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In the latest edition


The Script - car rescue

Glen Power Danny O'Donoghue and Mark Sheehan of The Script at an event in New York City© InfoYou are driving on a motorway and see a car spinning out of control in the fast lane. It hits the central barrier and spins, scattering broken glass and other debris. Eventually, it stops. What do you do?

Members of the band The Script gained praise for stopping their tour bus to help the driver when they witnessed exactly this.

Initially the band planned to talk to the driver in the car, keeping her talking and reassured until the ambulance arrived.

But then Mark Sheehan noticed there was smoke coming from the engine.

Danny O'Donoghue said, "Of course you're never going to move someone from an accident. But if there's smoke coming out of the engine you want to get them out as quick as possible."

Can the group explain his thinking? What might young people have done in this situation?

Encourage them to think about keeping themselves and others safe, giving first aid and calling for help.

Danny also told Manchester radio station Key103 listeners that he'd dialled 911. Does that US emergency number work in the UK? Ask the group to find out if it does – they’ll need to decide on a way of finding out if it works without calling the number.


Tsunami anniversary

Devastation in Phi Phi Island Thailand after the Tsunami in 2004© InfoTen years ago in late December 2004 a vast tidal wave known as a tsunami was triggered by an earthquake in the Indian Ocean.

Shocking scenes of devastation followed. Buildings and livelihoods were destroyed. Over 226,000 people died.

Discuss what young people know about the Boxing Day tsunami and how it dominated news headlines.

An emergency appeal in the UK raised £393 million. Why was the desire to give so powerful?

Much of the money raised was used to rebuild homes. It was decided to rebuild better - stronger homes more able to withstand future extreme weather.

Discuss how that might have felt for hundreds of thousands of displaced people. Can young people say in their own words why it makes sense to wait for sound materials and construction methods rather than rushing to build poorer quality homes?

Imagine you are a UK television news editor. How would you report the anniversary? What would you focus on?

Some options to consider might be the resilience of local people, the loss, the outside aid effort, the recovery, and how families in the UK and around the world might feel at this time.


Five-second rule

Speech bubbles on a blackboard© InfoYou drop a mince pie on the floor. Do you pick it up and eat it?

People who follow the five-second rule might. Invite the group to say, or guess what that is.

The phrase is among the latest entrants to It is defined as "a notional rule stating that food which has been dropped on the ground will still be uncontaminated with bacteria and therefore safe to eat if it is retrieved within five seconds."

A high-school student in the US did an experiment while interning at a university. She found that food dropped onto a floor she'd swabbed with e-coli picked it up in less than five seconds.

Do the results of the experiment change young people’s opinions about the validity of the five-second rule?

Explore the concept of a ‘notional rule’. Can young people think of any other common sayings that might influence their choices and decisions?

What makes people accept something as the truth? And what might make a person question a statement presented as a fact?


Previous editions of newsthink


Poppy memorial

Ceramic Poppies At Tower Of London© InfoAn estimated four million people have visited the poppy art installation at the Tower of London.

Blood Swept Lands and Seas Of Red by ceramic artist Paul Cummins is made up of 888,246 hand-made ceramic poppies.

Discuss why the installation is so popular, and moving.

How significant is it that each poppy represents someone who died serving in the British or Colonial military in the First World War?

Talk about the way that art can communicate in unique ways. The installation will not be permanent - transience is part of the artist's message. Can young people describe why they think transience might be an important element of this piece of art?  

Invite young people to name other art works that have been used for remembrance. Include other forms, such as poetry and music.

If young people wanted to do a local version of the installation how would they plan it? What would be the best site? Why?

Where would they find details of local soldiers who served in the First World War? How would they let their community know about the event? And what would their message be?



Ebola treatment centre

A healthworker puts on protective clothing in an Ebola treatment centre in Kenema Sierra Leone© InfoMedical services in West Africa overstretched by the Ebola virus are being supported by outside help, including some funded by the UK government and public donations.

