Saturday, March 10, 2012


A volcanologist is a person who studies volcanoes.  They discover how volcanoes formed and spend a lot of time around active volcanoes to see if they might erupt any time soon.  As you can imagine this could be quite a dangerous job so we thought about what a volcanologist might wear to protect them?  Have a look at our ideas and if any volcanologists are reading please feel free to contact us should you wish to discuss our designs further!

4G if you recognise your drawing please ask an adult to help you leave a comment at the end giving only your first name and explaining which picture is yours - feel free to add as much detail as you wish!  

A very well preared volcanologist by Deniz!


It is always nice to share our work and show off how brilliant we are!  Look how much we have covered!  :)

Mount Vesuvius Fact file by Faezah

Tectonic Plates by Deniz

Comparing UK and Japan by Ahmed

Japanese Writing by Bella

Comparing UK and Japan by Ibrahim

 You can see some of the work here was comparing the UK and Japan.  We looked at many cultural differences but then thought about this in relation to our active planet.  Why do you think the UK and Japan are different when it comes to natural disasters?  We will give you a clue.  Japan is on the edge of a tectonic plate and the UK is not.  Maybe this news report can help.  Listen to the school girl Isabel and think if this would ever happen in the UK?

CBBC news report on Japanese Earthquake


4G wrote many adventure stories after learning about our active planet.  Here is another great piece of writing from Leila.

Journey to the centre of the Earth
by Leila

Hello, my name is Leila and I am about to tell you my story of how I got to the centre of the Earth.

I'm just an ordinary 9 year old but when I learnt about volcanoes in school I wanted to learn more about them. So I decided I was going to start my journey to the centre of the Earth!  I wasn't sure how, but I am confident and brave, big, strong and tough.

My super brainy, brilliant brother Brian was so clever and I knew he would help me.  I ran to his room. "Brian!"  I screamed in my high pitched, squeaky voice to make sure he would listen to me.  "Leave me alone, I'm doing my homework!" he said.  I wasn't in a hurry.

I went to my rom to design a suit for me and Patchy to wear in our spaceship type rocket.  Patchy is my dog.  I take him everywhere.  I designed him a silver coat with a red P on the front which stands for Patchy.  I turned my boring blue denim trousers into super silver ones which had pads inside to protect my legs.  Then with the leftover padding I turned one of my PE shirts into a protective top with a green L in the middle.  After that I went to find Brian but apparently he was out.

I went into his room.  What was that beautiful silver thing on the floor?  IT WAS A SUPER COOL ALIEN SPACE SHIP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I grabbed it, I grabbed Patchy and ran into the garden.  Quick as a flash we were in our suits and ready to rock and roll.  Me and Patchy sat down in these super soft, cosy seats.  I rested my hands on a steering wheel and pressed some buttons and switched some switches.  Then we were off!

Firstly it was digging a hole.  Then we zoomed down, stones crashing, hitting and rattling against my Leilatron (thats what I've named my spaceship).  Patchy and I were barking and screaming, smiling and sometimes frowning.  Until the Leilatron stopped!!!!!!!!!!

I was scared it had stopped working but I was wrong.  The stones were getting too hard.  But what was that creature peering in the window?  It was a real, alive, dirty and dusty human.  I couldn't believe my eyes.  There was a human living in the centre of the Earth.  I wanted to get ot and say "Hello" but I decided to go home.

This time we didn't scream but were sad to leave the human on his own.  When we arrived at home we jumped out.  I carried teh Leilatron to brainy Brians room while Patchy threw Earth on the hole so no one would notice.  Brian did see some scratches on the spaceship but I blamed it on Patchy.  "PATCHY!"  screamed Brian.  "WOOF WOOF!" barked Patchy, narrowing his eyes at me.


Here is another super story from Hennessey.  Sit back and enjoy yet another fantastic piece of work from 4G!

