Worksheets and lesson ideas to challenge students aged 11 to 16 to think hard about the structure of the Earth, rocks, global warming and the changing atmosphere (GCSE and Key Stage 3)
The structure of the Earth
A great ‘Hook’ to get students to start thinking about the structure of the Earth is the Kola Superdeep Borehole in Russia. The deepest borehole is an astonishing 12,262 metres deep (deeper than the deepest ocean) and 23cm in diameter. And if you need some help appreciating just how deep this is, then use this awesome animation to journey to the centre of the Earth.
The rock cycle
Key Stage 3 worksheet on modelling the rock cycle. There are a number of different demonstrations you can use to model the rock cycle. I like the crayon rock cycle. Take time to ensure students are clear on what the different parts of the model represent. I’m not convinced that this works well as a whole-class practical as there is so much stuff to handle this can distract from the concepts we are wanting students to learn. (PDF)
Using ice cores to teach global warming, the green house effect and the evolving atmosphere
Ice cores represent a great way to study the Earth’s atmosphere. The ice encloses small bubbles of air that contain a sample of the atmosphere from back in time. Using chemical tests scientists can then measure directly the past concentration of gases (including carbon dioxide and methane) in the atmosphere. Students can plot graphs using this data and then correlate carbon dioxide levels with average global temperatures. There is an excellent page on ice cores on the British Antarctic Survey website.