Wednesday 28 January 2009

Salt - grow your own salt crystal

The photo shows some secondary grade teachers (teaching science for 6th,7th and 8th classes) trying out Earthlearningidea 'Salt of the Earth' during the In-Service training programme for secondary grade science teachers of Theni district. This was organised by Jayaraj Annapackiam College for Women, Periyakulam, India, sponsored by Tamil Nadu State Council for Science and Technology, Chennai, India during January 2009. The demonstrator is Jothi. The teachers will ask their students to carry out this experiment in their homes with available vessels and wait for three months. They will then be asked to display their sodium chloride crystals. The student who has grown the largest crystal will be rewarded with a good book and will be asked to explain to the others the procedure he/she has followed in growing the biggest crystal.
Have you tried this Earthlearningidea? Who can make the biggest crystal with the most perfect shape? The activity provides a practical example of chemistry in action. Salt, sodium chloride, is a vital commodity; ask your pupils to investigate the main sources of supply of salt for their country.

Monday 26 January 2009

Why do some buildings survive earthquakes and others do not?

The photo shows some secondary teachers trying out Earthlearningidea 'Quake shake - will my home collapse?' Their demonstrator is Jothi, from Arul Anandar College, Karumathur, India. You can see at the bottom of the photo that, during an 'earthquake', one 'block of flats' has collapsed and the other has not. Why is that? It is quite important for pupils to know.
As you can see, this activity is easy to set up and is great fun!
If you have any photos of your pupils or teacher trainees carrying out Earthlearningideas, then please send them to us.

Monday 19 January 2009

All about soil

It's important for pupils to know about soils. Have you tried Earthlearningidea 'Permeability of soils; the great soil race'? Why do some soils let water through faster than others? If you wanted to make a football field, which would be best - a soil that lets water flow through quickly or a soil that holds the water? What problems might there be if water ran through a soil very quickly? If you wanted to grow vegetables, which would be best, a quick flow soil, or a slow flow soil or a medium flow soil? Find out the answers by setting up this simple activity.
Read the post before this to see what worms can do to layers of soil in only 15 days.
Send us your soil activities and we will publish them.

Look what the worms have done!

Did you know worms could do this in only 15 days?
Try our recent Earthlearningidea and make your own wormery at school. It's fun!

Monday 12 January 2009

How to find water, oil or gas

This Earthlearningidea activity is about permeability of rocks. Ask your pupils to collect some local rock samples of similar size and put them all into a container of water. Watch for bubbles. The 'bubbly' rocks have spaces between the grains that air and water can flow through - so they are permeable (liquids and gases flow through permeable things). If these 'bubbly' rocks can hold water, then they can hold oil and gas too.
After carrying out this activity, your pupils will be able to test rock permeability and put rocks in order of permeability. They will be able to make 2D and 3D models to show different sorts of permeability/impermeability and explain why some impermeable rocks are impermeable. Hopefully they will also be able to tell you where to drill for water, oil or gas!
Please let us know how they get on by writing your comments on this blog.

Monday 5 January 2009

Soil Formation - thinking like Darwin

2009 is the year of Charles Darwin's 200th birthday and so our first Earthlearningidea of the year is Darwin's 'big soil idea': can you work out how Charles Darwin 'discovered' how soil formed?
Pupils are asked to think through how soil forms, as Darwin did in the 1830s, and then to suggest how he could have tested his ideas. They are then invited to either build their own wormery or observe one that a teacher has built.
Soil formation is an example of the complex relationships between the lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere necessary for maintaining life on our planet.
We should really like to hear how you get on with this activity.

Thursday 1 January 2009

New Earthlearningidea Contents page

Our Earthlearningideas are easier to access. All the activities have now been described by keywords which are listed alphabetically on our new Contents page.
Now that we have 57 published teaching ideas, we want to make it easier and quicker for teachers to find what they need. If you want to find, for example, 'Erosion', it is now easy to locate the appropriate activity, 'Rock, rattle and roll'.
As you can see, we have also grouped the activities under keywords by category so, if you are teaching, for example, Natural Hazards, you will know what activities are available.
Please let us know of any further improvements you would like to see.