Monday, 31 December 2012

Collapsing volcanoes

The last new ELI of 2012 is 'Collapsing volcanoes - cauldron subsidence'. Try making a jelly model of the ‘cauldron subsidence’ that can occur when volcanoes erupt and collapse. By doing this activity, pupils will appreciate that large scale surface features may be formed in volcanic regions, when magma beneath drains away or erupts and removes support from a vast cylinder of rock.

The best way of cleaning up from this activity is to eat it!

There are now nearly 150 Earthlearningideas on our website. You can search by topic name, keyword or category.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Unpredictability of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions

Well . . .  in this ELI, not exactly earthquakes and volcanic eruptions; rather, party poppers. We have added further extension material to the activity 'Party time for volcanoes!'
The total number of experimental runs (i.e. popped party poppers) aggregated over two large events (and a few smaller ones in between) is now 286. The arithmetic mean mass required to pop is 1.29kg. You may remember that last year one visitor achieved an unconfirmed 'world record' of 3.5kg - freakishly high as nobody else exceeded 2.3kg and, interestingly, this was mirrored last week - there was one instance of 3.4kg, with the next highest value being 2.1kg.
Thank you to the British Geological Survey for these data.
This is the time of year to try out this activity!
Season's greetings from the Earthlearningidea team.

Monday, 17 December 2012

How do we know about the Earth's Core?

To find out, try the latest Earthlearningidea, 'A core activity'. Cut out sets of the 14 ‘Core evidence cards’ provided in the activity. Give a set to each group of pupils and ask them to sort the cards to show the evidence we have for the composition of the Earth’s core. Tell the pupils that the evidence may be on a single card, or a series of cards linked together, while some cards may contain no evidence for the
core’s composition. When they have sorted their cards, ask them to suggest what the composition might be, and give the evidence that supports this idea.
This is one of many activities in the 'Investigating the Earth' category.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Monday, 3 December 2012

Fifty million years into the future

Our latest ELI is '50 million years into the future; an investigation of how animals become adapted to their environments'. Fictional animals have been ‘invented’ based on the principles of evolution. Pupils are asked to imagine what Earth might be like 50 million years in the future, assuming that mankind is extinct. They are asked to consider the imaginary Saurantel and Manspimon. How have these two animals become adapted to their environments?
Animals in the future will adapt to their environments just as they have in the past. Pupils often do not appreciate that animals and plants are still evolving and adapting to their changing environments.
This is one of many ELI activities in our Evolution of life category.

Monday, 26 November 2012

From clay balls to the structure of the Earth

'From clay balls to the structure of the Earth'
In this ELI, a series of questions is given to provoke discussion in groups of pupils that will develop their understanding of the structure of the Earth, how some geophysical methods are used, and their thinking skills as well.
This consolidates understanding of many physical processes and characteristics including, density, inertia, magnetism, electromagnetism, sound (ultrasound and seismic) and radiation (X-raysand ionising). The best evidence we have for the core’s position and character is seismic waves, but density measurements, inertia and magnetism each contribute useful information too.
This is one of many thought-provoking activities which can be downloaded free from our website.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Jelly and cream - with a difference!

Our new ELI this week involves making and eating jellies and cream; all in the interests of science, of course. 'Volcanoes and radial intrusions' involves inserting cream radial intrusions into jelly 'volcanoes' until they erupt. This activity simulates the intrusion of magma into a volcano demonstrating the 'plumbing' system of volcanoes very well.
It is one of many volcanic activities published on our website. Some are listed at the bottom right of our home page under 'Activities related to the new ELI'.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Water - a matter of taste or a taste of matter?

