1. Organising a brainstorming session

On their way to school, your pupils will see many natural resources that are used in everyday life. In this part, you will ask your pupils to brainstorm some of these natural resources and the ways people use them. By ranking them according to their importance for the people living in a particular environment, they will see how important these resources are. This will help your pupils develop their skills of observation and think about their role in using resources wisely. You will need to explore their understanding of the differences between natural resources and resources made by people.

You will also explore ways to use group work to manage your class. Working in this way helps them to share ideas and learn together.

Read Case Study 1 before trying Activity 1; these show different ways to find out what your pupils know. You can try both methods at different times in your classroom.

Case Study 1: Investigating the resources we need for living and development

Mr Kaizilege is a teacher at Kitahya Primary School, which is near the Ileme village in Tanzania. Most of his pupils come from the village.

The village is located in an environment that has many natural resources – trees, water, a quarry and cultivated fields. Mr Kaizilege hopes to develop his pupils’ abilities in observing and identifying the natural resources surrounding their village. He hopes this will help them understand their roles and responsibilities with respect to these local resources.

At the end of one day, he asks the pupils to note down all the resources they see in the village on their way home and bring their list to school. The next day, he divides the class into groups of eight and writes the following question on the board:

What resources do we have in our own environment?

One pupil in each group copies the question onto the middle of a piece of paper and each group shares their findings from the previous day’s observation exercise, drawing or writing their findings around the question. Mr Kaizilege displays these on the board, and together they reflect on how similar their brainstorms are. Mr Kaizilege suggests gaps that exist in their charts. For example, no one mentioned the quarry or the sun.

Mr Kaizilege then writes sentences on the board. Each sentence shows the use of one resource found in the village. He asks the groups to match each sentence to a resource. The groups share their ideas and reach agreement on them before copying them into their books.

Activity 1: Identifying local resources and determining their importance according to need

  • Write ‘Local resources’ in the middle of the chalkboard. Make sure they are clear about what you mean by ‘resources’. Ask your pupils to spend three minutes talking to one other person about the resources they use in their village or suburb.
  • Then ask different pairs of pupils to give ideas.
  • Record their ideas in two lists on the board – ‘Natural resources’ and ‘Resources made by people’.
  • Now divide the class into small groups and ask each group to discuss some differences between the natural resources and those made by people.
  • Ask each group to feed back to the class. Discuss with the class the key points that they have made.
  • Ask each group to rank the list of all the resources available in their village/suburb, from the most important to the community to the least important.
  • Ask each group to present and defend their order to the rest of the class.
  • As a class, agree on one ordered list. You might want to organise this as a vote.
  • Ask them to think about which resources are readily available and which are more difficult to get hold of or more expensive.

Did the pupils have a clear sense of the difference between natural resources and those made by people? Does anyone need more help?

Section 2: Human settlements and resources

2. Group work to focus on settlements