Monday 28 October 2013

Screaming roller coaster? Earth's spin and orbit

Your pupils will look puzzled when they are asked to face east and to hold on tightly to something in front of them as we gradually ascend a very steep roller coaster. We go up and up and up and then scream loudly as we hurtle down the other side. Whatever is going on? We are demonstrating the speed of the Earth's spin; in London we are travelling at about 647 miles per hour (1042 km/h)! On the Equator, the spin-speed is 1,040 mph (1674 km/h). You can calculate the spin-speed where you are by multiplying 1,674 km/h by the cosine of your latitude. All this is explained in our new Earthlearningidea 'Screaming roller coaster; how fast am I travelling (due to Earth's spin and Earth's orbit)?
This activity is in the 'Earth in Space' category on our website; more will follow.

Monday 21 October 2013

What is the size of the Earth compared to the Sun?

Have you tried 'Playground planets'? This ELI models the relative sizes of the planets and their distances from the Sun. If the Earth is modelled as a sphere 6mm in diameter, how big is the Sun? (696mm) Using a scale of about 100 billion to 1, if the Earth is 1.5m from the Sun, how far is Neptune? (45m)
This activity can be used in any lesson about space and astronomy. It can also be used in mathematics for work on large numbers and scale.
Visit our website for more activities in our 'Earth in space' category.

Monday 14 October 2013

Mini-world water cycle

This is the second in our water series, 'Mini-world water cycle'. This is a water cycle demonstration model in a transparent box, using materials readily available in the classroom. Brighten up the mini-world by standing it on blue paper to make the ‘sea’ blue, adding a model sunbather with a sun shade to the sandy ‘beach’, and cotton wool to the freezer pack to make fluffy clouds, as in the photo above. But beware – the sunbather will have to leave when it starts to rain!
There are lots more free-to-download activities on our website covering a whole range of Earth-related topics

Monday 7 October 2013

More on modelling igneous processes using wax and sand

Following last week's post, a reader has sent in the following suggestion for an extension to the original ELI, 'Volcano in the lab!' 
"This year I combined this ELI with ‘Partial Melting’ and created a mixed layer of pebbles and wax below the sand. Students were thus able to see that it is not necessary to have a completely molten layer to generate magmas.
Several phenomena we observed this year included, small puffs of ‘magma’ rising from the vent, so we ended up with small balls of wax floating on the water. The other larger vent demonstrated a rather complex intrusive body beneath the surface flow."
We will always publish any good ideas you send to us so keep them coming please!
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