Today, we have published an extension to last week's new ELI - 'Water - a matter of taste or a taste of matter?'
This is about the hot springs in the City of Bath, UK. Please send us information about springs and the geology in your area and we will publish it.
Have you tried the other 'watery' ELIs, all listed in our Teaching strategies.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Water - comparing rain water with bottled water

Our new Earthlearningidea, published today, is 'Water - a matter of taste or a taste of matter? Is all water the same?' Pupils are asked to investigate how water can dissolve solids and to taste the result. They compare the chemical composition of rain water with bottled mineral water and discuss the differences. This is one of many ELI 'Watery activities' published in our Teaching strategies.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Cracking apart - physical weathering

Simulate the weathering of rocks in a desert environment by trying the ELI 'Cracking apart'. Ask pupils to discuss situations where materials expand in the heat and contract in the cold out of doors. Examples might include steel bridges, or concrete roads; in both cases, expansion joints have to be included to allow for the movement. Explain that rocks also expand and contract and that this can lead to their break up. This is a form of physical weathering. Small chips of granite and other rocks are heated in a Bunsen flame and then rapidly cooled in water. This is repeated to investigate the rate at which they ‘weather’ by breaking apart.
This is one of many Earthlearningideas which encourage pupils to take part in an activity and then relate their findings to the world around them.

Monday, 22 October 2012

More building stones - metamorphic rocks today

Today we complete our series of the ELI building stones resource by publishing 'Building stones 4 - Metamorphic rocks'
This is a small group activity using photographs of metamorphic rocks used for ornamental purposes. This ELI follows ‘Building Stones 1’ and is intended for pupils to deepen their understanding of metamorphic rocks. A table showing how the series of Earthlearningidea building stone activities link together is given on the final page.
You can find the second, igneous rocks, and third, sedimentary rocks, of this series in the category Earth materials on our website.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Watery world of underground chemistry

Have you tried the ELI 'The watery world of underground chemistry'?  The pH of water is used as the basis of a discussion of how water flows through, and interacts with, the rocks and soil during the underground part of the water cycle, so integrating aspects of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and lithosphere.
This is one of many 'watery' Earthlearningideas which are listed in Teaching strategies on our website.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Who ate the ammonite? - Jurassic food web

'Who ate the ammonite?' This is our latest new Earthlearningidea. Pupils will probably be familiar with modern-day food chains and food webs but this food web uses fossil evidence from creatures alive in Jurassic times, about 180 million years ago.
This ELI could be included in any lesson which involves discussion about carnivore/herbivore, predator/prey relationships, building food chains/webs, producers/consumers and trophic levels.
It is one of many innovative teaching ideas in ELI's 'Evolution of life' category and one of hundreds of Earthlearningideas.

Monday, 1 October 2012

ELIs and 3D Virtual World Tours

Have you tried using ELI activities along with one of the many 3D Virtual World Tours? Many pupils have little concept of, for example, the power of ice or river erosion.
You could try the ELI 'Mighty river in a small gutter' and use one of the 3D tours to accompany it. The photo is from the tour of the Victoria Falls in Africa. There are many other examples you could use:-
- ELI 'Laying down the principles' with the tour of the Grand Canyon, USA,
- ELI 'Grinding and gouging' with the tour of the Matterhorn in Switzerland,
- ELI 'Weathering - rocks breaking up and breaking down' with the tour of Bryce Canyon, USA,
- ELI 'Blow up your own volcano' (or any other of the ELI volcanic activities) with the tour of Grimsvoten volcanic crater in Iceland.
These are just a few of many activities covering a wide range of Earth science and geography ELIs, all stored on our website in pdf format and all free to download.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Age of the Earth? How do we know?

Our latest ELI has just been published - 'Working out the age of the Earth - moving backwards as time moved forwards'.  Ask pupils to link up the ‘headlines’ about calculating the age of the Earth, to show how ideas about the age of the Earth have changed over time from 1650 when Bishop Ussher gave a calculation of 6000 years to 1956 when radioactive uranium/lead dating of meteorites gave an age of 4.55 plus or minus 1.5% billion years. In recent years radiometric dating has given the most reliable figures. They all cluster around 4.6 billion years, more easily remembered as near 4,567 million years.
This activity is another ELI which gives a good example of 'How science works'. Others include the work of Charles Darwin, James Hutton, Mary Anning and Alfred Wegener. All of these can be found using 'Search activities' on the home page of our website.

