Monday, 16 September 2019

Journey to the centre of the Earth – on a toilet roll

'Journey to the centre of the Earth – on a toilet roll: just how thin is the crust we live on?'


We seldom stop to consider the true scale of many features of the Earth. This activity aims to enable pupils to visualise the thickness of the crust in relation to the rest of the Earth. It also helps them to appreciate the difference in depth between the oceanic crust and the continental crust. It introduces the terms ‘lithosphere’ and‘asthenosphere’ to help in understanding plate tectonic theory.
Visit our website for other related teaching ideas.


Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Does sea level change when floating sea ice melts?

The new ELI today is 'Melting ice and sea level change 1 – sea ice: does sea level change when floating sea ice melts?'


This activity investigates the impact on water levels of allowing floating ice to melt. There is much misunderstanding of the impact on world sea level of melting sea ice, which this simple activity should dispel.
Many more activities about climate change and the changing state of ice can be found on our website.

Monday, 2 September 2019

Pressures underground

From our ELI+ series - '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.
Many more ELI+ activities can be found on our website.

Monday, 26 August 2019

Recreating the rocks – step by step

The new ELI today is 'Recreating the rocks – step by step: simulating a dipping sedimentary rock sequence though a sequence of Earthlearningideas'.


This teaching strategy can be carried out in the field in front of a dipping sedimentary sequence or in the classroom with an image of such a sequence on a screen. It helps pupils to understand step by step the creation of the sedimentary rocks they can see.
Many more inspirational ideas about how to teach about the landscape around us can be found on our website either by using the alphabetical index or the search engine.

Monday, 19 August 2019

Developing a strategy for evaluating the environment

'Environmental evaluation; developing a strategy for evaluating the environment'


In this activity, pupils are given a scale to use in environmental evaluation, and then asked to apply this scale to different environmental circumstances, that can range from a local small environment to a panoramic view. The objective of the activity is to develop an evaluative approach to environments of all types, which pupils can apply wherever they are in the future.
Many other activities relating to field work and the enironment can be found on our website.


Monday, 12 August 2019

The Lego (TM) method of showing weathering, erosion, transportation and deposition

Today's new ELI is another in our ELI Early years series:
'The LegoTM method of showing weathering, erosion, transportation and deposition: using LegoTM bricks to demonstrate sedimentary processes'


The activity for young children demonstrates how different rocks break down at different rates. The sedimentary processes of erosion, transportation and deposition are also explored. It is fun to do but, beware, lots of help will be needed to collect the LegoTM bricks at the end!
Many more ideas for teaching Earth science to young children can be found in ELI Early years.

Monday, 5 August 2019

Applying ‘the present is the key to the past’

Applying ‘the present is the key to the past’ This is an on outdoor activity to apply the present to the past - using Earth science-thinking in reverse.



This Earthlearningidea is an outdoor-based thought experiment to show how Earth scientists use evidence from rock sequences to understand past environments.
Many more fieldwork activities can be found on our website by using the search engine or the alphabetical index.

Monday, 29 July 2019

Earth studies and the UN Sustainable Development Goals

The new ELI today - 'Finding the Earth in the UN Sustainable Development Goals: map for yourself the areas where Earth studies are linked to the UN SDGs'

This activity is a mapping exercise to work out where geoscience is an important part of meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
More activities related to the environment can be found on our website in Teaching strategies.

Monday, 22 July 2019

What are trace fossils?

'Trace fossils – burrows or borings; what evidence do living organisms leave behind in rocks?'


This activity invites pupils to apply previously learned observations about the features of modern bivalve shells to the fossil record. Adaptations to different habitats are reflected in the shell structure of bivalves. This understanding is applied to working out what ancient environments were like from the trace fossils left behind by similar organisms.
Many activities related to fossils can be found in the Evolution of Life category on our website.

Monday, 15 July 2019

Rock cycle explained by plate tectonics 2

The new Eli today is 'The deep rock cycle explained by plate tectonics: deformation and metamorphism. A model showing how plate tectonics can explain metamorphism and rock-deformation'.

This activity involves a simple model to show how, as the subduction of plates causes continents to move towards one another (converge), the sediments in between are deformed into mountain chains with roots; the rocks in the root zones become regionally metamorphosed.
Many activities related to the rock cycle, plate tectonics, metamorphism and deformation can be found on our website by searching the alphabetical index of by using the search engine.

Monday, 8 July 2019

Sink holes

'Sink hole! Demonstrate sink hole processes in action'


Sink holes commonly form over limestone bedrock, but also develop where the underlying materials are even more soluble, such as rock salt and gypsum deposits. This classroom activity models the dissolving of underground materials and the impacts this can have at the surface.
Many other innovative teaching ideas can be found on our website.

Monday, 1 July 2019

Rock cycle explained by plate tectonics

The new ELI today is 'The deep rock cycle explained by plate tectonics: lithification'.


A simple model used to show how, as plates carrying continents are moved apart by plate tectonics, the sediments in between sag into a deepening sedimentary basin giving quicker lithification processes.
This activity will be followed by how plate tectonics can explain deformation and metamorphism.
Many activities related to both the rock cycle and to plate tectonics can be found on our website.

