Describe and understand key aspects of physical geography, including climate zones/Use maps, etc… to locate countries and describe features studied
As we know from other parts of this page, the weather differs around the world. Places where the weather is similar each year are called climates. Climate zones (areas) are different depending on their position on the Earth. Some climates can be described as extreme, usually because they are extremely hot or cold (so extreme, in fact, that there may even be a place in the world where snow and ice are found all year round...).
One extreme climate is the Arctic. If we were able to look down on to the top of the Earth we would be able to see the Arctic clearly.
The use of the colour white gives us a clue as to what type of climate the Arctic is. Why is the Arctic so cold? You can remind yourself of climate zones (including the Arctic) with this BBC Bitesize video.
The Arctic covers a vast area of the world and has many different types of landscape, from sea to tundra. You can find out much more with the video on this Wicked Weather Watch page.
TASK 1: The information in the video should help you to label the Arctic regions in a Purplemash challenge: Log into your Purplemash account --> Topics --> Geography --> Polar Regions --> Arctic Labelling Game and give it a try!
The video shows that, despite the climate being extreme, people still live in the Arctic. What effect does the climate have on the people and the way they live (think about their clothing, transport, etc...)? Of course, people aren't the only form of life in the region...
This Wicked Weather Watch page will give you details of Arctic animal life.
TASK 2: Log into your Purplemash account --> Topics --> Geography --> Polar Regions --> Polar Climate. Here you can write a postcard describing the Arctic climate. Think about the different landscapes (don't forget to describe them), the temperature, the creatures, the people... You can put a lot into your postcard!
Take a look at the photographs below. You will see that they show a very different type of extreme climate. How do these images differ to the Arctic climate?
A large part of the Earth’s land area is covered by desert. A desert is a largely waterless, empty area with little or no vegetation (plants). A place which gets less than 25cm of rain a year is usually described as a desert.
The photographs above show a hot desert (there are such things as cold deserts too, the Gobi desert being one. There are even coastal deserts). Like the Arctic, the climate of deserts is caused by their position on the Earth’s globe (you can remind yourself of climate zones with this BBC Video).
You can see on the picture above that many deserts are close the middle of the globe (the Equator). Because the sun’s rays are the strongest at the Equator these are the hottest deserts. (You can see the image more clearly on this DKfindout page)
Deserts are a hostile environment. This means that living in the desert climate is hard. Can you think why this might be?
In the day deserts can be scorching hot, but at night the temperature can plummet to freezing cold. This is because deserts have few, if any, clouds to keep the heat in. Clouds are created by moisture and deserts have very little moisture.
The lack of water is the biggest problem. Humans, animals and plants rely on water to survive. However, despite this, it is estimated that around a billion people live in desert areas.
Although most people believe that deserts are lifeless this is far from true. There are many creatures and plants in desert areas. The desert is described as a biome. A biome is an area of the planet where only certain types of plants and animals can live.
Desert animals have adapted to cope with the lack of water and extremes in temperature. Many of them avoid the heat by staying out of it as much as possible, sheltering in burrows or under rocks. Staying cool means that less moisture leaves their bodies (think about what happens to humans when they get really, really hot!). Some creatures have bodies designed to save water: scorpions and wolf spiders have a thick outer covering which reduces moisture loss.
You can find out more about the creatures which make the desert their habitat in this BBC Video.
Although deserts are largely waterless there are areas such as this:
An oasis is an area where water reaches the surface from deep underground. They often have trees and plants growing around them - can you guess why? An oasis will attract animals who come to drink the water and feed on the vegetation.
TASK 2: Write down at least ten facts about hot deserts (or use Purplemash --> Tools --> 2Publish --> I have found out if you prefer). You could try to think about the things that make the desert climate different to the Arctic (their position on the Earth, for example). The questions below might help you with ideas. You might find this DKfindout page useful too (scroll all the way down it - there are links to other pages at the bottom).
Describe and understand key aspects of biomes
You may have noticed that the word biome crept into the desert section above. A biome is an area of the planet where only certain types of plants and animals can live. Here are some examples of biomes. Can you work out what they are?
