Monday, 27 July 2015

The mineral foundations of everyday life

The Earthlearningidea 'The mineral foundations of everyday life' involves a matching exercise, where pupils are asked to match photographs of everyday objects with photographs of the minerals from which they are manufactured.

This activity can be used in a variety of circumstances, e.g. in revision of a minerals topic by relating photographs to some minerals which pupils have already encountered. It could feature in a geology lesson, or in discussion of the
mineral wealth of a country.
There are many more activities about minerals on our website; the search facility will find them for you.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Weathering limestone - with my own breath!

Today's new ELI is 'Weathering limestone – with my own breath! - a classroom demonstration of how limestone is weathered'
This is a pupil activity, or a demonstration, involving blowing into neutral water to produce a weak carbonic acid. Powdered limestone is added to neutralise the acid, as a quick-acting laboratory example of how limestone is weathered by rain (a weak carbonic acid) in the natural world.
Lots of activities to do with weathering can be found in the list of 'Activities related to the new ELI' on our website.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

How fast am I travelling (due to Earth's spin and Earth's orbit)?

'A screaming roller coaster; how fast am I travelling (due to Earth's spin and Earth's orbit)?'


After the class roller-coaster experience, ask your pupils ‘Why were we acting like this?’ The answer is that you are all travelling very fast towards the East - due to the spin of the Earth. If you are on the Equator you are travelling at 1,674.4 km/h. To calculate how fast you’re travelling at your latitude, multiply
1,674.4 km/h by the cosine of your latitude – for example, the speed in London is: 1,674.4 x cos 51.5 = 1,042 km/h (647 miles per hour!)
Work out how fast you are travelling at your latitude.
Lots more teaching ideas can be found on our website.

Monday, 6 July 2015

'Tag' a carbon atom - and explore the carbon cycle

Just published - 'Tag' a carbon atom - and explore the carbon cycle; a thought experiment to investigate carbon cycle processes.


This activity asks pupils to ‘visualise’ stages of the carbon cycle by ‘following’ a ‘tagged’ carbon atom.
Visualising the movement of a carbon atom through various elements of the carbon cycle involves creativity and imagination as well as the use of bridging skills to apply the carbon cycle diagram to reality.
There are lots more carbon-related ELIs on our website.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Popular ELI in June - Space survival

A popular ELI in June was 'Space survival: How could we survive a year in a dome? Pupils plan to survive for a year in a sealed dome in a desert'.

What will they take with them? They can order whatever they want but think about the following questions:-
• What are you going to breathe?
• What are you going to drink? How will you collect fresh water?
• What are you going to eat? Will you be vegetarian? If not, how will you get meat?
• What is your likely water/oxygen/food consumption per day?
• How will you dispose of waste?
• What energy source will you use? How will you use it?
• How will you produce power?
• How will you control temperature?
• What will your medical requirements be?
• What are you going to do when you get there? Who will do which jobs?
• What else will you need to consider?
Pupils soon discover that they need to know the water, carbon and nitrogen cycles and how to manage people!
This is an excellent end-of-term activity.
Many more ideas can be found on our website.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Make your own rain

Have you tried the ELI 'Mini-world water cycle; a water cycle demonstration model in a box'?

Make a sandy ‘beach’ in the box and add the shallow ‘sea’. Switch on the lamp (‘Sun’) and wait for a few minutes for the water to become warm (or ‘cheat’ by adding warm water from the kettle). Add the freezer pack to cause the effect of cooling air which will form ‘clouds’. After a time, the water droplets that condense on the underside of the box lid beneath the cool ‘clouds’ grow, and fall to the beach as ‘rain’.
This is one of many 'watery ELIs; other ideas can be found on the website in Teaching strategies.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Why is the fossil record incomplete? Survival of the toughest

The new ELI published today is 'Shell shake - survival of the toughest; why is the fossil record incomplete?'
In this activity, pupils deliberately smash a variety of seashells to see which ones are strong enough to remain recognisable, and which ones are so weak that they would leave little or no evidence of their existence. This leads pupils to realise that the fossil record is often biased.
This is one of the many Earthlearningideas about fossils and erosion; search our website for more.