How to use this site    About Us    Submissions    Feedback    Donate    Links - School Assemblies for every season for everyone

Decorative image - Primary

Email Twitter Facebook


Getting on and falling out

To demonstrate the ‘knock-on’ effect of a fall-out (SEAL theme 2: Getting on and falling out).

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Key Stage 1


To demonstrate the ‘knock-on’ effect of a fall-out (SEAL theme 2: Getting on and falling out).

Preparation and materials

  • Be familiar with the story (see section 1).
  • Images of Eyjafjallajökull volcano and ash clouds (March 2010).
  • (Optional) Set up a ‘domino run’ so that when one domino is tipped they all fall over.


  1. Tell the following story.

    Once upon a time there was an island, quite a big island really, actually, big enough to be called a country. On this island lived a whole variety of people and animals and things, fairly happily for the most part. The land was remote from the rest of the world and so the people lived peacefully with one another and with their environment. The land was green and fertile, except in the winter when cold winds blew across the hills, and the vast open plains were covered in snow. The people were used to the winters. They just stayed inside their warm cosy homes, and read and talked and knitted and sang.

    In the summer the men would go out fishing, the cattle would be let out to graze and tourists would arrive. The seabirds nested on the cliffs, the hot geysers spouted up their warm showers, delighting the tourists . . . and the volcano rumbled deep, deep down beneath the earth’s surface.

    VOLCANO, did you say?’

    Oh yes, I forgot to mention the volcano. I suppose that’s because I didn’t realize that this country – Iceland, its name is – had any volcanoes until just this last year. Well, did you? After all, when people mentioned Iceland to you before this year, was ‘volcano’ the first thing that came to your mind? Or was it hot geysers, Scandinavian-type houses, land of the midnight sun, Icelandic jumpers?

    You see, everything in Iceland had been going on pretty smoothly, quite hunky-dorily, in fact, until that day in March 2010, when POW!, the Eyjafjallajökull erupted. Can you even say the word? (Practise together.)

    We’ll call him Eyjaf for short.

    Now Eyjaf’s problem was quite a common one, really, one that maybe you and I have suffered from at some time in our lives. He was simply being ignored. Nobody had even heard of Eyjaf. He was mentioned on a map, fair enough, but tourists didn’t make their way to see him. Bit of a cheek, really, because he was quite a powerful chap. Well, time came when he had just had enough.

    ‘I’ll show them,’ he thought, and the more he thought about the injustice of it all the more angry he got. He fumed and fretted and fretted and fumed, getting hotter under the collar (or surface, in his case) by the minute.

    The final straw was when a whole bunch of twitchers hired boats and planes to come in their hundreds and see a silly little bird. That did it. POW! Eruption! Now everyone in Iceland knew about Eyjafjallajökull! The whole island shook. Bright red, flaming molten lava spurted upwards and thick, black clouds of dust and ash shot in to the sky. Huh! Now Eyjaf was being noticed. Homes and farms had to be boarded up and people and animals had to be moved away from the area. This was more like it.

    Eyjaf hit the local news, then the national news. Quite a stir he caused. He did have a few people coming to visit, but they gave him rather a wide berth, as you can imagine.

    Eyjaf continued to rumble away. He was quite enjoying being angry and causing such a spectacle. The ash cloud from his powerful fire climbed high in the sky, blotting out the lovely blueness and the sun. The birds disappeared, the white fluffy clouds disappeared, even the sun disappeared and everything became grey and dull. The land was covered with a choking stillness, and an unpleasant smell hung over Iceland. The country was in chaos! All planes were grounded. It was not safe for them to fly in case the ash got into their engines. Business executives were stranded, tourists were stranded, food couldn’t get in by air, exports couldn’t get out.

    Then the winds blew the ash clouds south and soon it seemed like the whole world was involved. Well, it was, really! Planes were grounded, first in Scotland, then Ireland, then England, then Europe, then even Africa! News reports from airports such as Heathrow, Amsterdam, Nairobi, showed flight boards with every plane cancelled. Passengers were stranded in airports all over the world. Flight companies lost millions . . . and still Eyjaf grumbled and rumbled and spewed its ash out into the sky. There was nothing that anyone could do. We were all at the mercy of a volcano!
  2. Ask the children which parts of this story are true.

    We do know that the volcano did erupt and the results were far-reaching and problematic for many countries and airline companies and caused distress to hundreds of thousands of people.

    Explain the term ‘knock-on effect’ by likening it to knocking down dominoes. (Demonstrate).
  3. Identify what caused the volcano’s anger in the story.
    Can the children relate to being left out, unnoticed?
    Share experiences of how anger can build up inside and then suddenly burst out.
    Discuss how this affects friendships.
  4. There can be lots of other reasons for falling out with our friends. Usually when we do have a blow-up like the volcano, lots of other things happen as a result. There’s a knock-on effect. Friends can get hurt and walk away; mums or dads can get cross; you can get into worse trouble with teacher. Sometimes the whole day can go wrong! Things don’t always get sorted out right away, either.

    When this happens to us, we’ve learned that there are a lot of things we can do to make the situation better – if we want to!

    Perhaps it would also be useful to remember Eyjaf. Sometimes things just simmer down again and return to normal. Sometimes it’s just life and these things happen to everyone – even volcanoes!

Time for reflection

(Show some images of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano and ash clouds.)

In the story it was because Eyjaf was being unnoticed that he exploded.

What causes you to explode?

How can you prevent it?

Dear God, thank you that most of the time
I get on well with my family and friends.
Help me to understand what causes fall-outs
and to see the knock-on effects these have.
Help me to be willing to put things right quickly.


‘I will bring to you the best gift’ (Come and Praise, 59)

Publication date: October 2011   (Vol.13 No.10)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
Print this page