The pictures above show the Savannah, Rainforest, Desert and Tundra biomes. There are others too (Grasslands and Woodlands are two examples (some scientists believe there are even more)). You'll notice that the biomes in the photographs are quite different to one another. Biomes are described as areas with similar climates, landscapes, animals and plants.
Climate and landscape (the type of land and soil) have a big impact the sort of plants and creatures which can survive in each biome (this is why you wouldn't expect to find a polar bear in the Rainforest!). The creatures in the photographs below all live and survive in very different biomes. Can you guess where they might live?
Believe it or not, biomes also involve a style of teamwork! Animals in a biome often depend upon plants for their food. Meanwhile, the plants in a biome also depend upon the animals to spread their pollen and seeds. This means that new plants can grow. The plants and animals of a biome rely on each other to stay alive.
This BBC Bitesize video and quiz is an excellent introduction to biomes.
TASK: Create a representation of a biome (Desert, Rainforest, Tundra, Grasslands, Woodlands, Savannah). This might be a model (Lego perhaps?) or a piece of art. Think about your biome's climate (weather), geography (where it is), landscape (is it rocky, mountainous, etc...?)) and the type of life it supports (animal and plant - both of these are important as they rely on each other).
Describe and understand key aspects of earthquakes
Climate and weather influence the way people live. However, there are other natural features which can have an effect upon humans (and the land itself). Take a look at the photographs below. What do you think caused these cracks?
The damage on these pictures was caused by earthquakes. Like climates, earthquakes (and volcanoes) are usually found in certain areas on the planet. Luckily, Ruswarp isn't one of them! There are clues on the photographs which tell you that these earthquakes did not take place in this country. Look at the cloudless sky and plants on the photograph directly above, for example. The road in the picture runs through a desert area.
What makes earthquakes occur? If we were able to take a chunk out of the Earth this is what we would find:
The core is the centre (like the core of an apple), the mantle is mainly rock and the crust is the outer covering (think about the crust on a loaf of bread). The crust is the part of the Earth that we live on.
The crust (and the top bit of the mantle) is made up of pieces called plates. These plates fit together like a jigsaw, as shown in this illustration from Earth Shattering Events:
As you can see on the picture above, our country is far away from where two plates meet. Which is fortunate.
The plates are moving all of the time and energy builds up around the areas where they meet. This energy can be released suddenly as a shockwave or earthquake. You can find out more about this on page 12 of the extract from Earth Shattering Events here.
Surprisingly there are many, many earthquakes every day but they are usually so small that people hardly ever notice them (in fact, only special machines can spot them!). In some parts of the world, however, earthquakes can be quite large. In Japan earthquakes are a familiar part of life and people have adapted to them. Japan even includes buildings which are designed to sway with the earthquakes! You can find out more about this with BBC Bitesize here.
TASK: Read the extract from Earth Shattering Events and watch the BBC Bitesize video (you can find the links to both of these in the text above). Use your knowledge to write an information text about Earthquakes, explaining what they are and how they occur. If you wish to include some of the myths about earthquakes (are they really caused by a catfish?) then please do (but make sure that you mention that they are myths and not reality). Log into Purplemash --> Topics --> Geography --> Earthquakes --> All About Earthquakes for a useful template. You will also find some quizzes to try too!
Describe and understand key aspects of volcanoes
Like earthquakes, volcanoes are natural processes which can have an effect on the climate (and people) around them. They come in a variety of forms. From this...
A volcano is an opening in the Earth’s crust (look back at the Earthquake section if you need reminding about this). The openings in the crust let magma (hot ash and gases) escape. Like this:
As you can see in the photographs, volcanoes can look like mountains or small hills. Magma is the molten rock - rock that is so hot it has turned into liquid (think about States of Matter on the Science page). When magma reaches the surface of the Earth it is called lava and comes out of the volcano as a volcanic eruption, along with gases and ash.
Most volcanic eruptions are caused by the movement of the tectonic plates (look back at the Earthquake section for a reminder if you need to). Other volcanoes, such as Mauna Loa in Hawaii (in the pictures below) are caused by hot spots in the Earth’s crust. Even though the pictures look dramatic, these do not erupt violently and lava usually flows slowly out of them.
