Skip to content

Active Planet in Year 4A

Learning using the ACTIVE PLANET unit in Year 4


After the whole school earthquake drill teams of Year 4 children made detailed plans about how the school can be used as an earthquake evacuation centre.


What do we know about the ACTIVE PLANET and what do we want to learn? A chance to ask some good questions to extend our learning.


Giving the children the BIG PICTURE about their learning in the ACTIVE PLANET unit: all very relevant as we live in the Ring of Fire.


  • To be able to carry out an investigation.
  • To be able to suggest ways to collect evidence.
  • To be able to make predictions and measurements.
  • To be able to draw conclusions from results.

A ‘sticky’ investigation to test the viscosity of different liquids, linking to our learning about different types of lava. After discussing the concept of viscosity, the children predicted which material would be the slowest/most viscous and then tested the different liquids.


  • To be able to design and make products to meet specific needs.
  • To be able to identify and implement improvements to their designs and products.

The children enjoyed designing and making tall structures, using marshmallows and skewers, that could stay standing in the event of an earthquake (or shaking jelly!). They considered and made improvements to their designs and tested the structure with a second earthquake.


  • To be able to use different materials and techniques appropriate to the task.
  • The children demonstrated cooperation and collaboration to make and decorate 3D volcanoes.


  • To be able to use geographical terms.
  • To be able to use secondary sources to obtain geographical information.

Throughout the unit, the children learned a lot of new geographical knowledge and vocabulary and were able to use the vocabulary in context. In their research, using a range of secondary sources, and record tasks they became more able to use geographical terms to describe different aspects of earthquakes and volcanoes.


  • To know about the lives of people and main events in Roman times.

The children investigated life in Roman times and used their enquiry skills to ask questions about pictures to find new knowledge. They enjoyed dramatising scenes in the streets of Pompeii before the eruption of Vesuvius. They linked this drama to story writing, using the story Escape from Pompeii by Christina Balit.


The children and parents enjoyed celebrating the ACTIVE PLANET learning with their parents and watching their volcanoes erupt.


Year 4 shared their ACTIVE PLANET learning with all the Primary children and parents at the Year 4 class assembly, singing the earthquake song and performing a lesson to demonstrate their learning about earthquakes.