Sunday, 25 May 2008

Earth science out-of-doors

Try our latest Earthlearningidea 'Earth science out of doors:preserving the evidence'.
This activity involves taking the class outside, to an area with some bare soil exposed, and perhaps some grass. Explain that we are going to look around us at familiar surroundings, but that we will think about what evidence of the present day might possibly become preserved in the geological record. This involves trying to think of processes that are happening now and the evidence for those processes happening. Which of these pieces of evidence might be preserved if the area were buried under sediment?
The usual geologist's approach is to use Lyell's principle that 'the present is the 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 trying to predict the future from the past.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Earthlearningidea has reached 1543 cities

This progress is good but, as you can see, we haven't reached many large centres of population in South America, Africa, Russia or China. Can you help us to spread the ideas?

Friday, 23 May 2008

Atmosphere and ocean - extension ideas

We have added the ideas received in a comment on this activity to an 'extension' file on the website. Click here to view and please add further thoughts and ideas about this innovative and thought-provoking activity.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Atmosphere and ocean in a tank

Our latest Earthlearningidea can now be seen on the website in both English and Spanish. 'High flow, low flow?: atmosphere and ocean in a tank'. This activity investigates hot, cold and particle-filled density currents as they flow in the atmosphere and ocean. Hot red water is used to show warm ocean currents, cold blue water to show cold currents and milk to demonstrate turbidity currents. Pupils become much more involved and watch more closely if they are asked to predict what will happen before each demonstration. They also learn more effectively that the results are controlled by density. What do you think the density 'ladder' eventually produced will be? Try it out and let us know!

Monday, 12 May 2008

New Earthlearningidea - Oil and gas trapped in reservoir rocks

Do try out our latest Earthlearningidea - 'Trapped! Why can't oil and gas escape from their underground prison?' In this activity you set up a model to demonstrate the principle of an oil and gas trap. This could form part of a lesson about the world's resources or it could follow a lesson on porosity and permeability. Pupils learn that oil and gas do not occur in underground lakes but are held within the pore spaces in the rock. We have provided a laboratory version and a home-made version. Both work well. Let us know how you and your pupils get on with this activity.

Monday, 5 May 2008

A dinosaur in the yard

This activity 'A dinosaur in the yard' introduces the concept that an imprint (trace fossil) is just as much a fossil as the remains of the actual body and can sometimes give very valuable information about the lifestyles of the organisms involved. The animal here is Iguanodon and we know that the height of the hip joint above the ground is approximately four times the length of the hind feet. We can also use the length of the animal's stride to find out whether it was walking, trotting or running.This activity provides useful links between physics, maths and geology.