Thanks to the strength of their sudden eruptions, volcanoes are seen as powerful, dangerous and mysterious. Perhaps this the reason that the super villain in the 1967 James Bond movie You Only Live Twice chooses a volcano for his secret base? Some of the movie was made around Mount Shinmoedake, a volcano in Japan which you see in the photograph below. Japan has over one hundred active volcanoes and there was great interest when the "James Bond Volcano" erupted in 2018. The clouds of ash produced by the volcano meant that a nearby airport was closed because of the danger to planes.
(The movie You Only Live Twice was written by a familiar author. His name? Roald Dahl)
One of the most famous volcanic eruptions happened in Italy nearly two thousand years ago (in 79 AD). The volcano Mount Vesuvius (you can see it in the background of the photograph below) erupted and buried the Roman city Pompeii under a blanket of volcanic ash. The eruption must have been enormous (look at how far away Vesuvius is from the ruins). In places, the ash was up to 6 metres deep. This meant that the remains of the city (and its people) were preserved beneath the ash. Today, however, things are very different and Pompeii is a popular tourist destination.
You will not be surprised to learn that eruptions from volcanoes can be very dangerous (can you think why? There are one or two clues above!). However, volcanoes can also be of some help to people living nearby (yes, really!). Volcanoes can improve soil, allowing crops to be grown. They are also popular with tourists, who help the local economy (they spend money!).
You can find out more about volcanoes with this BBC Bitesize page:
TASK: Log into your Purplemash account --> Topics --> Geography --> Volcanoes. Here you will find a range of activities to choose from to demonstrate your knowledge. Alternatively, you could draw and label a volcano or make a model or collage of one if you prefer.
Describe and understand key aspects of climate zones
Look at these photographs. What do you notice? Do you think they were all taken in the same place at the same time?
As you can see, the weather is not the same across the world. Some places remain very cold throughout the year while others are very hot. Places where the weather is similar each year are called climates. Climate zones (areas) are different depending on their position on the Earth. This BBC video will tell you more about the differing climate zones.
Think about our climate. What is the weather like in our country? Is it the same throughout the year or are there differences? Can we predict which parts of the year will be colder and warmer? Here are some photographs of the UK climate to help you:
Take a moment to think about the recent floods and the very hot Summer. Some scientists believe that the weather is more difficult to predict because pollution and Global Warming are causing a Climate Change. Would you agree?
TASK: Log into your Purplemash account --> Tools --> 2Publish --> I have found out... Use the template to describe the UK climate. The questions above should help you. You could start by describing the types of weather in our UK climate and explaining what time of the year we could expect to see certain types of weather (would you be able to go sun bathing in the middle of Winter, for example?). Create an illustration to go with your writing.
After many decades of warnings by scientists, people are now aware of the impact that humans have upon their environment. We can see evidence of this concern for the environment all around us...
There is now a World Environment Day (5th June) which encourages people to be aware of the importance of looking after nature/our climate. This links very strongly with the Bible's Creation Story too as Christians believe that it is important to look after the world that God made.
Looking after our planet is vital for everyone (it's the only planet we've got!) and it is not only scientists who speak about how important this is. You may have seen this girl on the news:
This is Greta Thunberg and you can find out more about her on this CBBC Newsround page (where she reveals that she was inspired by Rosa Parks). Like many others before her, Greta believes that people should look after our planet and try to solve the problems that humans have caused.
Pollution is a big problem and plastic pollution is one of the biggest. The wildlife in the oceans can be badly damaged by plastic. There is now a World Oceans Day (8th June) to remind people how important water is to the survival of all life on Earth (think about the Water Cycle).
TASK: Create a project about the importance of the oceans. This could be art work, a leaflet, a booklet... or a mixture of different styles (you could draw and cut out a large fish shape and write facts across the back of it, for example). You could focus on a particular type of sea creature (shark, whale, etc...) or the harmful effects of pollution (the text below may help you to think about this).