Wednesday 30 April 2008

Notes for Mac users

Recent changes to Safari to render .pdf files in the browser may have created a problem with downloaded pdf files having a double file suffix ( If your downloaded file has this suffix, please rename the file, deleting .ps.
It is possible to receive the pdfs without this problem in other browsers e.g. Firefox. Alternatively it is possible to turn off internal pdf rendering in Safari, reverting to the use of Acrobat reader as before.

We are not experts in this field so would welcome any further comments and suggestions from Mac users. Either comment on this post (click 'comments' below) or email us at
We have also added this information in a link from our website

Monday 28 April 2008

The great soil race

We have just published another Earthlearningidea - Permeability of soils - 'The great soil race'. Soils are a precious resource on which we all ultimately depend for our food supply. Understanding the structure and nature of a soil can lead to better management techniques. Many pupils will be involved in agriculture or gardening at some stage of their lives, and, in rural areas, may well depend on it for their livelihoods.
This activity is great fun; try it with a clay-rich soil, a sandy soil and one with gravel or pebbles in it. Find out what your local soils are like. Do they absorb water or does it puddle on top or, maybe, it runs straight through? What can you do to improve it?
Please contact us with your thoughts and comments.

Friday 25 April 2008

Further thoughts on 'Dig up a dinosaur'

It is good to see that new subscribers are looking back at activities which were posted earlier in the year. We are referring to the new comment on 'Dig up a dinosaur'. A number of comments have been received about this activity; they can all be seen in the Extension ideas.
If you have only just found us, then do please have a look at all the good ideas which have appeared over the last few months. Many subscribers have been able to see the links between the activities and their own country's educational programmes, such as the 5E programme in Taiwan, (mentioned in Extension ideas of Dig up a dinosaur).
Modern pupils are rightly horrified at some of the misdemeanours of past scientists, such as the rival dinosaur "hunters" or the person who carried out the Piltdown Skull "missing link" forgery. We hope that the pupils of today will determine never to do the same.

Perhaps some of our bloggers might care to contribute a story of scientists cooperating, as shown particularly in such achievements as the International Geophysical Year in 1957 and subsequent projects.

Tuesday 22 April 2008

Monday 21 April 2008

Rock, rattle and roll

Please view our latest Earthlearningidea, 'Rock, rattle and roll; investigating the resistance of rocks by shaking in a plastic container'. Ask your pupils why they think some areas are hilly and others are low lying. Such differences in relief are often caused by the relative resistance to erosion of the rocks; the more resistant rocks usually form higher areas. You can use your local rocks for this activity and then rank them in order of resistance to erosion. A video demonstration can be seen in the post below this.
When you have tried this activity with your pupils, please let us know your results. We value your comments on Earthlearningideas so please click on the 'comments' link below.

Rock, rattle and roll - video demonstration

This video demonstrates our latest Earthlearningidea; click here to view the activity, 'Rock, rattle and roll'. We have also published the video on the website. As you can see from the video, shaking the granite has produced very little dust, the slate a bit more, but shaking the sandstone has made a lot of sand. Granite is the most resistant rock of the three and the sandstone is the least resistant. Children like this activity very much; teachers less so as it is very noisy! Do try it out.

Monday 14 April 2008

Laying down the principles

'Laying down the principles - sequencing the events that form rocks through applying stratigraphic principles' is our latest Earthlearningidea. The activity illustrates in a visual way most of the major principles/laws/guidelines that geoscientists use to work out the sequences of events that formed and deformed rock sequences (the relative dating of the events), and from those, the geological history of the rocks of the area. These principles have complex sounding names but they are very easy to demonstrate, understand and use as this activity shows.
Please try it out and let us have your thoughts.

Monday 7 April 2008

It's Monday again - another Earthlearningidea

This is one of many video clips on YouTube about how to survive an earthquake. Today we are publishing our latest activity, 'Surviving an earthquake; learn the earthquake drill and increase your chances of survival'. This activity prepares pupils by assessing local hazards and teaching them an earthquake drill to minimise the risks of getting hurt if an earthquake should strike their home or school. Most people are hurt or killed by collapsing buildings, falling broken glass or subsequent fires.
Please tell us what you do in the event of an earthquake; what is your drill? We will publish any experiences your pupils would like to write.