Monday 27 July 2009

Earthquake through the window

This Earthlearningidea is one of our 'thought' experiments. Ask your pupils to imagine what it would be like if they could watch an earthquake happening outside their building. Give them some prompt questions as follows:-
- What would they see?
- What would be happening to the ground?
- What would be happening to the buildings and trees?
- What would people be doing?
- What would it be like inside their building?
- How would they feel?
- What would they do?
- What would they tell their friends to do?
- What do they think caused the earthquake?
- Can they predict when the next earthquake will happen?
Please send us the best of their stories and we will publish them. Maybe they have some true stories to tell?

Monday 20 July 2009

How to weigh a dinosaur

Dinosaurs sometimes left footprints in wet mud or sand which hardened to leave trace fossils. We can work out how heavy the dinosaur was, if we can compare the footprint with the mark made by a known weight in the classroom. The relationship between pressure, force and area can be used to estimate the mass of a two-legged dinosaur from the area and depth of one of its fossilised footprints. Click here to download the activity.
Trace fossils can give very valuable information on the lifestyles and environment of the organisms that created them.
The photo above shows a footprint from a large dinosaur. An impression would have to be taken of this for it to be used for this Earthlearningidea.

Monday 13 July 2009

Earthtrek gravestone project

EarthTrek is a global citizen science programme, launched on 1st July this year. One of the projects that people are being asked to become involved in is the measurement of the weathering of marble gravestones; click here for more details.
Note - the measurement of the lead letters can be done with a tyre depth gauge if a micrometer is not available.
Participants could also look to see if there is any difference in the weathering of one side of the stone from the other side; this may indicate the influence of the prevailing wind. In the U.K. the latitude and longitude of the site can be found on Ordnance Survey maps so you don't need GPS.
The weathering rates of gravestones are an indication of changes in the acidity of rainfall between locations and over time. The acidity is affected by air pollution and other factors, and could be used as a measure of changes in climate and pollution levels.
'Weathering - rocks breaking up and breaking down' is the Earthlearningidea activity concerned with the various ways rocks are weathered.

Monday 6 July 2009

New Earthlearningidea - Make your own oil and gas reservoir

Ask pupils how they think oil and gas are found in their natural state. Do oil and gas deposits lie in great underground lakes, on the sea bed or within the pore spaces of the rocks? Find out by downloading our new Earthlearningidea 'Make your own oil and gas reservoir'.