helpful?

Right to be forgotten

Shredded paperThere's something about you online that you don't like. You wish it wasn't there. Can anything be done about it?

There may be, following a ruling by the European Court of Justice. Individuals can ask search engines to remove links to information about them that is inadequate or no longer relevant. The court agreed with a man who wanted references to his past financial problems to be forgotten.

Discuss the principles of the right to be forgotten. Who thinks events of the past should always be easily available to anyone for ever? Who thinks it's important for privacy that they should "expire" when they're not relevant anymore? Ask each side to summarise their reason in a single sentence.

Imagine there's a photograph or a description of you online that you want removed. How would you ask the person who put it up to delete it? Would getting angry or gently persuading work better? How would you respond to someone who asked you to remove something about them?


Inspirational Stephen Sutton

Celebrities and comedians photographed with Stephen Sutton backstage at Teenage Cancer Trust charity gigStephen Sutton died this month, nearly four years after being diagnosed with cancer at the age of 15. He became well known and highly respected for his fundraising, his desire to help others and his celebration of life.

Ask students why people found Stephen so inspirational. Was it his fundraising or his optimistic approach to his disease? How do they think he helped other teenagers with cancer and their families?

Stephen said his cancer was a kick up the backside that taught him some good life lessons. What were those life lessons? 

He said "I'd much rather measure how long I've got left in terms of achievements, rather than time." 

Talk about how that might change the way people look at life and the choices they make.

When Stephen was asked by people how they could help him personally, he said he wasn't quite sure. He appreciated the support he got from others, but his main goal was to try to help others. Describe in your own words why he might have found that so rewarding and fulfilling.


Bee swarm

A swarm of 5000 bees in central LondonWho in the group is afraid of bees? What proportion would scream if they swarmed nearby? Ask everyone to guess - then find out with a show of hands. 

Following a series of news stories, a beekeeper explained that swarming bees have recently been well fed, are feeling mellow and are not all interested in humans. Does knowing this make anyone feel more relaxed?              

Who should you tell when bees swarm in an inconvenient place?

Ask young people to research how to find a swarm collector in their area. What would you advise people to do till the collector arrives? 

Dragging a fingernail or a piece of plastic like a credit card across a bee sting is a good way to remove it quickly. Using tweezers may release more poison. 

Some people have allergic reactions to bee or wasp stings. Ask young people to research the symptoms. What is the best advice on what to do if someone who is allergic is stung by a bee?

Learn more about helping someone who is having an allergic reaction here

The art of communication

The latest officially confirmed Banksy artwork named Mobile Lovers featuring a man and a woman embraced and looking at their mobile phonesA mural by controversial street artist Banksy is now in Bristol museum after a brief stay in a local youth club. Show students the photograph and invite reactions. 

Are the couple texting, or taking selfies? What does the picture say about this couple's relationship and their contact with others? Is it a joke, or is there a serious point? Does anyone find it sad?

The work has been called Mobile Lovers. What title would students give it? Use the image to explore and debate the value of different forms of communication including face-to-face and by phone.  Do people behave differently online and in real life? If appropriate, use the photo to explore the topic of cyber-bullying. Ask students to think about messages they would not want to receive by phone or text. Why are they not appropriate?

Mobile phones can be vital in an emergency or personal crisis. Do students agree or disagree? Ask them to think of examples to back up their view, such as events that happened to them or that they've heard in the news. What are the drawbacks of relying on mobile technology?

Calm child amazes emergency professionals

10 year old Harry Platts presented with ambulance service bravery award for calm actions taken after his mother collapsed at homeHow old do you have to be to dial 999? Full marks to all who reject the question. There is no minimum age. 

Last December 10-year-old Harry Platts from Coventry called an ambulance for his mother Melissa who collapsed at their home during the night. He was presented last month with a bravery award by West Midland Ambulance Service.

The paramedics who attended were amazed at Harry's calmness and competence. Most people call 999 just once in their life. Discuss how practice improves confidence to act in an emergency.  Ambulance call takers will always ask whether the patient is conscious. How might that be rephrased so a young child can understand? 


Ask students to find out what other questions call takers will ask.  West Midland Ambulance Service has full details of Harry's action, including audio extracts of his 999 phone call here

Primary students might like to try this picture sorting game which helps them understand when to call 999. 

Older students can read a first aid scenario here and practise role playing an emergency call using the operator script provided.


Risk and respect

When have students relied on the skills of others for their own safety? Start a discussion by asking students to think of times when they've enjoyed high risk or adventurous activities which someone has prepared. Examples might include canoeing or abseiling, as well as fun things like fairground rides. 

Talk about how restricted, or dangerous, life might be without this kind of controlled exposure to risk

Move to a discussion of the avalanche on Mount Everest that caused the death of 16 mountain guides. The local guides, often referred to by their ethnic group, Sherpa, were fixing ropes and carving routes for foreign climbers through the treacherous Khumbu icefall.  Experienced climbers say the courage and skill of the guides has reduced the risk of climbing the world's highest mountain. Might this give visiting climbers a false sense of security? 

Talk about ways of showing respect to guides and experts. Describe in your own words how important is it to follow expert instructions, even if you cannot see the need for it.

After an earthquake

A sign reading 'Please help us!' is displayed while children play outside their makeshift tents in rice fields in the Philippines

Children play, hours after a destructive earthquake. What do students want to know?

Read the activities >

Build resilience

School students taking part in a workshop

Students and teachers together reflect, explore and experiment with responses to some form of crisis.

Try the quick activities >


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