Journey to the centre of the Earth
by Hennessey

Hello!  I am a wacky, funky and also very brave scientist and my name is Scientist Chuckles.  I am going to to be telling you about my drastic journey to the centre of the earth.  

Well, I traveled in a massive screw machine.  The reason I went was because I needed a cure for a poison I was making.  And when it was at the last minute my assistant scientist Julie wanted to come too so she came along.

So, we got into the machine I made and set off.  It took 10 seconds to get there.  We were travelling at the speed of light!  When we were in the machine there was a joystick to control the machine and loads of buttons to speed it up and stop the machine.

Finally, we walked out of the machine and we were in the jungle up in the air.  We thought and thought then we came up with something.  There's probably not gravity in the centre of the Earth and suddenly we saw little people walking.  We picked them up and said "Hello, are you OK?".  They didn't answer and walked off!
Then one said to us "Who are you?".  I said "We are called humans, we live on Earth".  "Wow, we're called poppings, if you touch us we grow enormous!" "How did you get here?"  I asked.  "Well, a scientist made us out of a magical poison and then he left us here".  "Why do you think he did that?"  I asked weirdly.  "I think he left us here so nobody knows his secret of how he made us!"  
"Very interesting isn't it Julie?"  said I.  "Yes, very interesting" said Julie grinning.  

So Scientist Chuckles and Julie set off and explored the non-gravity jungle.  They saw tropical plants, massive trees and even talking leaves.  They saw the sky which was not blue but coral orange.  The trees were not brown, they were yellow.  They saw tropical birds, flying pigs, flying sheep and flying cows. It was more like a farm!  

They explored high and low but there was not a cure until they came to what they needed.  They picked it up and made the poison, did the cure and decided not to go home but live there.  Scientist Chuckles and Julie decided to marry each other!  Let's hit it monkey d-jay, rapping music on!!!

Thursday, March 1, 2012


We now know that pushing plates cause earthquakes because the pressure builds up until one plate finally slips, causing the ground to shake.  We also know that when plates pull apart they create a gap and this means magma from the mantle of the earth can escape through the gap resulting in a volcano.

Ring of Fire 
One of the most talked about plates that make up the Earth is the Pacific plate which lies under the Pacific ocean.  The edges of this plate lie under many different countries meaning certain towns and cities are built right on areas that could be affected by the moving plates at any time.  Many volcanoes and earthquakes occur around the edges of this plate and this is why it has the name 'The Ring of Fire'.  Have a look at the map to get an idea of how many countries are on the edge of the Pacific plate.

This news report below gives a great insight into The Ring of Fire.  When you are watching it make a note of all the places that are mentioned to give you an idea of just how dangerous this moving plate can be.  Can you see now why they call it The Ring of Fire?

Here is another clip which helps us see about the dangers.  Ring of Fire - News clip


At the beginning of our 'Active Planet' topic we ran a drill to help us prepare should we ever be involved in an earthquake.  4G set up a disaster relief centre in their classroom for victims of the earthquake.  Now we have been thinking more about earthquakes and the devastation that often occurs because of them.

Pushing plates cause earthquakes
Before we begin discussing earthquakes it is very important to know how they are caused.  We have previously mentioned plate tectonics.  When two of the plates meet they sometimes push together, causing a huge build up of pressure until suddenly one plate gives way and slips beneath the other plate.  This sudden jerk movement of the slipping plate causes the ground to shake and  the vibrations can be felt on the ground we walk on.  Sometimes this action is so forceful buildings can collapse and roads can break apart.  

Have a look at this video to get more of an idea about earthquakes.  Earthquake information clip

The clip below gives you an idea of how earthquakes can cause harm to people.  When you watch this clip think about how the people might be feeling?  Have a look at how buildings are damaged.  When the school girl is speaking imagine that happened in your school.
News report - Earthquake in New Zealand

Earthquakes in the ocean can cause tsunamis to occur.  This makes earthquakes even more deadly and can cause death and destruction for people who did not even feel the tremor of the earthquake as it happened.  A tsunami is a huge wave that can be even taller than buildings.  The wave will travel extremely fast and wash in over a whole town or city.  This leaves a huge flood causing many deaths and destroying buildings.

