Teaching about Earth Science can be fun and I was able to accomplish an interest in something that I thought was really boring when I was a student. I find myself in 6th grade science which is all about layers of the earth, rock cycle, rock formation et al. Now when I hear someone who is a geologist speak, I think it's very cool and enjoy what they have to say. But thinking that I could make geology sound the least bit interesting is a whole other proposition.
But I knew I had to put forth my best effort. I dug into every kind of active learning I could think of. I research what Dinah Zike offers, what the publishing companies had to offer in the way of labs and what the cool new science magazines were touting.
Dinah Zike, bless her heart, is an answer to this teacher's prayer. Using her book, Big Book of Science for Middle and High School, I adopted her ideas for making a layered book for Layers of the Earth, of course. I never dreamed that coloring the outside of a booklet would inspire my students to fill it with facts. United Streaming has wonderful videos that give life to my otherwise dull rendition of how these layers come to be.
Thinking that this went pretty well, I launched into rock cycle with more enthusiasm than I thought was possible. I never imagined that they would completely "get into" the cycle of rocks. Well, neither did I. But using Zike's ideas of cutting and coloring engaged my 6th grade students again. So I used her Big Book of Earth Science to find some pictures of the 3 types of rock. Who cares I thought? But when I told the kids that I needed to "see" the way things were down below the surface, they took so much interest in coloring. Now I had to ham it up quite a bit, so I made a big deal of coloring so we could see convection currents and see the rock under all that pressure...and how the heat melted solid rock. Who knows if we really portrayed it correctly!!! But I know that my students have more than rote knowledge of how everything erodes and melts and cycles. What else is there to this?????
What still frustrates me is how to bring the information from science magazines into their world. I think I could modify the language well enough to have them understand it, but it's the color and the 3D aspects of the literature that is amazing. I have thought of using my VideoFlex to show them the pictures, but it doesn't seem like it will do enough.