DEN Project

Goose Fair

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This painting offers an opportunity to explore the local history of Nottingham and therefore the historical and geographical context of The Goose Fair.

The painting could be used to explore the history of the 800 year old Nottingham Goose Fair and its relationship Old Market Square which was severed when the Goose Fair moved to its present site. There are also other paintings of Old Market Square that could be incorporated into this project.

  • An understanding of historical events, people and changes could be explored by looking at the differences in clothing, technology and animal welfare (also linking to Citizenship).  Look at photographs taken at the time; compare modern and old photographs of the same scene, linking to a photographic ICT project.
  • Arthur Spooner was born and lived in Nottingham.  He exhibited in the annual exhibition that is still held at Nottingham Castle  A visit to look at this painting could be timed to combine with looking at the annual exhibition.
  • There is a steam driven fairground ride in the painting.  This could generate a science project looking at how steam is made.  Do we still use steam today?  Look at the historical changes in Industry and transport.
  • A design technology project could be based on making carousels.
  • The Goose Fair is organised by people who travel the country, going from fair to fair.  Look at the History of travellers.
  • Narrative:  Everyone depicted in the painting is absorbed in the environment of the fair. The policeman is chatting.  There is the man with the megaphone.  There are children in the foreground.  Children could focus on one character from the painting and produce a story that charts their day at the Fair.
  • Ask the children to devise imagined conversations, incorporating drama, speaking and listening.
  • As part of an ICT and English project, ask students to produce a front-page version of the Nottingham Evening Post, reporting on the day that the painting is capturing.
  • The Goose Fair is an evocative painting using many of our senses; when looking at the painting, the sights, smells and sounds of the funfair are almost tangible.  The painting is crammed with people, with those in the foreground almost stepping out of the painting.  Can you smell the onions, mushy peas, candyfloss, petrol, smoke?  Can you hear the mechanical organ music, laughter, shouting, and engines? Using design technology, ask students to produce a Soundscape.
  • As part of PSHE and citizenship, explore the cultural nature of festivals and fairs; why do we do it?  What happens in other parts of the world?

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