A couple of nice activities using Oreo cookies (or in my case, cheaper alternatives).
Explain that the upper cookie is the lithosphere, the creamy filling is the asthenosphere, and the lower cookie is the lower mantle. Begin by simulating the motion of the rigid lithosphere plate over the softer asthenosphere by sliding the upper cookie over the cream. Then break the top cookie in half and simulate a divergent plate boundary by sliding the two cookie halves apart.
Push one cookie half under the other to make a convergent plate boundary.
Finally, simulate a transform plate boundary by sliding the two cookie halves past one another. Students should feel and hear that the two ‘plates’ do not glide smoothly past one another (thus modelling the earthquakes that occur at transform fault lines such as San Andreas).
Simply remove the top cookie to reveal the creamy filling beneath. Scrape away and shape the cream to show the phases of the moon. Students should draw the relative location of the Earth and label the phases. Great as a revision tool or plenary.
This is a great activity for introducing students to drawing force diagrams and resultant force. I have taken the idea directly from TES (the hugely popular original is available here) but I have made my own version in order to emphasise that the length of the arrow shows the size of the force. Obviously any music can be used to accompany it but I have always found that Gangnam Style works well (some of the students even do the dance moves as they jump about!).
Start the music, start the presentation and then jump in the direction of the resultant force. Have fun!
Simple to build and highly effective in illustrating transverse wave motion. Full instructions are available from the excellent STEM Learning website.
I have just started the topic of Motion with my Year 9 students and used an obstacle course as an active way to introduce speed, distance and time equations.
The students set up an obstacle course in the sports hall (balance beams, hopscotch, cones, a wall to climb over etc.) Then, working in pairs, one member of each team tackled the course whilst the other timed them and recorded how long it took to complete each section. The students also recorded the length of each section using a measuring tape e.g. balance beam = 3m, hoops = 8m.
Now that the students knew the distance and the time taken, they could work out the speed at which they completed each obstacle. Finally, the students were asked to plot a distance-time graph (which lead nicely onto the follow-up lesson in which we looked at motion graphs using DynaKars).
Canva is a free online graphic design tool which can be used to make beautiful posters, infographics, presentations and many other things. It is extremely simple to use and features a vast library of templates, fonts and photographs to choose from.
My AS level biology students have recently used Canva to create eyecatching infographics summarising the structure and properties of biological molecules. I think they look great!
Processes such as diffusion, osmosis, mitosis or life cycles can all be very effectively animated using an old-fashioned zoetrope. A template and full instructions are available from the Chamberlain Studios. They are great fun to build.
If you don’t have a microscope camera then smartphone cameras can be used to take surprisingly high quality micrographs. These micrographs of Eldoea leaf cells were taken by one of my AS level Biology students yesterday, using her Apple iPhone 6. At high power the cell walls and a large number of chloroplasts are clearly visible.
A fun introduction to changes in states of matter from Disney’s Frozen. What will happen to Olaf in Summer?
Central Africa’s Lower Congo River is home to an extraordinary assortment of fish—many truly bizarre. This video by Science Bulletins, the American Museum of Natural History’s current-science channel, features Museum scientists on a quest to understand why so many species have evolved there. It provides an excellent case study of allopatric speciation and helps to dispel the myth that populations only ever become isolated on islands. A Google Form worksheet to accompany the video is available here.
TED-Ed produce some really excellent educational videos. Here are just a few of my favourites…
How to speed up chemical reactions (and get a date)
Myths and misconceptions about evolution
How mucus keeps us healthy