Monday, 28 January 2008

The Himalayas in 30 seconds!

How can this fossil of an extinct creature which lived and died in the sea, be found in rocks 5000m high in the Himalayan mountains? Find out by trying our latest Earthlearningidea 'The Himalayas in 30 seconds!' (click here).

This activity not only explains the formation of fold mountain ranges but could be used to extend a physics lesson on forces or to aid understanding the ways in which the Earth's surface features affect weather systems such as the monsoon, in geography.
Please try it out and let us have your comments and suggestions.


An Earthlearningidea subscriber said...

I have just subscribed to your website - looks excellent. I had a look at Himalayas in 30 seconds and noticed the picture at Gunwalloe Church Cove that is used to illustrate process. I don't know if you know that the feature no longer exists due to mass movement. I visited last spring and found the feature I had seen on numerous occasions was missing! Unfortunately for some unknown reason I did not take a photograph of it. The rock slid along the thrust plane so the recumbent fold is missing! Just shows that things you think are permanent are not!

Alan, UK said...

I suggest that users access the website below which has plate tectonic animations and these can be used to show how the Tethys Ocean closed and the Himalayas were formed and link it in with the model and the picture in the presentation on your website.

Wei Hsiu from Taiwan said...

After reviewing this activity, I think that this activity is very interesting to pupils. The Himalayas in 30 seconds may be a magical view to younger pupils. But I think it might need to add some extended activities which can make pupils thinks more and get more abilities about inquiring science to older pupils.
I suggest some extended activities as below.
1. Teachers show the pictures of the layers of rocks and fold and give the model of this activity to students. Ask students to operate this modal to try to find out what kind of force may create the structure of folds and faulted.
2. The actual layers of rocks are hard. In this activity, we use layers of sand. The sand is not dense. The actual layers of rocks are in the ocean and we use layers of dry sand in this activity. Teacher can ask pupils to improve this activity. Let this activity more like actual model .
Thank you for sharing this earth learning idea. It is useful to teachers and pupils.

Earth Learning Idea said...

Thank you for your comment Wei Hsiu. We have added your suggestions to our extension ideas. These can be viewed at http://earthlearningidea.pbwiki.

Claire said...

I recently observed a fantastic A level geology lesson aimed at summarising geological mapping, recognising strutures etc. It illustrated a fun but very clever way of modeling in 3D to help the visualisation and understanding of a concept that can be tricky for some to get their heads around!
The teacher used a selection of cakes (food is always a good way of getting pupils' attention!). They should be of the layerd variety i.e. swiss rolls (chocolate and jam), angel layer cake etc. Cakes are piled on a table with pupils sitting around. The cakes can then be used to demonstrate various structures by slicing them and arranging in different ways. For example: Slice the swiss roll lengthwise and place one half upside down (antiform) and one half flat side up (synform).
Use the horizontally layered cakes to slice at an angle and offset to illustrate faulting. Blocks could be used underneath the cakes to raise one side of the faulted "strata". Push each side together to show folding.
Any combination of structures could be combined to show the complexity of structures. When several have been amalgamated, slice the top off horizontally to show the "bird's eye view" as on a geological map. Of course, the side view is visible at the same time to show the complete 3D picture.

Anyway, the possibilities are endless and the pupils can eat the cakes as they are trimmed which is very popular.

(Credit goes to Fraser Smith at John Kyrle High School for this brilliant lesson).

Another good way of illustrating folds is to use bananas (without their skins of course)as they have just the right consistency.

ilkiepie45 said...

Nice model! This helps to demonstrate how mountains form without the use of computers - very nicely done!