The tsunami is caused when two of the plates meet and like we already mentioned they keep pushing together until one plate slips.  The ocean floor jerks upward and this causes the water to also move upward at a really fast pace.  The water has literally been pushed forward so it is now speeding towards the coast where there might be a town or village.  This clip helps you get a more visual image of how a tsunami would happen.  Explaining how tsunamis happen

So as we can see, earthquakes can cause loss of lives in many different ways.  Engineers are always trying to come up with different ways to make stronger buildings that can withstand the violent tremors of earthquakes and stay standing when the ground moves.  

Friday, February 10, 2012


4G have been doing a lot of thinking lately about what it might be like at the centre of the Earth.  We decided to let our imaginations go this week and write some short stories.  Below is one of the many fantastic pieces of work.  Enjoy!

Journey to the centre of the Earth
by Milo

I don't know why it happened to me.  Maybe it was my destiny?  Why me, why not my Dad or someone who knows about this stuff.

It all started at a beautiful scarlet dusk, a time when you just know somethings going to happen.  My Dad, Professor Nathan was working on his latest invention.  He said it would change the world for the better.  I wasn't sure.  The thing is, I was never really close to him.  It made me feel empty.

I felt mischievious.  I decided to check it out.  He was wacking a large hammer on a copper devise with electrical sparks flying out of the iron lump. Then Joey, the family dog, started to bark.  "What is it now?" asked Dad with frustration.  He stomped out of his garage to find me!  "Oh bother" I thought as Dad stared at me with agression.

"Now Leighton how, how did you get here?"  I was outspoken, there was no point in replying.  "Go away before I kill you" screamed my Dad like a foghorn.  "But, but..." I said shocked.  "Go to bed, NOW!" he bellowed thunderously.  I had no choice.  I skulked up to my room.  I wasn't finished with him!

I waited until he marched to his room then I slipped down quietly.  His invention was now glowing bright yellow.  Smoke gas clouds filled the room making it hard to breath. As I got closer, I saw a swirl of colour, supreme, amazing.  I was now blindly pacing towards it like a zombie.  It was magical, unlike anything I'd ever seen.

Suddenly I tripped.  I flew towards it as my scream pierced the air.  I tumbled down at the speed of light. I saw all my memories as I zoomed down this everlasting roller-coaster.  Then, out of nowhere I landed with a thump!  The land I saw was a sea of blood red and I was on a brown, rocky island.

"Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh" I screamed.

I got up and looked around.  Where was I?  What or who had sent me here?

"I demand to return to civilisation!" I shouted.

Then a path appeared in the sea of red but I now believed it to be lava.  I ran along this empty land on the rocky path.  Next, a door opened.  I went through.  What I saw was amazing, nothing else.  A devil was on the plains of hell.

"Who are you?" he asked.  "For I am the devil!  And you are my prisoner".

I was checked into a cell and here I remain today.  A wasted life, so silly of me that all I have to say is I found out I am in the centre of the Earth.  My dream is to go back home.  To where I belong.  It always will be.


We decided to take some pictures to give a snapshot of some of the work 4G have been doing.  We hope you like our research so far.  Stay tuned, lots more to come!  :)

Facts and diagram by Zana on Mount Vesuvius
Fact file by Marlon on Mount Vesuvius

Mind map by Razana - research of the Icelandic volcano

Saturday, February 4, 2012


As we saw in our last post, Pompeii was a Roman city in southern Italy which was destroyed by Mount Vesuvius when it fiercely erupted in 79AD.  The fascinating thing about this story is that the people could see the volcano erupting but did not try to evacuate the city.  We pondered why this might be and discovered it was because back then they would not have known what a volcano was.  Thanks to progress in science, we now all know how dangerous volcanoes are but back then nothing was known about Vesuvius.  Can you imagine how confused the people would have been to see the black ash shooting up into the stratosphere and not knowing why.