Monday, 17 September 2012

London's fossils; an ancient world hidden in the city

As part of our series on building stones, a reader has suggested that this video could be used when looking at sedimentary rocks.
You can see the ELI activities on building stones and lots of other great ideas for teaching science and geography on our website.

Monday, 10 September 2012

What is that building stone?

Find out by using ELI's building stone resources. We have written one activity as a general resource and one focusing on the igneous rocks. Today we have published an ELI that gives details about the sedimentary rocks used as building stones. Metamorphic rocks as building stones will be published soon.
What is used in your area? Can you write a building stones activity for the area around your school? Share it with others on this blog or on Facebook.

Monday, 3 September 2012

ELI is now on Facebook

 ELI is now on Facebook. Please have a look at this very new page and write a comment or just 'like' it! We will improve it as, hopefully, we get better at using it. If you have any suggestions, please let us know.
Also, we have just published our latest map of the countries and towns/cities that ELI has reached in the world. You can view this in 'ELI in the world' on our website.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Make some working models of wells

Our new Earthlearningidea is 'Well, well, well!' In this activity, pupils are encouraged to make two working models of a well, one simple and the other more complex. For either model, they are asked to answer the following questions:-
• Is there is an underground lake in the model?
• Where is the water?
• What is needed to maintain the supply of water?
• Could the well be pumped dry?
• Are wells used to supply water in all countries or just some countries?
The activity is simple enough to be understood by children of all ages, and can be used in any lesson, e.g. in science or geography where water supply is being taught, or where renewable and non-renewable resources are featured.
This is one of many 'watery activities' stored on our website. For a complete list, refer to 'Teaching strategies'.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Riches in the river

'Riches in the river' is an ELI activity that investigates how valuable ores may become concentrated on river beds. After doing this ELI, pupils can explain how moving water can separate particles of different density; predict where best to look for gold and dense ores on a river bed and explain how density differences can be used to separate valuable ores from less dense waste in a commercial situation.
This is one of many hands-on activities which  is fun to set up and carry out and which will motivate and interest pupils while teaching them a lot more than just a bit of science! Click on our website for hundreds more innovative ideas.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Match landscape photos to a geological map

Today, we have published the last in our geological mapwork series, 'Geological mapwork: using surface geology to make a geological map'. In this activity pupils are asked to match the photos to the geological map. If pupils have worked their way through the ELI mapwork activities so far, they should now be able to complete this new activity successfully. The complete list of mapwork activities is currently on the home page, but it will be stored permanently on our 'Teaching strategies' page.

Monday, 6 August 2012

ELI Photo Gallery

We have started the Earthlearningidea photo gallery and have included photos of ELI workshops being carried out in different parts of the world. 
So, please send us photos of pupils and teachers using ELI activities!
Earthlearningidea team

Monday, 30 July 2012

Igneous rocks used as building stones

To continue our theme of building stones, we have added 'Building stones 2 - Igneous rocks'.  This is a small group activity using photographs of igneous rocks used for ornamental purposes. This ELI follows ‘Building Stones 1’ and is intended for pupils to deepen their understanding of igneous rocks. A table showing how the series of Earthlearningidea building stone activities link together is given on the final page.
Visit our website for lots more hands-on activities.

Monday, 23 July 2012

ELI translated into Catalan!

We are delighted to announce the publication of our first Earthlearningidea into Catalan. Many thanks to Xavier Juan, vice-president of AEPECT (Asociación Española para la enseñanza de las Ciencas de la Tierra) and Spanish coordinator for Science across the world.
The first activity to be translated is Còctel erosiu or, in English, 'Rock, rattle and roll'. This activity investigates rock resistance and helps pupils to understand why mountains and hills are generally made of more resistant rock than valleys and lowland.

