Monday 28 September 2009

Earth science out of doors

All pupils like to be taken outside the classroom for their lessons. Have you tried this Earthlearningidea 'Earth science out of doors: preserving the evidence'? The pupils have to try to list 6 processes that are happening around them or that have happened in the last few hours. What is the evidence for these processes happening? Which of those pieces of evidence might be preserved if the area became buried? They will realise that there is a progressive loss of evidence as we go back in time. The usual geologists' approach is to use Lyell's principle 'the present is a key to the past'. This activity involves geological reasoning in reverse, i.e. trying to predict the future from the present. Concerns about global climate change have recently involved geologists in trying to predict the future from the past.
How well does this activity work with your group? Have you tried other Earthlearningideas?

Monday 21 September 2009

Oil and gas trapped in reservoir rocks

This activity demonstrates how oil and gas can be trapped in reservoir rocks beneath the surface - 'Trapped! Why can't oil and gas escape from their underground prison?' At the end of this activity, pupils can explain that oil and gas float on top of water because of their lower density, explain that oil and gas may become trapped underground until they reach an impermeable layer of rock and appreciate the need to control the drilling for oil and gas to avoid 'blowouts' at the surface. This could form part of a lesson on world resources or it could follow a lesson on porosity and permeability.
Please let us know how your pupils get on with this or with any of our Earthlearningideas.

Monday 14 September 2009

Investigating the resistance of rocks

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 that make up these areas - more resistant rocks usually form higher areas. Try this Earthlearningidea using some of your local rocks and let us know how you get on.
Have you tried the other Earthlearningideas about erosion? There are activities to help teach erosion by ice, water and wind and soil erosion. All these can be found by looking up 'Erosion' in our Keywords Index.

Monday 7 September 2009

NEW Earthlearningidea - Slopes and angles of rest

Our new Earthlearningidea is all about slopes and angles of rest - 'Sandcastles and slopes: what makes sandcastles and slopes collapse?'
Ask the pupils if they have ever built a big sandcastle. What was the steepest angle they could build the side walls of the castle? Could they make a steeper wall if the sand was dampened? Questions like these go well beyond the playground or beach. Many people have been killed by the collapse of unstable slopes of loose rock or sand. This activity investigates the factors which affect the angle at which loose materials rest before they begin to slide.
Please let us know how your pupils get on by writing a comment on this post or contacting us by email.