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Friday, May 19, 2017

GREAT 13-minute segment about Mars from "60 Minutes"

In case you missed it, this is a GREAT segment that includes several important Earth Science concepts - Earth's magnetic field, plate tectonics, law of superposition, erosion, meteorites, etc. Consider showing it as you teach about the rock cycle. Here are some possible questions to guide a discussion after showing it.

1. Is there a "rock cycle" on Mars?
2. How is it different from the rock cycle on Earth? What processes are missing?
3. Is there molten rock on Mars?
4. Are there metamorphic rocks on Mars?
5. What drives the rock cycle on Earth?

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Convection - The straw that stirs the drink.

Whether you're talking atmosphere, oceans, or mantle, one of the most important processes in Earth systems is convection. Here is one of our favorite activities for our freshmen Earth Science students at Helena High. The lab, which has two parts, allows students to see convection as it happens. The part shown in the video below focuses on helping students understand the role convection plays in causing wind. The box of water represents air.

The lab comes in a kit we purchase from WARD'S Natural Science, which includes this 2-part activity plus another activity related to ocean currents. The kit is called "Exploring Convection." To make the blue ice cubes, add 3 drops of food coloring to each empty cube mold in an ice cube tray, add water, and freeze.

CLICK HERE to see a video of "Part I".

CLICK HERE to see a video of the other lab included in the kit (related to ocean currents).