In New Zealand, I had one of the most breathtaking experiences when visiting the White Island or Whakatane. It is an active cone volcano. The tour to White Island takes place only when the seismic activity on the island is under control. Our tour guide was worried about the high seismic activity the day before our tour. It was only the next morning that our trip was confirmed. When we reached the tour office, we boarded the boat. The ride to the island was an hour and a half at 25 knots. When nearing the island, we could see the smoke and steam clouds created by the volcano. We also saw dolphins on the way. They were so close that if I jumped off, I would land on one of them. Not that I tried! Before stepping on to the island we scouted the perimeter to make sure it was safe. We were equipped with a gas mask for the smoke, a hard hat in case of landslides and a life jacket for the inflatable boat journey.

Before we started our exploration, we were given a safety briefing about what to do in case of a sudden eruption. We had to stay on the exact path the guide took in order to make sure no one fell into scalding pits of mud. On the way to the main crater, we saw glittering crystals, roaring fumaroles and burning pools of acid. There were yellows mounds of sulphur deposit all around us. After that reached the main crater It was a sight never to be forgotten. One could see the crater lake as black as the night sky. The crater lake was made up of highly acidic substance and was very hot. We were asked to maintain a safe distance from it. We saw two streams of water that were quite acidic. One was cold while the other hot. We conducted an experiment by sticking a copper coin in the water. It started sparkling as the acid had cleaned and polished it! We were told that this island was discovered by James Cook in 1769. In the 1950’s, the locals established a sulphur factory which prospered for a few years but demolished in an eruption.The only survivor was Peter, their cat. He is now a Kiwi icon and a hero. On our way back to the mainland, we got to see seals. It was an unforgettable experience.



The making of India – an expert visit

In the unit ‘’How We Organize Ourselves’’, grade 5 learnt about the government via an expert visit by Mr Manish Sabharwal. We discussed the impact of the British rule on India where he spoke about the famous freedom fighters like Mahatma Gandhi, Vallabhbhai Patel, Subash Chandra Bose and how they contributed to India’s independence.We learnt about the key events during the freedom struggle– the Dandi March, the Bengal Famine, the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre, Quit India Movement, and most importantly the constituent assembly. We understood how it took 300 people and 3 years to frame the Indian constitution that is unbiased towards any particular religion, gender, or caste. Adopted on 26th January, 1950, the judicial branch of the government makes sure that laws are not violated or actions are taken as per the seriousness of the offence. Lastly, we talked about the type of government that India follows. Democracy is the best kind of government as it is a fair and just way of choosing the ruler. Every citizen has a say on various matters and problems are solved fairly without force. There are other kinds of government as well, such as dictatorship (rule by force), monarchy (ruled by a king or queen), oligarchy (rule by few) and theocracy (rule by god). All countries which have a healthy economy are democratic. A great learning experience!


Tipu Sultan: The tiger

Tipu Sultan was the king of Mysore, and was almost like a tiger himself. Did you know he owned four tigers?! He won two wars out of four– the first and the third. The second and the fourth Britishers won. Tipu Sultan built a throne for himself which had it’s eight sides covered with gold and gems. He promised himself that if he defeats the British in the fourth war, he will sit on it. But sadly he died and the British melted the throne. They sold pieces of it later.I had a lot of fun seeing Tipu’s Bangalore palace and want to see Mysore palace too.



3…2…1…blast off! India’s first lunar expedition since 2008 has begun with a successful launch from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre on July 22, rising off the pad atop a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk III) rocket. The primary objective of this mission is to demonstrate the ability to soft land on the lunar surface, followed by the operation of a robotic rover on the surface. Originally set to launch on July 15, the Chandrayaan-2 mission suffered a week of postponement due to a technical glitch that arose less than an hour before liftoff, as reported by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The Chandrayaan 2 consists of three vehicles: an orbiter, a lander called Vikram and a small rover named Pragyan. According to its flight plan, Chandrayaan-2 is to orbit around the moon with gradual descent over a period of four weeks, after which the Vikram Lander is to separate from the orbiter and touch down on the southern region of the moon following a four day maintenance of its orbit after separation. If the mission is conducted successfully, India will earn the title of the first country ever to land on the south pole of the moon, along with becoming the fourth country to achieve a soft-landing on the lunar surface. “It is the beginning of a historical journey of India towards the moon and to land at a place near the south pole, to carry out scientific experiments, to explore the unexplored,” says K.Sivan, Chairman of the ISRO. Lander Vikram is scheduled to touch down on the moon’s surface by the 6th of September, till which day we can only pray for the continued success of this mission!



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