Monday, 25 August 2014

Modelling how the energy of seismic waves is transmitted

The ELI 'Merry waves - all year round' models how the energy of seismic waves is transmitted. It demonstrates how the vibration of particles by the propagation of pressure waves does not cause noticeable displacement of mass.
 Pupils can find it difficult to visualise how energy can be transferred through a material as a wave without noticeable displacement of mass. Many people also think that all waves involve movement of mass – thinking, for example, that the movement of a tsunami wave across the ocean involves movement of masses of water sideways, in the same way as they have seen waves moving across a beach.
Such misconceptions may be related to some models used to show propagation of seismic waves. For example, models using ropes and springs clearly show backwards and forwards movement (for P-waves) or sideways movement (for S-waves) of the mass of material, whereas they are actually modelling the movement of molecules, not the whole mass of the material. This distinction is often not stressed to pupils.
Many more ideas can be found on our website.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Water pressure - underground

The new ELI published today is 'Water pressure underground; demonstrating how hydrostatic pressure increases with depth'. Pupils will be able to describe how the pressure of water increases with depth and also to explain how flow rates can be measured and compared.
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Monday, 11 August 2014

Banana benders - simulate geological structures

Next time you eat a banana, try this first, 'Banana benders; using a banana to simulate geological structures'.
Bananas are commonly available, linear bars of material which deform readily and repeatedly to produce a whole series of natural fold and fault structures. They can be deformed at room temperature and will yield varying responses depending upon age and ripeness, but consistent results will be obtained.
Visit our website for lots more innovative ideas for teaching Earth science.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Calculating the intense pressures underground

The new Earthlearningidea published today is an ELI+ 'Under pressure; calculating the intense pressures underground'. This activity uses lab measurements of the force applied by different depths of sand and water to calculate their downward pressure and then uses these figures to extrapolate to likely pressures at crustal depths.
Try our website for lots more innovative ways of teaching Earth science.