The ELI team would be very grateful if someone could send a better short video clip than the one we are using to demonstrate this activity!

Monday, 16 July 2012

Do-it-yourself dip and strike model

Our latest ELI, published today, is 'The DIY dip and strike model'. This activity uses a model to measure dip, dip direction, strike and apparent dip. It includes a clinometer that your pupils can make for themselves. Pupils are asked to make a model that they can then keep, reminding them how dip and strike are measured and how apparent dips differ from true
This activity is one of the progression and spiralling of spatial thinking skills shown by the Earthlearningidea ‘Geological mapwork from scratch’ exercises and the ‘Geological mapwork from models’ exercises.
All of these can be found on our website in the 'Investigating the Earth' category.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Partial melting extension idea

We have just published an extension idea for our ELI 'Partial melting - simple process, huge global impact'. This activity explains how partial melting, coupled with plate tectonics, has changed the chemistry of the planet.
The reason why partial melting occurs in different geological environments is sometimes difficult for students to comprehend. This extension idea is a visual method used to demonstrate this concept in the classroom.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Testing scientific ideas in an old graveyard

'Will my gravestone last?' is the latest Earthlearningidea, published today. It is part of the series of activities related to our major new building stones resource and is an excellent way to take pupils out of doors to carry out scientific investigations and to see a wide range of rock types. All the preparations that need to be made to take pupils on such a visit are listed in the activity, together with lots of hypotheses which could be tested during their survey. The sheets of scaled photographs from the ELI Building stones 1 should be used for this activity.
Please let us know how you get on; we will publish any photos, results sheets, graphs etc that your pupils produce - email contact.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Building stones resource

We have just published a major new building stones resource - 'Building Stones 1 - a resource for several Earthlearningidea activities'.  This is a small group activity in the identification of a wide range of rock types, using natural-scale photographs of rocks used as building stones or for ornamental purposes. The sheets of photographs are intended for use as the basis for several further activities. This activity can be used in the classroom or in a town centre. 
Note to our users: the file is 6.6MB. If this is too big for you to download, please contact us and we will send it to you in small sections.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Teaching strategies and Fun sessions

We have added new pages to our website -

TEACHING STRATEGIES - we know this page does not look very exciting but it lists activities teachers could use if they are teaching any of the topics mentioned. As we have so many activities on the site now, we thought it might be useful for teachers to be able to find quickly suitable activities for a particular topic. Please have a look at the list and let us know what you think either by comment on this post or by email. Also, if you have ideas for other topics, please let us know.

CHILDREN'S FUN SESSIONS - this page lists fun activities for children to do on special science days, in museum sessions, on open days or at any time when they want to have fun and learn something too. Any comments or suggestions about these will be gratefully received too.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Jigging - density separation

Our Jubilee ELI is 'Jigging; using density to separate different materials'. This is a simple practical activity used to separate minerals of different density from each other. It is a small-scale version of a method which was used for centuries.
This is one of many activities in the' Investigating the Earth' category on our website.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Craters on the Moon

Why are the Moon's craters such different shapes and sizes? Click here to download this activity. Around 80% of the Moon’s surface is covered in craters. The largest (on the Moon’s far side) is over 1000 km across, but there are millions of craters which are at least 1m across. We think most craters were caused by meteorites crashing into the moon in the distant past. What controlled the size and shape of these craters? We can model some of the factors by bombarding layers of sand with spherical objects such as glass marbles or ball bearings, and measuring the dimensions of the mini-craters formed.
This is one of hundreds of Earth-related activities to be found on our website. All are designed to be thought-provoking and engaging for pupils.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Evolution of evolution

Our new Earthlearningidea this week is 'Sorting out the evolution of evolution headlines'. This is a timeline/card sort exercise, asking pupils to put cards of ‘milestones’ in the evolution of evolutionary thought into the most appropriate places on a timeline. When they have completed the activity pupils will be able to describe how evolutionary thought developed over time and explain how the idea of evolution was developed through the work of many scientists.
This is one of many activities in our Evolution of Life category - try them out by downloading the activities from our website; they are all FREE.

