Beginning Wants & Needs work at Liss

Year 6 have begun their work on the wants and needs learning that Miss Duncan and Mr Davies began when they visited Kafuro and Rihamu during the summer.

Our first task was to draw around the outline of a pupil and give the outlined child a name. Next, we discussed what this child would need to grow up into a happy and healthy adult. The children were set the task of identifying twenty things that would help the child achieve this. At this point there was no input and the children could completely decide for themselves.

Once the pupils had completed their twenty things that a child would need, they wrote them on post its and placed them in the middle of the child. Next, they were asked to remove five of the things that the child could do without – this reduced the items to fifiteen. This exercise was repeated twice more and generated fierce debate on each table as the children argued over what should stay. Eventually, each group had five items left which they shared with the rest of the class and compared.

Our next step was to introduce UNICEF wants and needs cards and perform a similar exercise. However, firstly the children were asked to divide the cards into three groups: those they thought were Most Important, Important and Least Important. Then, once again, Mr Stanley asked the pupils to reduce the cards down to just five, and the classroom became very animated as the children had to make some very difficult decisions over what should stay and what should go.

Once the pupils had completed this exercise, they compared the five wants and needs they had left with the post its they had created in the previious lesson. As a class, we then discussed the difference between wants and needs.

Needs: the things that are absolutely necessary for all children to have a happy and healthy life

Wants:the things that are nice to have but not necessary for a full life.

We finished this first session by discussing some key questions: Are wants and needs different for people in the UK and Uganda? Why don’t all children in the world have what they need?

To the first question, the pupils were quite clear that needs would be the same in both countries. However, there was an acknowledgement that wants would be different. For example, a pupil in the UK might want a Playstation or an Xbox, but for a pupil in Uganda, where electricity is scarce in places, a new bike would be something that they might really want.

The pupils were surprisingly not shocked that children in the world didn’t have everything they need. They were quite clear about some of the reasons why this might be the case:

  • War
  • Some countries don’t have enough money to feed people
  • Some governments are corrupt
  • The environment was not conducive to growing food – a result of climate change
  • Lack of water supply – again due to climate change.

There was widespread disbelief in the class that millions of people go hungry in the world when there is more than enough food to feed everyone comfortably.

In our next session the pupils looked at the needs of children are protected. We studied the United Nations Charter for the rights of the Child. In groups, the children looked at the post its they had created during the first session and divided them into wants and needs. For each need they tried to marry it up with one of the articles from the convention

The class then shared their ideas together and were easily able to show how the articles supported the needs they had identified.

Finally, we looked at scenarios in which children’s rights have been abused. The pupils were each given a scenario and tasked with identifying which rights had been violated and suggesting actions to restore these rights.

Some of the scenarios are posted below:

Download (DOCX, 57KB)

Download (DOCX, 96KB)

Download (DOCX, 78KB)

Download (DOCX, 75KB)

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Download (DOCX, 62KB)

In our next post we will talk about Rights and Responsibilities and how we have used them to create our class charter.

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