Teaching Earth Science – #ASEchat 01/03/13

Earth sciences tend to be the overlooked parts of science by many teachers, because of their overlap with the geological sciences taught in other subject areas. Despite their minimal appearance in the national curriculum, the chat tonight proved that many science teachers have a soft spot for this branch of science.

One of the clear threads to emerge from the chat was the number of practical activities and models that teachers are using to help teach ideas from Earth sciences. There were also other big ideas including the concept of change over billions of years (link to space science and evolution) and the development of scientific theories from data and evidence.

Favourite practical activities included:

hrogerson @cleverfiend glued lumps of sand or plaster of Paris in Pringles tubes. #asechat
needhamL56 @cleverfiend cooling Salol fast and slow for difft crystal size #ASEChat
Geol_2008 Rivers made of guttering to examine transport of sediment, destroying plaster of Paris cubes for erosion are good practicals #ASEchat
Mrz_Black @cleverfiend making fossils; sedimentary rocks, transportation, Xstallisation, volcanoes with water sand wax, lots of good stuff! #asechat
KDWscience @hrogerson @cleverfiend #asechat come back to my choc rocks for the different types of rock formation.
hrogerson @Mrz__Black making fossils- students love that! #asechat
AlexMsinclair @NeedhamL56 @cleverfiend Heating old glass rods in Bunsen and then putting in cold water to show mechanical weathering


Earth science was identified as having numerous opportunities for field work including rock visits, cave visits, beach walks, rock walks and looking at river beds etc. It was even suggested that you could look at the ecosystems of different rock types.

Useful links and resources:

cleverfiend http://www.tes.co.uk/teaching-resource/Teachers-TV-How-Science-Works-Journey-to-Etna-6044461/ Video with real scientists
NeedhamL56 http://www.earthscienceeducation.com/ Resources site
Hrogerson http://earthlearningidea.blogspot.co.uk/ Resources and teaching ideas
Geol_2008 http://www.geolsoc.org.uk/ks3/gsl/education/resources/rockcycle.html Rock cycle
Geol_2008 http://www.rsc.org/education/teachers/resources/jesei/ Ideas and resources
Geol_2008 http://www.bgs.ac.uk/discoveringGeology/home.html British Geological survey
Geol_2008 http://www.bgs.ac.uk/discoveringGeology/climateChange/climateThroughTime.html Free resources

Click here for my copy of the chat summary with links highlighted yellow and useful tweets highlighted orange.

Update: Submitted after this #ASEchat session closed – How the Earth works on the National STEM science site.


Published by Rob Butler

Ex-science teacher, ex-school leader and full-time geek.