Monday, 14 May 2012

'Water, water everywhere nor any drop to drink'

'Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink' is an ELI activity investigating how to get clean water from dirty 'pond' water. This investigation could be used in any lessons involving discussions about water supply. People have always needed to find clean water to drink. It is a vital factor in where people can live.
The activity is one of many in our Resources and Environment category and can be found, along with many other ideas, on our website.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Amazing technology

Video of a sandbox equipped with a Kinect 3D camera and a projector to project a real-time colored topographic map with contour lines onto the sand surface. The sandbox lets virtual water flow over the surface.
Find out more. 

Perhaps we could use this video to accompany 'Dam burst danger'

Monday, 7 May 2012

Identifying minerals - use your sense(s)!

Identifying minerals - use your sense(s)! - by doing this activity pupils can appreciate that we use several senses in identifying unknown objects, often without realising it. They will be encouraged to use a range of tests on minerals and not to rely on snap judgements based on sight alone. They will have to learn to work co-operatively when many in the group are disadvantaged by being blindfolded. Also they must memorise the properties of several minerals by carrying out tests themselves.
This activity reinforces that minerals are substances of well-defined
composition which have reliable physical properties. They form the “building blocks” of rocks, and it is useful to acquire some understanding of them.
Many thanks to Daniel Reis and fellow students studying for Masters’ degrees in Biology and Geology at the University of Oporto, Portugal who sent us the idea for this activity.
Can you send us another good idea?
This is one of many practical, innovative and enjoyable activities on our website. We publish a new activity every two weeks. Your suggestions, ideas and comments are always welcome - comment on this post or email us.

Monday, 30 April 2012

Sandcastles and slopes

What makes sandcastles and slopes collapse? Ask pupils if they have ever made 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 ELI investigates the factors which affect the angle at which loose materials rest before they begin to slide.
This is one of many activities in our Earth energy/processes category. Activities relating to landslides can be found in Natural hazards.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Opengeoscience 2: tilted and folded rocks

The new ELI today is the second of our Opengeoscience activities. By doing this activity, you will be able to find on geological maps:-
- shallow-dipping sedimentary rocks
- vertical rocks
- folded sedimentary rocks
- unconformity
You will be able to explore how geological features appear on maps and how the formations are linked to relief features.
Brilliant resource!
Let us know how you get on.
This activity is the 130th practical Earthlearningidea to be found on our website - search for an Earth-related topic you want to know about.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

UK Geology teaching collection

Geology teaching collection for disposal: a school in Sheffield, England, UK cannot see its way to restarting a geology course, so the excellent teaching collection is now available free to anyone who can demonstrate a need for it, with preference being given to those who are in the early stages of building up a course in a school or 6th Form College.
The collection consists of a wide range of minerals, rocks and fossils, packed into 40 stacking mushroom boxes, a limited amount of equipment, and a range of geological maps, including some multiple copies.
Email to enquire further and to arrange collection.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Trail making

Have your pupils tried making their own 'fossil' animal trails by using the ELI 'Trail-making'? Pupils are asked to use their understanding of how animals move today and in the past to create realistic trails as they might have appeared in the past and been preserved in the fossil record.
This is one of many thought-provoking activities in the Evolution of Life category on the Earthlearningidea website.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Finding igneous intrusions and lava flows on geological maps