When we first talked about Pompeii we thought that lava had poured down the mountainside and killed the people of the city.  However, we now know it was in fact the volcanic ash that caused their deaths.  The video below provides a fascinating explanation as to how the red hot ash and rock brought so many lives to an end on that fateful day.

The city of Pompeii lay beneath layers of ash and rock, almost like it never even existed.  However, since 1798 archaeologists have excavated the city.  After careful digging over the centuries they managed to unearth what was left of the city.  When digging through the layers of ash they came across some hollows.  They realised these hollows were left after the bodies of the victims had decayed, leaving their outline behind.  Plaster was then poured into these hollows and when it hardened archaeologists continued digging and were able to see the actual shape of the people who had died.  This video helps to explain the process:

Explaining the Pompeii bodies

Since the excavation of Pompeii, many tourists from all over the world have come to see its ruins and the casts of the people who died.  These visitors bring large amounts of money to the area therefore helping the economy.  Tourists will spend money in hotels, shops, restaurants, tour guide offices and many more places helping the local people to have jobs and make a living.  Pompeii is a great example of how tourism can help to bring cash to local businesses and provide jobs for local people who provide services for tourists.


Mount Vesuvius
This week 4G have been doing some research into Mount Vesuvius.  This volcano has brought about some serious discussion in our classroom.  It is necessary to learn about the history of Mt Vesuvius before we can even begin to think about the devastation it could cause in the future.

Here are some of the key facts we found out about Vesuvius:


Location:  Southern Italy, near the city of Naples
Height: 1281m (4203ft)  
Age: Approximately 17,000 years old
Last eruption: 1944
Most famous eruption:  79AD when it destroyed the Roman city of Pompeii

We found the videos below extremely helpful in getting a picture in our minds of what Vesuvius looks like. The videos also give us a glimpse into the past so we can understand just how powerful and devastating the eruptions can be.

Something to think about as you watch the videos:  Why are the people of Naples and other towns still living so close to Mt Vesuvius?  What might happen to them if it erupts?

DID YOU KNOW:  Mt Vesuvius is the only active volcano on the European mainland.


This week we made our own volcanoes!  I bet you never knew you could have a volcano in your own classroom!  Well it is quite simple if you carefully follow the instructions below.  But be warned - this can get messy so make sure you wear an apron or old work shirt before beginning.

A large dish/tray
Sand and gravel
A plastic bottle/jam jar
1/2 cup of water
Liquid hand soap
1/2 cup of Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)
A jug
Red or orange food colouring
Few table spoons of flour

1. Begin by taking your bottle or jar
2. Add the water to the bottle/jar using a funnel or jug
3. Mix the baking soda and flour together and add to the water
4. Add the liquid hand soap (about 5 or 6 tablespoons) 
5. Add the red or orange food colouring
6. Mix everything together.  If using the bottle put the lid back on and shake it all together.
7. Place the bottle/jar on the middle of the tray
8. Pack sand and gravel around and build up into cone shape (the volcano)
9. Measure out 1/2 cup of vinegar
10. Add vinegar to the bottle/jar
11. Wait for the eruption to begin!

DID  YOU KNOW:  When you mix the vinegar and the sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) together it causes an acidic reaction.  This is the reaction you see when the volcano erupts.  This reaction makes a gas called carbon dioxide.

Friday, January 27, 2012


We have been doing some research into recent volcanoes and as the UK was affected by the ash cloud from the Icelandic volcano in 2011 we thought this would be an interesting volcano to discuss and write some newspaper articles about. Many flights were cancelled because a huge cloud of volcanic ash traveled all the way from Iceland to the UK. Scientists feared that the ash might get inside the planes engines if they were to fly through the ash cloud meaning passengers might be in danger. This was why so many planes were grounded.

