Monday, 25 February 2013

Make your own soil

Today's new ELI is 'Make your own soil'. This is an investigation into the type and origin of the ingredients of soil. Pupils mix the ingredients provided to make their own soil. They can then suggest what is missing and what happens to the soil if they vary the amounts of each ingredient.
This activity can be used in any lesson about the environment, rocks and landscape, agriculture, gardening or investigations out of doors.
This is the first of a new ELI series on soils. Other series of activities can be seen on the website in Teaching strategies.

Monday, 18 February 2013

How do Earthquake waves travel through the Earth?

Find out by trying the two ELIs 'Waves in the Earth 1 - the slinky simulation and Waves in the Earth 2 - human molecules'

The former uses a long spring to find out how earthquake waves travel through the Earth and in the latter, pupils are pushed around to demonstrate the properties of seismic waves!
This demonstration can be used in the context of a lesson on wave motion for its own sake, or, as here, in explaining how seismic waves can be used to show the nature of the interior of the Earth.
There are many more activities your pupils can use to find out about the interior of the Earth - search on the ELI website.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Testing the strength of rocks - bouncing back

The new ELI is 'Testing rocks - 1 bouncing back; investigating the strength of rocks'. When engineers build structures such as dams, roads and tunnels, they need to investigate the properties of the rocks beneath and around them. One of the key properties is the strength of the rocks. This normally requires expensive equipment, but in this activity pupils can get quite a good idea by simply dropping a ball bearing onto a flat, cut sample of the rock. The height to which the ball bearing bounces back allows us to compare the relative strength of different rocks.
This is one many innovative teaching activities which you can download free from our website.

Monday, 4 February 2013

How to model the magnetic field of the Earth

Have you tried the ELI 'Magnetic Earth'? This modelling activity is a useful prelude to an understanding of the magnetic field of the Earth, albeit due to a very different
magnetic source. It can assist in pupils’ understanding of the magnetic evidence for the movement of continents and for sea-floor spreading (when remanent magnetisation is preserved in rocks), and hence a major part of plate tectonic theory.
There are many activities you can use when teaching plate tectonics. They are listed in 'Teaching strategies' on our website.