Monday, 15 December 2014

Major upgrade to Earthlearningidea website

Because we now have so many activities, teachers' ideas and video clips on the website, we have been developing better ways of searching for what you want.
The Search engine has been re-written and is now fast and accurate.
We have also re-written the alphabetical index. All activities are now 'clickable' from here and any teachers' ideas (extensions) and video clips are included.
A sample is shown below; please try it out on the website.

Please report any problems to us at

Monday, 8 December 2014

Continental split - the opening of the Atlantic Ocean

New ELI today 'Continental split - the opening of the Atlantic Ocean; modelling how continents moved, from Pangaea to today'

Click here for the video clip, created by Cristina Ginés
This activity could be used in any science or geography lesson about sea floor spreading and Wegener's concept of continental drift.
It is one of many activities listed on our website associated with constructive or divergent plate margins in the plate tectonics topic.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Become a fossil hunter and 'Dig up the dinosaur'

'Dig up the dinosaur' was one of our most popular ELIs in November. Pupils dig up buried 'bones' in a systematic manner and reconstruct the skeleton.
The bones can be arranged in the positions in which the creature 'died', and pupils can be encouraged to say how it might have become fossilised. Or, the bones can be jumbled up, to simulate erosion of the remains before burial. Some bones can be cut or broken, and pupils asked to think about the cause of death, such as predation.
This is one of many Earthlearningideas for young children. More can be found on our website.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Magnetic field of the Earth

New ELI today 'Why won't my compass work on the other side of the Equator? - understanding the three dimensional magnetic field of the Earth'. People who take their magnetic compass from one hemisphere to the other are often surprised that it doesn't work in both. The activity uses this finding as a prompt to explain the three-dimensional nature of the Earth's magnetic field.
Visit our website for more ideas about teaching Earth's magnetism.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Testing the strength of rocks

Have you tried the ELI 'Testing rocks - 1 bouncing back testing 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 we 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.
There are lots more ideas on our website.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Journey to the centre of the Earth - on a toilet roll

Today's new ELI is 'Journey to the centre of the Earth - on a toilet roll; just how thin is the crust we live on?' We seldom stop to consider the true scale of many features of the Earth. This activity aims to enable pupils to visualise the thickness of the crust in relation to the rest of the Earth. It also helps them to appreciate the difference in depth between the oceanic crust and the continental crust. It introduces the terms 'lithosphere' and 'asthenosphere' to help in understanding plate tectonic theory.
Other related activities about the structure of the Earth can be found on the  website.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Sorting out Earth events according to the time they take

A very popular ELI in October was 'How long does it take? - quick to very, very, very slow'. Some Earth processes are dangerously quick – but some are extremely slow. Help your pupils to understand how the rates of Earth processes differ by cutting out the cards provided and fitting them in the best places on the scale, also provided.

This is one of many ELI activities which help pupils to understand the enormity of geological time, all free to download from our website.