Monday, 24 June 2019

Odd bumps on the bases of sedimentary beds

'Sedimentary structures – load casts; interpreting odd bumps on the bases of beds'


The activity is part of a series on sedimentary structures and the ways in which they can be used to interpret past conditions. You can find other related activities by using the search engine or scrolling down in the alphabetical index on our website.

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Sorting, naming and putting rocks into the rock cycle

Today's new ELI is "From ‘Rock detective’ to ‘Laying out the rock cycle’: investigate rocks to sort them into groups, add them to the rock cycle and name them"

This activity uses sorting cards to link two Earthlearningideas together - ‘Rock detective’ and the ‘Laying out the rock cycle'.
By doing this pupils can investigate a range of rocks from first principles, identify and name them and then build understanding of them in a rock cycle context. It helps them to name rocks, not just by recognising them but by using first principles of observation and investigation.
A variety of activities about rock types and the rock cycle can be found on our website by using the alphabetical index.


Monday, 10 June 2019

Sea shells and their habitats

Sea shell survival; how are common sea shells adapted to their habitats?



This activity gives an an introduction to the relationship between the features of shells of bivalves and their habitats. Many marine animals are specially adapted to give them the best chance of survival in their habitats. These adaptations are reflected in their shell structure. This ELI may be used as a prelude to determining ancient environments from the fossil remains or from the traces of similar organisms in rocks.
Many more activities related to fossils and past environments can be found on our website in the 'Evolution of Life' category.



Monday, 3 June 2019

Exploring current flows through straits

Today's new ELI is 'Exploring current flows through straits; testing the L. F. Marsili model of Bosphorus currents (1680)'

This Earthlearningidea models the flow of seawater of different densities through straits, e.g. the Bosphorus. It addresses several concepts within Earth sciences (concentration, density, diffusion) by means of modelling typical of a science investigation, with an example taken from the age of the Scientific Revolution.
Other activities about ocean currents, sea water density and famous scientists can be found on our website either by using the search engine or the alphabetical index.

Monday, 27 May 2019

Ice power

'Ice power; freezing water in a syringe to measure the expansion'



This activity may be used in either science or geography lessons on weathering. It can also be used in discussions of molecular theory and changes of state. For the most accurate measurements, use pure (distilled or de-ionised) water at as near to 4 degrees C as possible.
More innovative ideas of how to teach weathering or glaciation can be found by searching our website.

Monday, 20 May 2019

Mineral or not?

New ELI today is 'Mineral or not? Discussion about what is a mineral and what is not'.

This activity is centred around pictures or samples to enable pupils to distinguish between a mineral in the Earth science sense and other ways in which the term is commonly used. There is much confusion about what the word means.
Many other activities about minerals can be found on our website.

Monday, 13 May 2019

The rock game

‘Rockery 1’ is a rock game in which pupils model the different characteristics of rocks.


This activity helps children to remember the fundamental differences between rock types. Many more activities about rocks can be found on our website.

Monday, 6 May 2019

Minerals or rocks used in everyday objects

The new ELI today is 'What is it made of? Relate each mineral or rock to the everyday object containing it.'


This activity shows the presence of geological resources in many of the things used in our daily lives.
You can find many other ativities about minerals on our website by using the search engine or the alphabetical index.

Monday, 29 April 2019

Sedimentary structures - graded bedding

'Sedimentary structures - graded bedding: make your own graded bed – one depositional event, but with coarse to fine sediment'


This ELI is a teacher demonstration (or a small group activity) showing the origins of graded bedding. It can be used in any lesson dealing with the origin of sediments and the interpretation of past environments.
Our website has many more activities related to sedimentary structures.

Monday, 22 April 2019

When are soft rocks tough, and hard rocks weak?

New ELI today - 'When are soft rocks tough, and hard rocks weak? A discussion about the toughness/resistance of rocks in different places'

The simple idea, which generally holds, of tough rocks forming hills and headlands and weaker rocks, valleys and bays, does not always apply. This activity looks for evidence of when and why it is not always true.
Many activities related to rock resistance can be found on our website.

Monday, 15 April 2019

Bringing a fossil 'back to life'

A popular ELI is 'Running the fossilisation film backwards; bringing a fossil ‘back to life’'


This is a thought experiment, including possible re-enactment, to recreate the likely ‘final moments’ of an animal which later became a fossil. The activity provides examples of how to ‘run the fossilisation film’ backwards to help pupils to visualise what a fossil may have looked and acted like during life and in the few moments before death.
Many more fossil-related activities can be found on our website.

Monday, 8 April 2019

Jelly Babies (TM) and Geological maps

The new ELI today is an ELI+ written for older pupils who are learning about 3D geological maps. 'The sliced Jelly BabiesTM approach to understanding 3D geological maps; use Jelly BabiesTM cut at the dip angle to highlight structures on geological maps'

This activity shows the dip of fold limbs on a geological map using sliced jelly sweets to show bedding plane dips.
Many more activities related to geological maps can be found listed in the alphabetical index or by using the search engine

Monday, 1 April 2019

Choose the power source

'Which power source? – solving the crisis in Kiama: searching for all the power sources that could be developed in a mythical country'


Pupils study a map to find clues to the different energy sources that could be exploited in a mythical country. Possible power sources with some of their advantages and disadvantages are shown in a table provided in the activity.
Many more Earthlearningideas related to power sources can be found on our website.




