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Earth Learning Idea

Earthlearningidea logo

An initiative for the International Year of Planet Earth and beyond, Earthlearningidea has, according to one respondent among many, “been a source of inspiration” for puils and teachers alike. Elizabeth Devon explains.

Geoscientist Online 23 July 2009

Earthlearningidea,, is a voluntary initiative which brought a new Earth learning idea to Earth science educators across the world every week during 2008, the International Year of Planet Earth. The project continues with a monthly activity throughout 2009 and all previous activities remain live on the site.

The ideas are aimed primarily at classrooms with few or no resources and at pre-service teacher educators (to reach wide audiences). Global discussion around each idea is encouraged through a blog, By July 2009, 64 different activities had been posted. The Earthlearningidea refrain is:
  • an Earth science teaching idea at regular intervals;
  • at minimal cost, with minimal resources;
  • for teacher educators and teachers of Earth science through school-level science or geography;
  • an online discussion around every idea;
  • to develop a global network.

Interested educators from around the world subscribe free of charge and receive email updates when new items appear on the website. A list of keywords on the website means that a search can be made for particular topics. A list of supporters offering geoscience or educational expertise, is posted on the website. A separate list of those who have offered moral support is also maintained.

Activities range from simple investigations, such as ‘Earthquake prediction – when will the earthquake strike?’, using a pile of bricks and a piece of elastic, to ‘A landslide through the window’, where pupils are asked to envisage the scene if such an event should happen within range of their classroom.

Thanks to voluntary translators across the world, the activities are being regularly translated into Spanish, Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin Chinese and Portuguese.

Since the website was established in May 2007, it has received over 15,500 ‘hits’ from over 140 countries ( and the blog is being well patronised, with comments and ideas for extension work.

All activities are free to download. Do have a look at the site and contribute your own ideas to the blog.
  • For further information contact: Chris King, Peter Kennett and Elizabeth Devon Earth Science Education Unit, Keele University, U.K. [email protected]