We challenge you to pronounce the name of the volcano - Eyjafjallajokull

Our next challenge after trying to pronounce the volcanoes name was to find out some information about it. We searched online, looked in books, read newspaper articles and shared our own knowledge with the rest of the class to carry out our research and write our own newspaper articles. We found the CBBC news report below very useful because it provided us with lots of information and allowed us to see what the volcano actually looked like. People in the UK heard a lot about flights being cancelled but we wanted to know more about how the people living near the volcano were affected too.

CBBC Icelandic volcano 2011

4G will be entering some of their newspaper articles showing their research shortly - stay tuned folks!


Have a look at these videos first to get an idea of what happens during a volcanic eruption.

You are now beginning to get an idea of what happens during an eruption and I bet you would not like to be too close! We have already learned about the Earth's plates and we know that when the plates move apart they can cause cracks or gaps which releases the hot molten rock to the surface of the Earth. What we saw in the second video was lava. This is what we call the molten rock when it reaches the surface of the Earth. Let's have a look at the diagram below to get a better idea of what the inside of a volcano looks like.

The Earth's crust is coloured brown in the diagram. This is the outer layer of the Earth. We can see a magma chamber coming up through the crust. Magma is the correct name for the hot liquid molten rock that is leaving the mantle and making its way towards the surface of the Earth. The middle of the volcano has a vent and the magma travels up through the vent. The pressure beneath the Earth's crust can cause the magma to explode out the top of the volcano and such an explosion can blow the top off leaving a crater. As soon as the magma reaches the surface it becomes lava and it oozes down the side of the volcano. Eventually the air cools the lava and it hardens. This means the volcano will have another layer added to it once the lava cools. The more eruptions a volcano has the bigger it gets because the lava keeps cooling and adding extra layers of rock.

DID YOU KNOW? Volcanoes that still erupt are called 'active volcanoes'. Volcanoes that have not erupted for several years are called 'dormant volcanoes' which means they are said to be asleep. Volcanoes that are unlikely to ever erupt again are called 'extinct volcanoes'.


In our last post we talked about how the outer layer of the Earth is called the crust and this is the layer we live on. The crust is not just one big covering like the peel around an orange. Instead it is like a jigsaw and all the pieces fit together. So it would be like if you peeled the orange and then put the peel back on. You would be putting it back on in pieces and sticking them all together to try and cover the orange again. Try doing it! There will now be little gaps between the orange peels. If this was our Earth we would call the pieces of peel the 'plates'.

The mantle is underneath the plates and is made of liquid rock. The plates all float on top of the liquid rock. Can you imagine that underneath the ground we walk on, is actually a runny, oozy melting rock and the crust under our feet is floating on top of it! So that means all the jigsaw pieces (plates) of the crust are floating on the melting rock.

These moving plates cause earthquakes and volcanoes. If you imagine the plates all floating around on top of the mantle. They will have to glide past each other and sometimes will rub together. When this happens they cause a vibration which causes the ground to shake. This is an earthquake.
Other times the plates will move away from each other causing a gap. This gap allows the liquid rock and gas beneath the crust to escape out onto the surface of the Earth. When liquid rock escapes like this a volcano is formed. In the next post we will look at volcanoes in more detail.

THE MOVING OF THE PLATES IS CALLED 'PLATE TECTONICS'. Plate tectonics means our continents are moving each year. They are being carried in different directions because they are part of different moving plates.

Have a look at this video to get a clearer picture of the moving plates.


Have you ever wondered what is inside our planet? We all know that our planet is round and we live on its surface but what goes on underneath our feet? By understanding the structure of our planet it will make it easier for us to understand the ways it is active. First of all lets have a look at this cross section which shows what our Earth would look like if a section was cut out of it.

We can see there are 4 different layers:

The inner core is in the centre. It is the hottest part of the Earth. It is solid and made up of metals called iron and nickel. Its temperature is about 5,500°C! That would be MUCH too hot for humans to live near!

