Monday, 29 September 2014

Seasons: the effect of our tilted Earth

The new ELI, published today, 'Seasons: the effect of our tilted Earth' is the last in this 'Earth in space' series. It involves an indoor demonstration which explains the changing seasons very clearly.

After watching the activity pupils will be able to:-
  • explain how the half of the Earth bathed in sunlight at any one time is experiencing day, whilst the other half is experiencing night;
  • point out and explain the day/night dividing lines of dawn and dusk;
  • explain why night and day are of equal length at the equinoxes;
  • point out and explain how polar regions are lit in the summer but are in darkness in the winter;
  • explain why winter and summer are at the opposite ends of the year in the other hemisphere, compared to their own;
  • explain why equatorial regions have no seasons.
Visit the website for more 'Earth in space' teaching ideas.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

ELI workshop in Brazil

During the recent "IV Regional Meeting of Geography Teaching " carried out at UNICAMP (State University of Campinas), Brazil by the Geoscience Institute, an ELI workshop took place.


The workshop was carried on by geography undergraduate students Bruna Campagnucci, Erica Rodrigues Soares and July Vilela under the supervision of Prof. Roberto Greco.


Geoscience in secondary schools in Brazil is taught within the geography discipline. The participants were all teachers from different Brazilian regions. In the 4 hours workshop the partcipants were able to experience many activities, interact among themselves and discuss which activities they could use in their geography classes. Exciting positive feedback was collected from the participants.

All the photos can be seen in the ELI Photo gallery  
The ELI translations into Portuguese are based in Unicamp

Monday, 22 September 2014

Take it or leave it? - the geoconservation debate

'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. Sometimes, removing a good specimen from a site is like removing a piece of evidence from a crime scene - it loses its context and vital clues can be lost; it may be best to leave it where you found it. Many sites also have legal protection; you would need to check their legal status before removing specimens. In this ELI, pupils are encouraged to ‘think like geoconservationists’ by cutting out the cards provided and discussing them with their group. They should then put them in the best place on the scale, also provided.
One of many interesting teaching ideas, all free to download, from our website.

Monday, 15 September 2014

How do day/night and the seasons work?

New ELI today - 'Earth on Earth; using a globe in the sunshine to show how day/night and the seasons work'. 

Pupils can use the ‘globe in the sunshine’ to:
  • explain how the half of the Earth bathed in sunlight at any one time is experiencing day, whilst the other half is experiencing night; 
  • point out and explain the day/night dividing lines of dawn and dusk; 
  • show how equatorial regions are warmer (and feel warmer) than polar regions because the Sun is nearer to being overhead and so the rays are more concentrated
  • point out and explain how polar regions are lit in the summer but are in darkness in the winter.
Click here for other activities in the 'Earth in Space' category.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Clues to magma viscosity and eruptions

'Bubble-mania; the bubbling clues to magma viscosity and eruptions' is this week's Earthlearningidea. After trying the activity, ask the pupils:-
• How were the ‘eruptions’ different?
• How were the bubbles different?
• What caused the differences?
• Some volcanoes have magmas that are ‘runny’ (like the soft drink) and some have much more viscous magmas (like the other liquid) – how might these volcanoes erupt differently?
• Which sort of eruption would you most like to see – one with low viscosity (runny) magma, like the soft drink, or one with high viscosity (thick) magma like the viscous liquid?
This is one of many ELIs about volcanoes and volcanic eruptions - click here to find them all.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Latitude and its affect on solar radiation

The latest ELI is 'Hot or not? - investigating how latitude affects the amount of solar radiation received'. After doing the activity, pupils will be able to:-
• explain that the rays of the Sun will be most intense and so the surface of the Earth will be hottest when the Sun’s rays apparently come from directly overhead;
• explain that as the Sun’s rays move away from overhead, they become less intense because they are spread over a larger area;
• realise that as the tilted Earth moves around the Sun, only twice is the Sun overhead at the Equator, i.e. on March 21st and September 21st;
• realise that the Northern Hemisphere summer occurs when the Sun is overhead at the Tropic of Cancer on June 21st and that the Northern Hemisphere winter when the Sun is overhead at the Tropic of Capricorn on December 21st.
This activity could be used in science or geography lessons dealing with the seasons. As a lead-in activity, try 'Screaming roller coaster'. This ELI will be followed soon by 'The seasons: an indoor demonstration of the seasons' and' Earth on Earth: using a globe in the sunshine to show how day/night and the seasons work'. If you need these activities before they are published on our website, then please contact us.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Modelling how the energy of seismic waves is transmitted

The ELI 'Merry waves - all year round' models how the energy of seismic waves is transmitted. It demonstrates how the vibration of particles by the propagation of pressure waves does not cause noticeable displacement of mass.
 Pupils can find it difficult to visualise how energy can be transferred through a material as a wave without noticeable displacement of mass. Many people also think that all waves involve movement of mass – thinking, for example, that the movement of a tsunami wave across the ocean involves movement of masses of water sideways, in the same way as they have seen waves moving across a beach.
Such misconceptions may be related to some models used to show propagation of seismic waves. For example, models using ropes and springs clearly show backwards and forwards movement (for P-waves) or sideways movement (for S-waves) of the mass of material, whereas they are actually modelling the movement of molecules, not the whole mass of the material. This distinction is often not stressed to pupils.
Many more ideas can be found on our website.