‘Cracking the Earth’s Core’ at Upton Junior School

Upton youngsters have been learning about earthquakes and volcanos

Cracking the Earth’s Core is the intriguing title for the latest learning adventure for children at Upton Junior School in Broadstairs.

The Year 4 group investigated what causes earthquakes and how volcanoes emerge from the ground and what makes them erupt.

The whole topic has been focused around the key question, ‘does the ground move?’ Children have learnt all about the layers of the earth, how volcanoes are formed, where they can be found, tectonic plates and earthquakes.

They studied earthquake hotspots in the world and learnt why some countries need earthquake resistant buildings and what this involves. Working collaboratively they designed, built and tested the models, and evaluated their successes.

During their topic pupils have also created a 3D model of the layers of the Earth and then cut it in half to see it as a cross-section to understand what goes on deep down below the surface.

To help present their studies in an easy-to-understand way the pupils created a pop-up double page information document including facts, information and a volcano diagram.

Head of Year 4 Billie Danson said: “It was a fascinating and wide-ranging topic. The children are really interested in the world about them and they were curious to discover more about how the shifting movements of the Earth can trigger earthquake tremors and what causes the eruption of a volcano.

“They researched case studies on volcanic eruptions and learned all about Pompeii and how it was engulfed when Mount Vesuvius erupted.

“The children recalled the events of that fateful day through a ‘big write’ to showcase their creative writing skills. After reading ‘I Survived the Eruption of Mount St Helens’ they wrote dialogue between two characters, and then developed their own ‘I Survived’ story based on a volcanic eruption or an earthquake.”

Once a thriving and sophisticated Roman city, Pompeii was buried under meters of ash and pumice after the catastrophic eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. Today, the preserved site features excavated ruins of streets and houses that visitors can freely explore.

Head of School Darci Arthur said: “This is a topic that embraces so many different strands of learning including science, history, geography, art and creative design.

“Engaging fully with topic work in this way is a deeply enriching way of learning.”