Our new ELI this week is 'Opengeoscience 1: igneous intrusions and lavas - opening geological maps to the world'.
Open the British Geological Survey ‘OpenGeoscience’website, click on ‘Maps and spatial data’ and ‘Geology of Britain’ to open the BGS ‘Geology of Britain’ viewer. You can use this to see how geological formations appear on maps and how they affect the shape of the land – and then apply this understanding anywhere in the world.
Try this one - to look at a volcanic vent and lava flow – type ‘Castleton, Derbyshire’ to see the vent or neck of a volcano in red, and a lava flow in pink (as shown in the image above). The snaking view of the lava flow appears like this because it is sandwiched between two layers of limestone on a hillside, shown in turquoise.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Make your own oil and gas reservoir

Have you tried this ELI - Make your own oil and gas reservoir? It demonstrates how oil and water flow through permeable rocks and could form part of a lesson on the world’s resources. It is a simple way of demonstrating that oil and gas do not normally occur in underground lakes, but are held within the pore spaces of the rock.
This is one of many practical activities about world resources - search our website for more.

Please note that we have re-published the pdf for 'The Geoconservation debate; when is collecting wrong and when is it right?' The new pdf is smaller and will take less time to download.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Hydrothermal mineralisation - 'the rock with with the hole'

The new ELI this week is "Interactive hydrothermal mineralisation; 'the rock with the hole' demo". The mineralising chemicals dissolved in hydrothermal fluids have two possible sources:
a) when rocks deep underground are heated, the fluids they contain are able to dissolve minerals in the surrounding rocks more readily, and then the hot fluids rise;
b) when igneous magmas cool, at a late stage of cooling, a watery fluid rich in mineralising chemicals often separates and rises.
Tin, lead, copper and iron are common metallic hydrothermal minerals.
This is one of many interactive, hands-on Earth-related activities which can all be found on our website.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

The Geoconservation debate

The new ELI this week is 'Take it or leave it? - the geoconservation debate; when is collecting wrong, and when is it right? Try to decide for yourself' Should you take geological specimens away from the site where they are found? This is a difficult question and it depends on where you are and who you are.
This activity asks pupils to discuss which minerals/ rocks/ fossils could be collected and which should be left for others to use or enjoy. Pupils are given ten cards of the type and situation of different mineral/ rock/ fossil specimens and are asked to discuss the best place for these on a scale of ‘always take’ to ‘never take’. The ‘answers’ depend upon a range of circumstances. Possible ‘answers’ are listed in the activity.
This is one of many thought-provoking, Earth-related activities on our website.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Incorrect links

For a reason unknown to us at the moment, any link beyond the Earthlearningidea home page is not working. If you require, or already have, links to the pdfs, please go to the ELI home page and use the search facilities from there.
Our next ELI is 'Take it or leave it? - the geoconservation debate. This will be published next Tuesday, 13th March.
Earthlearningidea team

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Darwin's 'big coral atoll idea'

When Darwin sailed round the world on the ‘Beagle’ in the 1830s he noticed small islands made of low circular coral reefs like those in the photo. These circular reefs were scattered across the deep oceans of the tropics. Try ‘thinking like Darwin did’ to work out how they formed. Use the search engine from our website to find the activity.
This is one of many ELIs in our 'Investigating the Earth' category.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Bubble-mania - bubbling clues to magma viscosity and eruptions

Our new Earthlearningidea activity is 'Bubble-mania; the bubbling clues to magma viscosity and eruptions'. Pupils try blowing through straws into two similar-looking liquids, e.g. syrup and yellow-coloured water.
Some pupil responses to this ELI:-
"The bubbles blown into the syrup were really good; huge and gloopy."
"The bubbles make a very satisfying pop and splattering when they finally collapsed."
"It's much more fun blowing into the sticky syrup than into the water and it splattered out of the glass like volcanic bombs."
There are lots more very enjoyable activities associated with volcanoes and volcanic eruptions on our website. Use the 'search activities' or 'search topics' to find them.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Dam burst danger