An 80-bed treatment centre, the first of six new centres for the region, opened this month in Sierra Leone. Experts estimate there are just 326 treatment beds in Sierra Leone.

Ask young people to imagine planning a treatment centre. What facilities do they think it should contain?

List the different elements. One need is for isolation beds for confirmed patients with Ebola. But there also needs to be a blood testing lab, waiting rooms, areas for families.

After discussion see the graphic provided by the UK aid department

What might some reasons be for providing humanitarian aid in crisis situations like a health epidemic? Invite young people to share ideas.



Rescue at sea

Aerial view of a boat in the Pacific ocean© InfoA fisherman from Colombia survived two days at sea after his boat capsized.

Invite young people to think about the experience. What might those two days have been like? What would have been the dangers? What might be the best survival strategy?

Solano Salazar, 47, was fishing with a friend when their boat overturned in bad weather.

He clung to a portable polystyrene foam cooler and floated 35 kilometres off the coast in the Pacific Ocean.

Solano Salazar told reporters that he'd thought he was going to die. "I didn't think about anything else".

Some people think being positive always helps. Do students agree?

Solano was rescued by a navy team who happened to be undergoing exercises in the area. Discuss the likely emotions of the person who first spotted him. What might they have said to colleagues? What would the response be?

How might Solano have felt when he saw the boat?



Volcano rescue

Rescue workers and Self Defence Force soldiers searching for missing climbers and survivors among ash covered mountain cottages on the top of Mount Ontake 28 September 2014© InfoMore than 250 hikers were on the peak of Japan's Mount Ontake when the volcano unexpectedly erupted at the end of September. Discuss the challenges faced by the response teams. This was a mountain rescue, with many casualties, in conditions that included toxic gases, smoke and ash.

The rescue operation involved hundreds of workers. Talk about the different specialist teams and equipment needed. How would young people approach a rescue operation in this environment?

Think about the support teams as well as those directly helping. How can food, drink and an opportunity to rest be supplied in treacherous conditions for 500 people on a 3,000-metre mountain - more than twice as high as Ben Nevis?

Think too about emotional help, called psycho-social support by aid agencies. Some survivors were physically unharmed, but had seen family or friends buried by volcanic ash. There were anxious relatives desperate for news. Discuss practical assistance that could make a difference.



Words of wisdom

Brooke Vincent holds a sign which reads Treat others how you want to be treated as part of the NSPCC childhoodwisdom campaign© InfoIf at first you don't succeed, try, try and try again. Does such advice help people? Invite opinions on the sayings that adults use to pass wisdom to children.

Guess which maxims were most popular in a recent survey by children's charity the NSPCC. "Practice makes perfect" headed the list. Ask young people to share sayings that they know. Have these words of wisdom helped them cope with challenging situations?

"Treat others how you'd like to be treated", which came second in the poll, is an ancient ethical principle sometimes known as the golden rule. Could this be a be useful way to think about helping someone in a crisis? Explain why.

Some sayings are warnings, others are encouragements. Which type do young people prefer to hear? Which are they more likely to pass on to others? Talk about how you acquire wisdom. Is it mainly from words, actions or experiences?



Tornado in Derbyshire

Destruction of property after a tornado hit Alfreton Derbyshire© InfoImagine returning home one afternoon and finding a tornado has ripped the entire roof off your house. That's what happened to William Sitch from Alfreton, Derbyshire in early October.

What would be young people's first reaction? Would they enter the damaged building? What would they be most concerned to retrieve? Ask them to map out their next moves - who they would call, where they would go, what they would take?

Tornadoes in the UK are freak events, with around 30 reported a year, generally much weaker than those in the USA. Talk about preparing for events which are unlikely to happen but would have a dramatic impact. Invite young people to suggest different ways they could prepare for different types of emergenies.

Discuss the conditions that can lead to tornadoes - warm moist air rising and meeting cold air. Why do thunderstorms commonly happen in the late afternoon? If you lived in a country where tornadoes were common, how would your life be different?


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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