Monday, 28 January 2013

Geological time - sorting out Earth events

The latest Earthlearningidea is 'How long does it take? - quick to very, very, very slow'.  Some Earth processes are dangerously quick – but some are extremely slow. Help your pupils to understand how the rates of Earth processes differ by cutting out the scale and the cards provided, and fitting the cards in the best places on the scale.
This has been devised as a group activity to promote discussion – so the quality of
discussion is likely to be more important than the ‘right ‘answers.
This is one of the activities in our 'Geological time' category which helps pupils to better understand the enormity of geological time.
It is also our 150th activity!

Monday, 21 January 2013

Earthquakes and art

A sand tracing pendulum, in Washington, USA, produced some very interesting patterns after an earthquake of magnitude 6.8. The smooth curves you can see on the outside are what you normally see when someone sets the pendulum in motion to make a tracing ... without seismic assistance. The earthquake's handiwork is the design in the centre.
The motions caused by the earthquake moving the pendulum's base started small, and the initial tracings were overwritten as the strength of the ground's motion increased. Once everything started to slow down after the shaking stopped, the pendulum slowed to a stop, gradually "writing" the pattern in tighter circles as it moved back to its natural centre. If you look at it closely, you can see that the pendulum was apparently centreing in one spot, and then moved a final time to come to rest in a slightly different location. This may be explained by last minute settling in the ground.
It's interesting to think that such a massive and very destructive release of energy can also contain such delicate artistry within its chaos. 
You could use this image to lead into a discussion about earthquakes and then try some of the following ELIs:-
- Earthquake prediction - when will the earthquake strike?
- Earthquake through the window - what would you see, what would you feel?
- Geobattleships (ELI+)
- Quake shake - will my home collapse?
- Shaken but not stirred?
- Surviving an earthquake
- Waves in the Earth 1: the slinky simulation (ELI+)
- Waves in the Earth 2: human molecules (ELI+)

Monday, 14 January 2013

How many for a million?

We can easily talk about a million years – but how can we give pupils an idea of how vast 1,000,000 actually is? Try our latest ELI 'How many for a million? How many sheets of graph paper for 1 million, or a 100 million, or a 1000 million?' Calculations to help pupils to visualise the enormity of a million years, and then 1000 million years.
There are other activities in this Geological time category. 

Monday, 7 January 2013

Forensic geoscience

Have you tried 'Innocent until proven guilty; using forensic geoscience to solve the crime'? This activity can be included in any lesson where problem-solving skills are required. It is adaptable to local conditions - local samples of soil, sand or rocks can be used. Also local suspects e.g. the teacher, can be used!
This is one of many practical Earthlearningideas available for free download from our website.