Monday, 1 September 2014

Latitude and its affect on solar radiation

The latest ELI is 'Hot or not? - investigating how latitude affects the amount of solar radiation received'. After doing the activity, pupils will be able to:-
• explain that the rays of the Sun will be most intense and so the surface of the Earth will be hottest when the Sun’s rays apparently come from directly overhead;
• explain that as the Sun’s rays move away from overhead, they become less intense because they are spread over a larger area;
• realise that as the tilted Earth moves around the Sun, only twice is the Sun overhead at the Equator, i.e. on March 21st and September 21st;
• realise that the Northern Hemisphere summer occurs when the Sun is overhead at the Tropic of Cancer on June 21st and that the Northern Hemisphere winter when the Sun is overhead at the Tropic of Capricorn on December 21st.
This activity could be used in science or geography lessons dealing with the seasons. As a lead-in activity, try 'Screaming roller coaster'. This ELI will be followed soon by 'The seasons: an indoor demonstration of the seasons' and' Earth on Earth: using a globe in the sunshine to show how day/night and the seasons work'. If you need these activities before they are published on our website, then please contact us.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Modelling how the energy of seismic waves is transmitted

The ELI 'Merry waves - all year round' models how the energy of seismic waves is transmitted. It demonstrates how the vibration of particles by the propagation of pressure waves does not cause noticeable displacement of mass.
 Pupils can find it difficult to visualise how energy can be transferred through a material as a wave without noticeable displacement of mass. Many people also think that all waves involve movement of mass – thinking, for example, that the movement of a tsunami wave across the ocean involves movement of masses of water sideways, in the same way as they have seen waves moving across a beach.
Such misconceptions may be related to some models used to show propagation of seismic waves. For example, models using ropes and springs clearly show backwards and forwards movement (for P-waves) or sideways movement (for S-waves) of the mass of material, whereas they are actually modelling the movement of molecules, not the whole mass of the material. This distinction is often not stressed to pupils.
Many more ideas can be found on our website.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Water pressure - underground

The new ELI published today is 'Water pressure underground; demonstrating how hydrostatic pressure increases with depth'. Pupils will be able to describe how the pressure of water increases with depth and also to explain how flow rates can be measured and compared.
Visit our website for more Earth science teaching ideas.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Banana benders - simulate geological structures

Next time you eat a banana, try this first, 'Banana benders; using a banana to simulate geological structures'.
Bananas are commonly available, linear bars of material which deform readily and repeatedly to produce a whole series of natural fold and fault structures. They can be deformed at room temperature and will yield varying responses depending upon age and ripeness, but consistent results will be obtained.
Visit our website for lots more innovative ideas for teaching Earth science.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Calculating the intense pressures underground

The new Earthlearningidea published today is an ELI+ 'Under pressure; calculating the intense pressures underground'. This activity uses lab measurements of the force applied by different depths of sand and water to calculate their downward pressure and then uses these figures to extrapolate to likely pressures at crustal depths.
Try our website for lots more innovative ways of teaching Earth science.

Monday, 28 July 2014


Earthlearningidea is moving to a new and more powerful server.
The content is identical.
The main entry point remains
Some users are accessing the old site with direct links to the pdf downloads.
Please will these users update their links and bookmarks as the old server will be turned off in about one week's time.

How do we know how extinct animals lived?

The ELI 'Curious creatures' uses fossil and modern evidence to work out the lifestyles of extinct animals. Pupils try to compare the features of animals today with
those of fossils. All of the creatures in the drawing above, lived in the sea about 515
million years ago before there were any plants or animals on land.
This is one of many activities to be found in the Evolution of Life category on our website.