Monday, 29 July 2013

Rocks from the big screen

Today's new Earthlearningidea involves indoor preparation for outdoor field work, 'Rocks from the big screen'. Use the suggestions in this activity to prepare pupils for an outdoor visit to a rock exposure in your own locality. If projection equipment and a large screen are available, project a photograph of a rock face (as shown above, or use one of your own). Ask pupils to pretend that they are looking at the actual rock face. Place some appropriate rock specimens on the floor below the screen, as though they had fallen from the rock face. The pupils now identify the pieces of rock, draw a scaled diagram (field sketch) of the photo and then work out the geological history.
Further details of this activity are available by downloading the free pdf.
Visit out website's homepage to see other activities related to this ELI.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Modelling processes where two plates move apart

An extremely popular activity to demonstrate processes happening at constructive (divergent) plate margins is 'A "mantle plume" in a beaker'.  This Earthlearningidea investigates what happens when a viscous material (syrup) is heated and rises, with the resultant moving apart of floating objects (broken biscuit) above it. This can be related to a rising plume of hot material beneath a constructive plate margin.
This is one of many plate tectonics activities available to download free from our website.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Modelling eclipses of the Moon and the Sun

The new Earthlearningidea models eclipses of the Moon and the Sun with a ball, lollipops and a bright light - 'Eclipse the lollipop'. This activity explains that an eclipse of the Moon occurs when the shadow of the Earth falls on the Moon so that
it becomes dark. It also explains that an eclipse of the Sun occurs when the Moon comes between the Earth and the Sun, covering up the Sun, as seen from Earth.
It is one of a series of activities about the Moon that can be found on our website.

Monday, 8 July 2013

The continental jigsaw puzzle

Can you reassemble a super-continent from a 'jigsaw puzzle'? In this ELI, the teacher introduces the idea that the continents have not  always been in their present positions by asking  pupils to look for the apparent match in the  coastlines of Africa and South America. (If a globe  is available, this will reduce any distortion from the  representation of the continents on a flat atlas  page). 
Ask what evidence pupils would look for which might demonstrate that the continents once really had been together, rather than the match being a  mere coincidence. (Pupils might suggest: fossils  of comparable land animals that could not have swum across an ocean; rocks of the same type and age that match; fold belts which seem to stop at the coast, only to appear again on the other side of the intervening ocean; evidence of ancient climates, such as red desert beds or rocks formed in tropical forest environments, etc.).
The jigsaw puzzles are supplied with the activity. 

This is one of many activities about plate tectonics on our website - all free to download.

Monday, 1 July 2013

ELI has reached 1 million downloads!

The ELI team is celebrating! By the end of June, over one million activities had been downloaded from the website!

Also, we have published a new activity in our soils series today - 'Soil layers puzzle; make your own soil profile and investigate others'.

Pupils are given a jumbled set of seven cards cut from the diagram above. Once they have worked out what an idealised soil profile looks like, they compare it with ones outside or ones shown in photographs. They are encouraged to try to work out why soil profiles differ and what factors are involved in causing those differences.
This is one of over 160 Earth-related teaching ideas which are FREE to download from our website.