The outer core surrounds the inner core. It is a liquid layer, also made up of iron and nickel.

The mantle is the widest section of the Earth. It is made up of semi-molten rock called magma. Semi-molten means that the rock is soft and beginning to melt. In the upper parts of the mantle the rock is hard.

The crust is the outer layer of the earth. It is a thin layer and this is the layer we live on. There are 2 different types of crust:
Continental crust which carries land
Oceanic crust which carries water

Our next entry will have a look at the crust in more detail and explain that the ground we walk on is actually moving beneath our feet!


Although we might still be young, there have been many times we have heard about events around the world caused by our active Earth. If there is damage to properties and people are injured these events are known as natural disasters. For example many children will have heard about the earthquake in Japan 2011 where many people lost their lives. Before we begin learning about what causes these events, it can be helpful to focus on some photos to help us think about what might be happening.

Take a few minutes to discuss with someone what might have happened in each of these pictures.

What was the cause?
What damage can you see?
Do you think any people might have been hurt?
What will happen now?
How do you think the people of the local community feel?


Have you ever thought about what you would do if an earthquake struck in the place that you live?

What if buildings were damaged and people lost their homes?

Where would these people stay and what kind of things would they need?


Today after lunch 4G were in for a bit of a shock. As they entered their classroom they noticed desks upturned, chairs strewn around the room and pencil pots scattered all over the floor. Books had fallen off the shelves and littered the carpet. Their teacher looked serious and quickly took the register to check everyone was present. She told 4G there had been a tremor at lunchtime. Some houses in the area had been damaged and one of the nearby roads had been closed off due to large cracks. The school was to be used as a disaster relief centre for the local community who needed somewhere to stay for the night. 4G needed to help prepare the centre and quickly divided themselves into teams:

Outside risk assessment team - checked the school grounds for parts that may be unsafe such as falling branches, cracks in the playground or broken walls which might fall down on top of someone.

Indoors risk assessment team - checked for cracks in the walls. Had any of the windows been broken? Were all the rooms safe? Had any of the ceiling fallen in?

First Aid experts - when members of the community started arriving they might need bandages or slings for wounds.

Grocery shopping team - food would have to be prepared for anyone who was staying. This called for online grocery shopping. What kind of healthy meals could we make them? As it is Winter and many people might be cold what kind of food would help warm them up? What food is a good energy source?

Bedding team - what kind of bedding would people need? What website would sell bedding? As it is Winter what kind of bedding will provide warmth? What if there are very old people or young children? Are there any other extras we could provide to keep them warm?

Creche team - what would we need in a creche for very young children? What do mothers use to feed and change their babies? Where to babies sleep? Could we provide anything for the children to play with?

Information team - our deputy head was in contact with the police, other adults in the community and many of the schools in Hackney to gather information and maps outlining the worst hit areas. The team took these maps and info back to the press release team who wrote up their reports for local newspapers.

Press release team - newspapers will want a good story to show readers how serious the matter is. What are the facts? What exactly has happened? Where is the disaster relief centre? Who can go there for help? What help is provided? Are any roads closed or damaged? Have scientists warned of any more tremors?

By the end of the day 4G had unbelievably organised everything needed to set up a disaster relief centre. Their hard work really has impressed not just their class teacher but the whole school. One adult in the classroom has stated
4G were amazing. They immediately jumped to action and arranged for all the necessities a disaster relief centre would need. If I were ever unfortunate enough to have my home damaged by a natural disaster I would definitely trust 4G to set up a centre that would keep me safe and provide me with food and shelter until my home was fixed. They should be very proud of their efforts.

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT: Natural disasters occur all around the world. They happen because of changes happening in our planet Earth and cannot be prevented. Sometimes they happen in very poor areas where people really need help. Many charities send aid to these people. Have a look at the below video about the charity 'Shelterbox'. Pay close attention to what they pack in their disaster relief boxes. Think about why they pack these things and how they might help the people who receive them.