Monday 30 August 2010

Role-play plate- surfing

'Plate riding' is our latest ELI+ activity. Stand on the floor facing in the direction the plate that you live on is moving (you might have to find out this direction beforehand, using the plate map provided in the activity and a magnetic compass).
Pretend you are balancing on a surfboard and ask the students a series of questions e.g. Which plate am I standing on? How fast am I going? In which direction am I travelling?
This is one of many plate tectonics activities now on our website.

Monday 23 August 2010

Two plates (biscuits) move away from each other

Try our latest Earthlearningidea and watch two halves of biscuit move away from each other. This activity investigates what happens when a viscous material (the syrup) is heated and rises, with the resultant moving apart of floating objects (broken biscuit) above it. This can be related to a rising plume of hot material beneath a constructive plate margin.
Try this yourselves and let us know how you get on. There are now lots of Earthlearningideas to help pupils to understand plate tectonic theory - just visit our website.

Monday 16 August 2010

A plate tectonic constructive (divergent) margin is marked by a ridge with a rift valley running down the middle of it. It is also associated with shallow focus earthquakes, high heat flow and vulcanicity. Where a constructive plate margin occurs on land, the land masses on either side of it are moving apart at a rate which can be measured directly, as in Iceland (usually at a rate of a few centimetres per year). Try our latest Earthlearningidea, 'A 'mantle plume' in a beaker'. Ask your students to try to visualise what might be happening out of sight, below the plate margin. Then explain that this activity tries to model some of the processes. Remind them that the mantle is essentially solid, but that we shall be using a viscous liquid, in order to speed things up to fit the time scale of the lesson!
There are many other plate tectonics activities on our website - just search the Keyword Index.

Monday 9 August 2010

Another supercontinent

Have you tried to reassemble this supercontinent? Try our latest Earthlearningidea 'The continental jigsaw puzzle'. What evidence is there that these continents were once joined together? Pupils might suggest fossils of comparable land animals that could not have swum across an ocean, rocks of the same type and age that match, fold belts which seem to stop at the coast only to reappear on the other side of the ocean, evidence of ancient climates such as red desert beds or rocks formed in tropical forest environments.
Visit our website for other free, practical teaching ideas.

Monday 2 August 2010

Supercontinent from a jigsaw puzzle?

Can you reassemble a supercontinent from a jigsaw puzzle? Try our latest ELI+ Earthlearningidea - 'The continental jigsaw puzzle'. This activity allows discussion of 'continental drift' theory, which is now regarded as part of the overarching theory of plate tectonics. The activity provides a useful introduction to more technical aspects of the theory and can be used at all levels of pupils' attainment.
This is one of many Earthlearningideas about plate tectonic theory.