Monday 28 July 2008

Dinosaur death - did it die or was it killed?

Dinosaur death- did it die or was it killed? Was this a Cretaceous crime scene? - using rock and fossil forensic evidence to find out. This is our latest Earthlearningidea - click here to view this exciting new activity. A large fossil skeleton has been found in rocks near your school. Did the animal die naturally or was it attacked and killed? Use your detective skills to investigate what really happened long ago. Pupils use evidence from rocks and fossils to build up a picture of how the dinosaur died - like a detective builds up a case from a crime scene.
This is a very popular activity in the UK. Let us know how your pupils react.

Monday 21 July 2008

Flood through the window

Our new Earthlearningidea 'Flood through the window - what would you see, how would you feel?' is now available on our website - click here to view.
Pupils are asked to visualise a flood seen through the window and imagine its likely impacts now and in the future. Sudden flooding episodes can even affect area with steep slopes, but are much more common in flat, low-lying areas subject to major weather phenomena.
Please try this out with your class and let us know how you get on. Perhaps you could send us the pupils' work which we will publish.

Saturday 19 July 2008

Earthlearningidea across the world

This map, produced by Google analytics, shows the countries where Earthlearningideas have been viewed. The darker the shading, the more visits to the site. The blog has been visited 6190 times since it began in May last year and we have reached 101 countries.
The activities are available in English and Spanish but are now being translated into Norwegian and Italian. We hope to add more languages in the future.
We are over half-way through our weekly publications now so please keep your comments coming.

Monday 14 July 2008

Blow up your own volcano!

Simulate your own volcanic eruption by using either of the two methods explained in this activity - soapsuds volcano and coke volcano. Before either of the demonstrations, try asking the pupils what they think causes the lava to come out of a volcano.
The nature of a volcanic eruption depends on many factors, including the type of underlying magma, its temperature, the quantities of gases dissolved under pressure, the thickness of the overlying rock and its extent of fracture. A small range of these variables may be seen in these activities.
Click HERE to view a short video clip of the soapsuds volcano.
Please let us have your comments and/or suggestions about these exciting activities.

Monday 7 July 2008

The porosity of rocks

The Space within - the porosity of rocks. For this Earthlearningidea, the pupils make a sedimentary rock by packing any roughly sphere-shaped things of the same size, e.g. oranges or marbles, into a suitable container. The oranges or marbles are like the grains which make up a sedimentary rock, like sand grains in a sandstone.
You can get the pupils more involved in this demonstration as follows: when a container is full of spheres, ask ‘Is it full’? After they answer ‘Yes’, you add water to show that there was still lots of space.
Similarly, before pouring in the water, ask them to predict how much water could be added. Most will be surprised at how much water can be poured in – and that apparently solid materials can be more than a third space.
Natural sandstones have porosities that range up to around 50%, so they may have plenty of space for water or oil/gas. Natural clays can have porosities up to more than 80% - but they are often impermeable, since the pore spaces are so small that water cannot flow through.
Try this activity with your pupils and let us know how you get on.