Teachers put their minds on modeling the moon, and they really put themselves in the project! In one model, the observer’s head acted as the Earth, giving the full perspective of moon phases as seen from a point on Earth. In another model, a participant held the sun (a flashlight) to help reveal the reasons for solar and lunar eclipses. Evidence was gathered and claims were made about Earth’s orbital relationships with the moon and sun. Participants’ outlook on their ability to use hands-on, minds-on, inquiry-based lessons was already looking sunny.
From core to crust, participants mapped Earth and led colleagues on a tour of the planet from the inside out. They also determined which would best represent the Earth: a nectarine, an orange, a chocolate covered cherry, or an egg. Thickness and viscosity of layers was a talking point amongst participants as they chose the most appropriate model. Oranges – peeled and put back together – prompted discussions about tectonic plates, boundaries, and land formations. Further investigation of changes to the earth’s crust over time included models of primary (p) and secondary (s) waves, a sediment scavenger hunt, and an erosion study. By the end of the week, participants had a world of resources with which to explore earth science with their students.