PYP How, Where, Who, Share! Teacher Guide

3. How the World Works

Our Changing Planet

The Earth’s structure is always changing.

  • FORM: how our Earth is structured
  • CAUSATION: why we have volcanoes and earthquakes
  • RESPONSIBILITY: how we monitor earthquake and volcanic activity
  • PERSPECTIVE:  focus on people who live in volcanic active zones
  • CONNECTION: how the earth’s structure relates to volcanos and earthquakes
  • THINKING: how are volcanos and earthquakes formed.
  • RESEARCH: agencies that deal with natural disasters.
  • COMMUNICATION: writing and participating in a debate.

Question 1 (p. 31): A 3D model of Earth

Demonstrate the Earth’s structure using a hard-boiled egg. Explain that the shell represents the crust. Gently crack it to show how the crust is made of separate pieces. Then cut it in half to show the mantle (white) and the core (yoke).

Allow children to choose how they want to show the structure of the Earth.

Questions 2 & 3 (p. 33): Tectonic plates

To get the true sense of tectonic plates, it is best to demonstrate by getting a large copy of a world map, stick it on card and cut it out where the tectonic plates are. You can then use this model to demonstrate to children how the plates fit together and discuss what happens when the plates move apart, against or underneath each other. At this point you could also introduce the concept of Pangea (how it is thought that the continents were all joined at one point).

Some great map examples where you can plot volcanoes and tectonic plates can be found at National Geographic’s map makerSee if children can find the pattern between volcanos and the edges of tectonic plates.

Questions 4, 5 & 6 (pp. 34–35): Earthquakes

Demonstrate how earthquakes occur by getting children to place their hands together with palms facing down (thumbs tucked underneath). Each hand represents a tectonic plate. Get children to slowly move their hands backwards and forwards. Ask if it feels smooth or bumpy? Hopefully, the children will realise it is bumpy, especially when they go past a knuckle. Explain that this is like an earthquake!

Question 7 (p. 36): Debate

Children are given the opportunity to write and participate in a debate. It may be worth setting some rules beforehand (such as time limits and no interruptions) and discussing with children how to hold a debate. Make sure there are some children writing a ‘for’ argument and some children writing an ‘against’ argument, or there won’t be much of a debate!

Questions 8–14 (pp. 38–42)

On these pages, there are instructions on how to create a seismograph. Demonstrate for the class how to make one before allowing children to create their own in pairs. Or ask parents/caregivers to help if the children are making it at home. 

EXTEND activity

Questions 15–16 (pp. 44–45)

You could start the lesson with a video about how volcanoes are formed.

Before children answer question 16, discuss with the class why people choose to live near volcanos. The British Geological Survey website summarizes some of the reasons.

Question 17 (p. 45): Visiting a volcano

This postcard activity can instead be completed on card using a postcard template to make a classroom display. If it will be hung, children can draw a volcano on the other side.

You can also download a sheet of printable PYP Agents postage stamps for students to glue on to their postcards after they are completed.

Question 18 (p. 46): Natural disaster agencies

Children are given the opportunity to research different agencies that help during a natural disaster (Red Cross, Oxfam, etc.) They may already know some of the agencies through the news or adverts, but it may be worth mind mapping together a list of agencies as a starting point for their research.

EXTEND activity

Reflection (p. 47)

Allow children time to complete the reflection at the end of the chapter. This is a great opportunity to discuss with the children what they have learnt now and what their favourite part of the chapter was. Remind them to look back at the questions they asked at the start. Can they answer them now?

Give children lesson time to answer any questions they haven’t covered in the chapter. If all of their questions have been answered, children could delve deeper into a particular part of the chapter they found interesting