Monday, 5 October 2015

Playground planets - solar system to scale

'Playground planets' models the relative sizes of the planets and their distances from the Sun.
One of our readers has sent us a video clip which puts the distances into perspective. Click here to view.

Others ideas can be seen in the extension to this activity.
More 'Earth in Space' activities can be found on our website.

Monday, 28 September 2015

Sand on a sill - a rock cycle discussion

The new ELI today is 'Sand on a sill; what will happen to a sand grain left on a window sill? - a rock cycle discussion'
This discussion activity has been devised to encourage pupils to think about rock cycle processes in the context of the area outside their own school. By leading the small group discussion using questions such as: ‘What might happen next?’, ‘And then?’ or ‘Can you think of another idea?’, teachers should be able to encourage pupils to consider a range of different processes and products of the rock cycle and how these link to other Earth cycles.
This Earthlearningidea is an international collaborative research project 
The project derived from a discussion on research into Earth science education at the International Geoscience Education Organisation conference, GeoSciEd VII, in Hyderabad, India in 2014.
Please take part in this project by filling in the Observer Evaluation sheet and returning it to the Earthlearningidea Team. You may also find the Group Prompt sheet helpful

Monday, 21 September 2015

Ripple marks on paving slabs?

Have you every wondered what caused the ripple marks you can often see on paving slabs? Try the Earthlearningidea 'Sand ripple marks in a washbowl'. You can now demonstrate this out of doors by using an empty CD container, as shown in this extension idea.

There are lots more ideas for teaching Earth science outside the classroom on our website.

Monday, 14 September 2015

How do you conserve a geodiversity site?

Today's new Earthlearningidea is 'So, you want to conserve a geodiversity site?' 

If you found the most amazing geological site, like one of those shown in the photos, and thought it should be conserved for all to see, for many years to come, what could you do? This is a planning activity focussed on conserving a site of geoscientific importance.
After doing this activity pupils can:
- explain why a geological site is valuable and important;
- describe the different factors that need to be taken into account to preserve a geodiversity site;
- prepare a case to be presented to others arguing for the conservation of a geological site.
Many more teaching ideas about the environment can be found in Teaching strategies on the website.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Demonstrate the water cycle, latent heat and global energy transfer

'Cycling water and heat in the lab – and the globe; demonstrating the water cycle, latent heat and global energy transfer'

This ELI is a laboratory demonstration of the water cycle that can be used to develop thinking skills and to understand latent heat transfer and its global effects.
This is the last in a series about the water cycle; other ELIs can be found under 'Watery activities in Teaching strategies on the website.

Monday, 31 August 2015

What drives the plates?

The new ELI today is 'What drives the plates? - using a pupil model to demonstrate that slab pull is the main plate-driving force'

Recent evidence has shown that the traditional view of mantle convection being the main driving force in lithospheric plate movement is probably incorrect. If it were the main driving force, then plates with the largest surface area would move fastest because they would have the largest area on which the mantle convection forces would act – this is not the case. However, those plates that have the longest subducting margins, with geophysical evidence of the deepest subduction slabs, do seem to be moving fastest – which is why this is now considered to be the main driving force. A fourth force that might be important is subduction suction where the old, cold oceanic plate subduction trench migrates towards the oceanic ridge pulling the over-riding plate behind it. Some geophysicists argue that this is an important driver of plate movement.
There are many plate tectonic ELIs on our website.

Monday, 24 August 2015

‘Tagging’ water molecules – to explore the water cycle

Have you tried this thought experiment to investigate the water cycle? "‘Tagging’ water molecules – to explore the water cycle" is one of a series of ELIs about the water cycle.

Pupils carry out a thought experiment to visualise the movement of an imaginary ‘tagged’ bright blue water molecule as it moves through various parts of the water cycle. Molecules can actually be ‘tagged’ and traced using radioactive isotopes, so the principle is used – if not the bright blue colour.
There are five Earthlearningidea Water Cycle activities and they demonstrate pupils' progression of thinking skills. They can be found in the index on the website under 'Water cycle'.