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Potato Picking Trailer

Cinema ad for 'tattie howkin'

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Animated cinema trailer aimed at schoolchildren to persuade them to help pick the potato harvest. Animated potatoes show why it is necessary to harvest potatoes before the crop rots with a comparison to being in prison. The potatoes are seen dressed in Scottish dress including kilt, sporran and tam o'shanter. One potato is sending a morse code message which reads "SOS Scotland. 50,000 schoolchildren can save us from rotting". The end title reads "Let your children help gather the potato harvest. Details from any school."

Questions & Activities


  • Why are children needed to gather the potatoes?
  • Where would the children come from to pick the tatties.
  • What age would you go tattie picking? Do you think this would be fun or not?
  • How much would you get paid?
  • What happens to the potatoes?
  • Why were potatoes such an important part of the diet during and after the war?
  • How are potatos picked today?
  • What is the potato with the sporran/headphones doing?
  • How many variety of potatos are there?
  • How does this advert fit with the UN Charter and the Rights of the Child?


Health and Wellbeing / Economics: Research modern agricultural practices.

Social Studies / Food: Research the history of the potato. List all the recipes you can make with potatos. List all the root vegetables you can think of. Find out what wartime recipes you can find for potatos.

Health and Wellbeing / Food / Art and Design: Create your own potato recipe book.

Art and Design / Media Studies: Create a vegetable character and design posters, presentation, animation to make children interested in eating healthy foods.

Modern Studies / Social Studies: Research what type of after school jobs do children do now and what do you get paid?

Business / Health and Wellbeing: Find out what laws are in place to protect children'€™s working hours today.

Art and Design / English: Create your own potato head using cress etc and write a story about your potato head.

Media Studies: Research modern adverts for potatos. Look at how is the plight of the potatoes made so dramatic in this film. Make your own advert using potatoes.

Arts and Design: make a piece of art using a potato printing.

Art and Design: Produce your own branding for a potato product.

English: Research Morse Code - find out the symbols for the alphabet - write and decode messages in Morse Code.

Health and Wellbeing / Geography / Social Studies: Compare this method of gathering potatoes to modern day methods. Research methods of agriculture in this period and how they have changed. Who picks the potatoes now? Investigate what happened when the potatoes rotted/blight. Research child labour and fair-trade around the world.

Science / Maths: Grow your own potatoes - look at the science & maths involved in optimising yields.

Science: Create a potato clock - a potato that powers a clock.

Health and Wellbeing: Research the agricultural and health benefits of the potato - e.g. crop rotation, Vitamin C. Investigate potato based recipes and how different methods of preparation and cooking degrade their nutritional value.

Modern Studies / Media Studies: Discuss who this advert is aimed at and how society has changed in the last fifty years. You may want to discuss how this advert fits in with the UN Charter and the Rights of the Child.

English: Create a sequencing activity to show how to grow your own potatoes.

Clip Details

Record Id 007-000-002-155-C
Resource Rights Holder National Library of Scotland
Project Ref 1058
Date 1951
Genre Advertising, Animation
School Subject Health and Wellbeing, History, Mathematics, Science, English, Geography, Social Studies
Subject Matter Citizenship
Who COI for the Dept. of Agriculture for Scotland (sponsor), Harry Gordon (commentary), Molly Weir (commentary)
Event Agriculture
Attributes Black and White, Sound
Clip Length 1:01
Film Length 01:01
References RHET - Count and Grow Projects, Co-op - Farm to Folk, UNICEF.  
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