Natural Disasters


Fire Preparations

  1. What was the main point of the Fire Preparations story?
  2. In your own words, describe what a `burn-off’ is?
  3. What three things make up the fire triangle?
  4. A burn-off removes which part of the fire triangle?
  5. Who plans and monitors a burn-off?
  6. Why was the planned burn-off cancelled?
  7. Name three things that can be done to contain a burn-off.
  8. What can be done around your home or school to make them fire safe?
  9. Illustrate an aspect of this story.
  10. What do you understand more clearly since watching the BtN story?

After watching the BtN Fire Preparations story, research then create a list of things that you would take if you had to evacuate in a fire emergency.

Watch the video below, then write a reflection about the story in your English book.


Inquiry – Tornadoes



Make a Tornado in a Jar!

The swirling winds of a tornado are called a vortex. In this experiment you will make a vortex that looks like a real tornado! While real tornadoes happen in air, the vortex you make in this activity is in water. Both air and water are fluids. That means that they move in similar ways.

What you will need:

  • Jar with lid
  • Water
  • Vinegar
  • Clear liquid dish soap
  • A pinch of glitter

Make it happen!

  1. Fill the jar 3/4 full of water.
  2. Put in one teaspoon of vinegar and one teaspoon of dish soap.
  3. Sprinkle in a small amount of glitter.
  4. Close the lid and twist the jar to swirl the water and see a vortex like a tornado form in the center of the jar.

What’s happening?

As you twist the jar, the water inside up against the glass is pulled along due to its friction again the glass walls. The fluid toward the inside takes longer to get moving. But eventually both the glass jar and the fluid are spinning as you rotate the bottle. When you stop rotating the jar, the fluid inside keeps spinning. A mini twister can be seen for just a few seconds when the outer fluid slows down and the inner fluids continue to spin rapidly. Try it again!


Make an informative movie using your iPad explaining how tornadoes form. You will need to include:

  • Your tornado in a jar model
  • Labels explaining what’s happening
  • You may like to insert clips of actual tornado footage

Do your best work!!!!



Watch these clips.!/media/1225120/maasai-fighting-drought



1. What have you learned about droughts as a result of watching this story?
2. Why do you think a drought would be considered a natural disaster?
3. What makes it different from other sorts of disasters like floods and fires?
4. Why do you think a drought would get less attention in the news than other disasters?
5. What two Australian states have areas which are in drought?
6. How were James and his son keeping their sheep alive?
7. How much money is the government giving to farmers?
8. How will it help them to survive the drought?

Remember to include the question in your answer.

Research Activity – use your iPad to research these questions. Write the answers in your English book.

  •   What causes volcanoes?
  •   What effect do volcanoes have on people and the environment?
  •   Where do volcanoes occur?
  •   What is meant by the “ring of fire”?
  •   How dangerous are volcanoes? List some of the hazards.
  •   What is the difference between an active, dormant and extinct volcano?
  •   Why are volcanoes called active even when there is no eruption?
  •   What do plate tectonics have to do with volcanoes?

Check out these videos from Hawaii

How to name a cyclone…!/media/2829805/how-to-name-a-cyclone

Are you on the list?

What can you find out about Cyclone Tracey?


Write your own newspaper report on this tragic event using your Newspaper template on Comic Life.

Flood- Jackie French- Bruce Whatley

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The cattle dog looks out and sniffs the air. At first the rain is a welcome
arrival after the dry spell, and the land looks green again. However the rain
soon becomes too heavy and causes a surge into the river. The river bursts its banks and the water flows into the town, causing a great flood. Everyone is scared as they escape onto roofs and into boats. The flood causes a lot of
destruction to  homes and buildings and even the boardwalk gets swept away
down the swollen river. But there are lots of brave heroes, like the tug boat
that stops the board walk from crashing into the bridge, and the strangers
that wade into the water to rescue people. As the water finally recedes
lots of people came to help with the clean up and to offer food and hope.
Bruce Whatley questions the use of the word ‘heroes’ in the story ‘FLOOD’.
“Are they heroes? They are giants!”
1 Who are the unusual main characters in the story?
2 Why do you think these characters were chosen by the author and illustrator?
3 Who are the giants in the story?
4 Describe their ‘giant’ acts during and after the devastating floods.
 5 Write a glossary for the underlined words in the text.
Create your own Bruce Whatley style illustration.
This may help with the questions about the characters in the story.
The story uses a clever way to connect with different people: it has an animal as a central character, or a narrator. Lots of authors and illustrators useanimals instead of humans because no matter whom we are, we can relate to an animal more easily than a human who might not look like us.
Jackie didn‟t know that Bruce would make a dog the main character, but for Bruce “The dog became the symbol of Australia and the Australian spirit. It became
the eyewitness for us in this particular narrative.” Although the story begins with a terrible event, it takes a more positive turn as people come together to help each other.
Jackie also wanted to celebrate the Australian spirit in a time of great difficulty: “More than 60,000 volunteers helped with the cleanup.
Scholastic resource files

Watch the following BtN story:

Answer the following comprehension questions in your Reading book:

Summarise the story.

1: Where is Mt Ruapehu?

2: Why are eruptions at Mt Ruapehu particularly dangerous?

3: What is the name of the mudflow caused by the eruption?

4: What can trigger the mudflow?

5: How often does Mt Ruapehu erupt?

6: How do scientists monitor the volcano’s activity?

7: What is seismic monitoring?

8: A flow that starts at the top of the mountain can be _________ bigger by the time it reaches the volcano’s base.

9: Name 3 facts you have learnt from this BtN story.


Extension Activity:

Draw a cross section of a volcano showing the following features:

crater, magma, chamber, lava flow, ash cloud, vent, dike, sill, mantile


Wild Weather

Click on the link below and watch the BTN story ‘Wild Weather’ then answer the questions below in your English book.

You might like to use these links to further develop your answers.

Bureau of Meteorology – Climate Zones Australia

Bureau of Meteorology – About Tropical Cyclones

Behind the News – Wild Weather

ABC News – Oswald creates weather chaos in Queensland (photos)

ABC Catalyst – Taking our temperature

CSIRO – Extreme Events

NSW Education and Communities – Under the Microscope: Climate Change

Focus Questions:
1. Summarise the Wild Weather story.

2. What Australian states have recently been hit with extreme weather?

3. What types of extreme weather did these parts of Australia experience?

4. What is the name of the ex-tropical cyclone that recently hit the coast of Queensland?

5. Due to flooding, thousands of people in Bundaberg recently had to ___________ their homes.

6. In the BtN story, Sarah wanted to find out why we are getting all this wild weather so she visited the Bureau of:
a. Meteorology       b. Archaeology         c. Astronomy

7. Why would you normally see more cyclones in summer?

8. What factors can increase the severity of a bushfire?

9. How did this story make you feel?

Natural Disasters

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Click on the link below and watch the BtN story. Then you need to complete the focus questions in your language book. Remember to either write the question AND the answer or the question IN the answer.

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