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Unfortunately recent events have made us all too well aware of how important it is to keep our children safe and while we cannot cater for every eventuality we can try to warn about some of the possible dangers confronting children, some familiar, some unknown.

This activity is designed to be a fun way to explore some very serious issues. It can be used a small group work or a whole class activity. On a large grid Roamer has to go from bottom left to top right (number of squares depends on age of children) . Write "D" (standing for discussion card) randomly on the squares. Place the discussion cards in a pile face down. The object of the exercise is to get Roamer home safely. Throw a dice and program Roamer to move the appropriate number of squares. When it lands on a discussion square the children should pick a card, discuss and vote on what Roamer should do. Teachers/classroom assistants leading the discussion should elicit all the possible outcomes of a decision including "nothing happens". Older pupils could try to start some risk assessment by estimating the likelihood of each possible outcome happening.

For example:
Deciding to walk by the shortcut through the woods some possible outcomes would be:

1. Walk through safely 75%
2. Get lost 20%
3. Fall over a log and get hurt 3%
4. Step in a puddle/wet mud and get muddy or wet 5%
5. Pick some poisonous berries and get sick 2%
6. Get mugged 5%
7. Get assaulted 0.5%

Obviously the likelihood of the different events happening depends on your local area. The percentages don't have to add up to 100% - after all you could get lost, fall over a log and end up in a puddle!

The teacher needs to write the discussion cards as they think appropriate. Not all the situations will lead to danger - it is important that the children learn to distinguish between high and low risk situations. Click here for some suggestions. The teacher also needs to have decided what the appropriate action is for each decision, from "go forward 3 spaces" to "go back to the beginning" or "forfeit the game and not get home safely at all". This activity could also be done for safety in the home.

Why use Roamer? By using Roamer they are actively making decisions that will keep Roamer safe and get it home in one piece. They are emotionally engaged with it, it is not a totally abstract exercise. However because they are using a third party they are safely distanced from the issues and can discuss them objectively. Knowing that you cannot possibly cover every eventuality this will help them assess new situations as they come across them and make informed and safe judgements.

If you have any suggestions for Topical Topics that you would like to see ideas for or, even better, have a Topical Topic that has worked well with you class and you could share with other teachers please do contact us.

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