Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Getting active with volcanoes

I'm lucky (in more ways than I can think of) to be married to a very creative and hard working primary school teacher. Lucy is also a Geography graduate so understands why I get excited about mountains, moraine and mounds of data.

She also much better than I am at persevering with creative ideas. The photo below of the cut out globe with the different layers of the earth from crust to core took hours of drawing, painting and cutting. The globes behind are the attempts by her Year 5 class. 

Mrs Monteith's cut out globes.

I'm thinking of using the globe idea next year as an alternative to the cut-out-and-stick-together paper earth cross section I got the year 8's to do this year. It's a little bit different and builds on the 3D cross sections that a few of the BBC clips use.

A few other ideas that went down pretty well in explaining tectonics and earthquakes:

The humble Jammy dodger

I had great expectations of this being a neat and tasty way of simulating plate boundaries. A constructive plate boundary could be simulated by breaking the biscuit in the middle and as it is pulled apart the red jam simulates the magma filling the void between the plates. The destructive was the two parts of the biscuits coming together and the heavier side being pushed underneath the lighter one. The conservative boundary relied on the two sides of the biscuits catching on each other until enough force is applied that they shift past violently. Perhaps due to my choice of imitation, poorer quality Jammy dodger biscuits the reality was a little different: the magma didn't really ooze out in many of the biscuits and the conservative boundary resulted in desks full of crumbs and biscuit dust. should have know own brand wouldn't be up to the mark. Still a useful aid which reinforced the hand movements for plate boundaries we had learnt in an earlier lesson.

Seismograms as sound


My friend, Dr John Stevenson, is Post Doc researching volcanoes at Edinburgh Uni. He's a man who knows his magma and loves his lava, so his excellent blog is usually my first port of call for anything volcano/tectonic related. One particular blog post is about how he's converted the traces from seismograms into sound files. The three sound examples of an earthquake and volcano on his blog are a pretty neat way of highlighting the different types of movement inside the earth. I played the clips to the class one after another and got them to write down and describe what they thought was happening and which sound they found scarier. I didn't do so well in explaining that the sounds weren't actually real and should have made the link with the seismogram clearer. Another area of improvement for next time.

What to pack for an earthquake?

I've seen this used a few times now. The ideas is to get pupils to think about what 5 or so items they would pack in an earthquake emergency survival bag. I've done it before where we watch a clip of the Japanese tsunami raging through the towns before they pack the bag. This normally focuses minds on what essential items need to be included (although one lad still insisted on taking an RPG and set of mines - to much CoD). Higher ability pupils explain what they couldn't take and what they prioritised, whilst the film seems to be good at helping the lower ability pupils frame the problem and think of things for that specific problem. The BBC example of an earthquake grab bag gives them an idea of what is actually included.

Contents of a grab bag

Always keen to hear about other great volcano/tectonic activities and people's experience of using them.

No comments:

Post a Comment