Have you tried 'Dam burst danger; modelling the collapse of a natural dam in the mountains - and the disaster that might follow'.
When glaciers in high mountain regions melt they often leave behind deep lakes. The lake waters are held back by natural dams, formed by piles of rocks, sand and clay dumped by the melting glacier. This debris is called moraine. Moraines often contain large hidden blocks of ice among the debris. These can take years to melt, and when they do, the natural dam may break suddenly, releasing a flood of lake water, which rushes down the mountainside, sweeping all before it.
This is one of many activities in our Natural Hazards category of Earthlearningidea

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Our new activity is the last in this series of Mapwork from models

Mapwork from models 8 shows the four main types of faults and how these affect the geology of a flat area with a sequence of dipping rocks. The model shows how different sorts of faults can
affect outcrop patterns; in particular, that different sorts of faults can have similar effects on outcrop patterns; here the strike-slip fault and the reverse fault have the same effects and that the movement on thrust faults is likely to be greater than the movement on other sorts of faults.
At the end of these mapwork exercises you will find a progression and spiralling of spatial thinking skills shown by the ELI 'Geological mapwork from scratch' exercises and the 'Geological mapwork from models' exercises.
If you are not doing mapwork at the moment, then there are lots of other innovative ways to teach Earth science on our website

Monday, 6 February 2012

Dust bowl; investigating wind erosion

Have you tried the ELI 'Dust bowl'? This investigates the effects of different wind strengths and particle size on the erosion, transportation and deposition of sediment by wind. The activity could form part of a lesson looking at the mechanism of sediment movement. It could also lead to an understanding of the
effects of wind erosion in flat, exposed areas and dry climates. Wind erosion and subsequent deposition of the load is an important source of fertile soils in the area of deposition.
You can also find ELIs about the erosion, transportation and deposition of sediment by rivers, the sea and ice on our website.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Mapwork from models 7

This activity is the next in our mapwork series. It investigates a plain with faults parallel to the outcrops of the beds. By doing this activity, pupils can:
• add geological data to a 3D block model of a flat area;
• link up the data with geological boundaries;
• interpret these into a 3D picture of the geology;
• explain how different types of faults can have similar effects on outcrop patterns.
The mapwork series so far can be seen in our category 'Investigating the Earth'
These are just a small part of a  wide variety of Earth-related activities which can be found on our website

Monday, 23 January 2012

Erosion by ice

Have you tried ELI's 'Grinding and gouging'?
Ask your pupils:
• what will happen when they rub a clean ice cube on the piece of painted wood?
• what will happen when they rub a sand-covered ice cube on the piece of painted wood?
Carry out the activity by asking the pupils to rub a clean ice cube over the wood, pressing down as hard as possible. Next, ask them to press an ice cube on to some loose sand in a dish for about 15 seconds and then rub this over the wood. Are the results as predicted?
ELI activities about erosion by rivers, the sea and wind can also be found on our website. Use the topic search or search engine to find them.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Mapwork from models 6: plain with faults in the direction of dip

In this latest ELI mapwork from models activity, pupils are shown a photograph of a plain and then are asked to cut out a 3D paper model of a flat plain-like area. They should use the cut-out to make the first version, then either cut out another
model, or turn the first model inside out, and trace the geology to make the second version.
Plain with faulted rocks, version 1.
With the experience from previous Earthlearningidea models, pupils should realise that when dips are known (as for the fault) they can be drawn using a protractor, and that dipping beds appear horizontal for cross sections drawn at right angles to the dip direction (strike-sections). This makes completing the model fairly
straightforward. Faults like this, which are parallel to the dip of the beds, are called dip faults.
Plain with faulted rocks, version 2.
Completion of this model is even more straightforward, since the fault is vertical and all other lines are drawn in the same places.
However, completion of the second model shows an important geological fact, that the same outcrop pattern can be produced by a normal fault as by a tear fault.
This is one of a series of Mapwork from models exercises on our website. The others can be found in the Investigating the Earth category