Teaching the Explore

Ask pupils to write any questions they have about islands on post-it notes so that they can be answered throughout the theme. Ensure that pupils have opportunities to explore and answer these questions.

What is an island?

Pupils discuss what they think an island is and make a list of related vocabulary.

Explain that an island is a body of land surrounded by water. Each island is unique in terms of its size and shape: some are small, and some are vast! They are made from different things, such as sand, rock and coral. Find out which islands the pupils already know about.

  1. Do they know the names of any islands?
  2. Can they find them on a world map?
  3. Which countries are they near?
  4. Have they visited any of the islands?

Go through some of the vocabulary that they might have come up with and their definitions.
Make explicit links to Year 3 Rocks and Fossils science topic. Pupils should be aware of properties of sand and rock. Links to Year 3 Ocean Blues theme (formation of coral).

Have a world map displayed ready for pupils to refer to. Ask whether they can spot the island on the map and pinpoint it. They could use post-it notes for this.

What is an archipelago?

Explain that an archipelago is a group or chain of islands. Give them examples such as The Galápagos Islands, The Bahamas, The Canary Islands. Ask:

  • Have they heard of these archipelagos before?
  • Can they find them on the map on their worksheets?
  • Can they name five of the islands within each of the archipelagos?
  • Can they name any countries that the archipelagos are near?
  • Can they think of archipelago nearer to home? (The British Isles is an archipelago.)

How are islands formed?

Explain that there are many ways in which islands are formed. There are six different types of islands, all formed differently:

  • Continental
  • Tidal
  • Barrier
  • Oceanic
  • Coral
  • Artificial

The Explore slides go through each type of island formation and include examples.

What are some fascinating island facts?

Explore some island facts with pupils, such as:

  • The biggest is Greenland (North America): 2,166,086 square kilometres.
  • The oldest is Madagascar (Southern Africa): roughly 88 million years old!
  • The most densely populated is Santa Cruz del Islote (South America): 500 people live in 125 houses on the island, which is the size of a football field. You could show pupils the following video about this island and ask the questions on the Explore slide.

Main task

Using a variety of resources, such as books, atlases and the internet, pupils find five key facts about four islands of their choice. They create ‘top trump’-style cards to display the information. The information that they need to find is:

  • Population size
  • Land area (in square km)
  • Location
  • Flag
  • An amazing fact!

Refer pupils to the links on the slide to help them find information:

Assess, reflect, connect

Assess the pupils’ understanding by asking them to do the following.

  1. Name 10 islands of the world.
  2. Using one of the types of island below, explain how an island can be formed.
    Continental, Tidal, Barrier, Oceanic, Coral, Artificial

Revisit the questions pupils had at the beginning of the Explore. Have they answered any? What questions do they still have? Are there any new questions?

Thematic maths opportunity

Find and compare the size of the identified islands by both population numbers, distance from the UK and size in square kilometres.