Monday, 25 March 2019

Greenhouse effect

New ELI today - 'Is the greenhouse effect happening outside today? A classroom discussion to consolidate understanding about the greenhouse effect'.


This activity involves a discussion to reinforce learning and to counter misconceptions about the greenhouse effect.
Earthlearningideas involving climate change can be found in teaching strategies on our website.


Monday, 18 March 2019

Evidence given by dinosaur footprints

'The meeting of the dinosaurs - 100 million years ago; the evidence given by dinosaur footprints'


Fossil tracks, such as footprints, can provide a great deal of evidence about the environment at the time when they were made and about how the animals lived and moved.
Other activities involving dinosaurs can be found on our website.

Monday, 11 March 2019

Catastrophic processes - a discussion of sedimentary beds

The new ELI today is 'If a sedimentary bed were laid down outside now – what would it be like? A discussion of beds and catastrophic processes'

A class discussion to develop the idea of a ‘bed’ of rock and how beds might be deposited catastrophically. The type of bed that could be deposited very much depends on the altitude and character of the area. Both likely and less likely scenarios are described in this ELI..
The activity can be used with any age of pupils or adults.
Many more Earthlearningideas in the Natural Hazards caregory can be found on our website.

Monday, 25 February 2019

Rocks music; create your own instrument

The new Earthlearningidea today continues our cross-curricular theme with 'Rocks music; create your own geo-instrument'

For this activity, the pupils should be able to identify the rocks they use and should be able to say whether they are sedimentary, igneous or metamorphic. This activity fits in well at the end of a topic where pupils can explore other aspects of the subject of study. It encourages creative thought and breaks down barriers pupils may make between scientific subjects and the arts.
Other cross-curricular activities can be found on our website; geo-art, geo-literature and Earthquakes in art. Geo-music will be published later this year.

Monday, 18 February 2019

Rock cycle in wax

'The rock cycle in wax; using a candle to demonstrate the rock cycle processes'

In this ELI a candle is used to demonstrate several rock cycle processes, and is effective in consolidating understanding of the rock cycle at the end of a lesson.
Many activities related to the rock cycle can be found on our website.

Monday, 11 February 2019

What happened when? Working out sequences of events

New ELI today - 'What happened when?: sorting out sequences using stratigraphical concepts. Are the age-based stratigraphical concepts principles or laws? – and how do you use them?'


The stratigraphical concepts used for age sequencing can be applied through indoor and outdoor exercises in both natural and constructed situations and they are great fun to do!
More activities about working out geological sequences can be found in our Geological time category on the website.

Monday, 4 February 2019

Fold mountains: the Himalayas in 30 seconds!

'The Himalayas in 30 seconds! Making a miniature fold mountain range in an empty box'

This activity models how lateral pressure can squeeze rocks into folds and faults, and imitates the way in which fold mountain ranges are formed. It could be used to extend a physics lesson on forces, or to aid understanding of the ways in which Earth’s surface features affect weather systems such as the monsoon, in geography.
Many more activities related to fold mountains and plate tectonics can be found on our website.

Monday, 28 January 2019

Urban fieldwork - the stories told by building stones

The new ELI today is 'Urban fieldwork – the stories from materials, colours, lines and shapes; find out the stories told by materials used in building and for decoration'


In this activity. pictures focussed on colours, lines and shapes are used  to begin to tell the stories of the stones used in urban areas. This urban fieldwork helps to show that, wherever stones are found or used, the features within them can be used to tell the stories of how they formed, and sometimes, how they were later deformed.
Many activities related to buildings stones and to field work can be found on our website.

Monday, 21 January 2019

Investigating soil erosion

'Why does soil get washed away? Investigating why some farmers lose their soil through erosion whilst others do not'.

Soil erosion is a normal part of the natural rock cycle, but it can become a major problem in many rural areas where people depend on the land for their livelihood. This activity provides the opportunity to investigate some of the factors involved in limiting soil erosion. Video clip.
Your pupils can extend the activity by doing some soil painting too.
Many more soil activities can be found on our website by using the search engine or alphabetical index.


Monday, 14 January 2019

Measuring climate change

New ELI today: 'What could we measure to find out if climate change is happening here? What climate change indicators could be measured in our own backyard or school grounds?'

This activity involves a class discussion on the likely local impact of climate change.
More activities related to climate change can be found on our website either by using the search engine or the alphabetical index.

Monday, 7 January 2019

Working out past environments

'What was it like to be there – in the rocky world? Bringing the formation of solid rock to life – by imagining yourself there when it formed'

This activity asks pupils questions relating to all the senses, to try to bring past environments of the formation of rocks to life.
Many more activities about past environments can be found on the website.