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Elements

To focus on the power of the elements, and humankind's insignificance against the forces of nature

by Kate Fleming

Suitable for Key Stage 2

Aims

To focus on the power of the elements, and humankind's insignificance against the forces of nature.

Preparation and materials

  • Map of the world or a globe, with pointer (optional).
  • Prepare a Year 6 child or children to read the weather report (see 1. below) and point out countries on the map/globe, as on TV. Split the reading between a number of children if you can. You may need to change some details to make them more relevant.

Assembly

  1. Begin the assembly by saying something like: Now we're going straight over to the weather centre for the latest report. A child, as presenter, reads:

    Here is the world weather report. Conditions have worsened in Mozambique where rising flood waters continue to hamper the rescue operation, and hundreds of people have been made homeless. The torrential rain has stopped, but more rain is forecast over the next 24 hours making the situation even more critical.

    Hundreds of miles north of Mozambique, but still in Africa, lack of water poses equally serious problems for the people of the Sudan. Drought and soaring temperatures make it impossible for people even to move from their homes and water is the most precious commodity. Desert travellers struggle to find their way through the fiercely hot swirling sandstorms.

    This morning the residents of the Florida coastline are working out the cost of Hurricane Harry, which created havoc as it struck late last night. Its mighty power uprooted trees, tore off roofs of houses, in some cases wrecking the whole building, and overturned cars as if they were made of paper. Floridians watched helplessly as 100 mph gale force winds and raging seas tore through communities on a terrifying path of destruction. Many people are feared dead, but the final toll will not be known for a few days. Now back to the studio.

  2. Explain that it sounds from the world weather report that there are some places in the world where people are really suffering because of the weather. Ask the children, what kind of weather do we have here today? Wet? Windy? Sunny? Cold? Cloudy? Foggy?

  3. Ask the children, can we order the kind of weather we would like? That would be a great help to us. We could have:

    Sunshine for picnics.
    Snow for tobogganing and snow boarding.
    Wind for kite flying.
    Rain for newly planted seeds in the garden.
    Fog for - what? What would we order fog for?

    BUT WE CAN'T CHOOSE, we have to take what each morning brings for us, and deal with it as best we can.
    We put up umbrellas when it rains.
    We put on warm clothes when it's cold.
    We drink cool drinks and plunge into swimming pools when it's hot.
    We turn on the central heating and put logs on the fire.
    We turn on the air conditioning and the electric fans.
    We don't go out in boats when the sea is too rough.

    Sometimes, though, the might of the elements - torrential rain, gale force winds, thunder storms, freezing cold, blistering heat, hurricanes, tornadoes - shows us how powerful Nature is and we can only wonder at its strength and fight to survive, when the powerful forces strike.

Time for reflection

Dear God,
We say thank you for the wonders of Nature,
the power and might of storms,
expanses of freezing snow,
and the blistering heat of the desert.
Help us to appreciate our climate and to enjoy the changing seasons.
We think of those who live in constant danger due to the forces of Nature,
and hope that they can live in harmony with and in safety from the elements.
Help us to do what we can for other people when disasters strike.
Amen.

Song/music

'For the beauty of the earth' (Come and Praise, 11)

Publication date: June 2003   (Vol.5 No.6)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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