Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Our Ferocious Earth

"On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it."-Jules Renard

What an interesting quote, especially when we can take the word "pieces" quite literally!

The students are learning all about the earth's landscapes and probing a bit further into the theoretical nature of plate tectonics. Our central idea which goes as follows:  The Earth's physical geography can have an impact on human settlements," made us realise how vulnerable humans are when it comes to the forces that mould mother earth. In order to delve a bit further, we needed to understand why those "pieces" of earth move. The reason they needed to know this was because their summative task was to build settlements along or near fault lines and assess how people may be affected.

And so off we traipsed to the high school laboratory to get a better understanding of what is happening underneath the earth's crust.

The students are setting up their experiments.

Mr. Johnson guides the students, as Mr. Lee and Mr. Wilk watch. They seem fascinated by the outcome of our experiments even though they must have conducted these experiments many times. Science experiments never loose their magic, do they!

Here is a sample of a student' s Lab report:

As a cup of hot water is kept underneath the red dye, we begin to watch it rise. 

Swathes of red hot molten magma surge towards the earth's crust, and then cool down... cooler magma rushes to take its place.

And that was when we finally understood the concept of convection currents. 
Next time you feel a gentle breeze caress your cheeks or play hide and seek with your hair, you know what's happening!

The students, back in class now, take the time to use their learning and create a settlement based on the latitude and longitude they have been assigned on Google Earth.

And they zoom in closer in order to create their topographic map.

This is the beginning of one. 

 The challenge  one faces during these product-oriented tasks is to ensure the students are able to transfer and apply their learning as they eagerly get their hands dirty. 
Questions such as ," What is happening beneath your settlements?" or, Is your topographical map a reflection of the diorama which you have created?" or , Why have you placed the hospital in that location?" helped the students stay focused.
The graphic below helped me keep a check on their progress.

I leave you with some glimpses of the students at work. High on the agenda was self-management and collaboration skills. We also realised how important it was to plan ahead and make a list of things we needed for the next day in order to stop creeping into the art room and getting caught in the process. That's a staple expression when we get caught. 

 A close- up of the San Andrea Fault line.

Mount Merapi in the making.

Yellow stone National Park

Hawaii Mauna loa 

Himalayan mountain range

An Alaskan landscape. Hmm, quite green!

And from natural disasters, I leave you with a shot of a man-made ( or should we call it girl-made) disaster.






  1. I love the collaboration between the high school science department and the grade 6 teaching team and students. Great to juxtapose a photo of the actual physical geographical feature with your models girls. And..the girl made 'disaster' made me smile! (How did the clean up process go? (^-^).

  2. Ms. Sandra. We cleaned up! We did not want the cleaning ladies to clean up our mess :)

    -Grade 6 students