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CPD Workshops for Teachers

Teaching the Dynamic Earth


Earth science workshops for England, Northern Ireland and Wales

KS3 Science

Investigating Earth's structure (90 minutes)
Try a series of 'hands-on' demonstrations and activities to highlight key aspects of the structure of the Earth and the evidence we have for this structure. The practical activities address common misconceptions about the state (solid/liquid) of the Earth's layers and about the thickness of the crust and the Earth's dimensions.

KS3/4 Science

The carbon question – cycling, releasing, capturing (90 minutes)
Try a series of 'hands-on' activities to investigate the processes and products of the carbon cycle and how they are recycled through both short and long duration cycles. Explore the implications of this cycling and human impacts on the effects through practical activities and thought experiments.

KS3 Science and Geography

Spot that rock: rock identification (60 minutes)
'Spot that rock' leads you step by step through a series of investigative practical activities that will allow you to teach pupils to investigate and sort most rocks from first principles (and distinguish them yourself). The techniques are then applied in describing and classifying a series of unknown rocks.

The dynamic rock cycle (90 minutes)
Try a series of 'hands-on' activities experimenting on and simulating the processes involved in the rock cycle.  Use the integrating model of the rock cycle as a means of encountering common rocks and Earth-processes in a practical, investigative way.

Earth science around your school (30 minutes)
See how Earth science principles can be illustrated out of doors, often without a rock in sight, and how pupils can be engaged in discussions about Earth processes and products.

Will my gravestone last? (at least 60 minutes if involving a visit to a local cemetery or town centre)
This is the basis of a 'field visit' to a local graveyard to use the wealth of opportunities available for scientific investigation, out of doors, in an Earth science context.

Any quarry guide: good questions to ask and answers at a quarry, cliff or rock face (at least 30 minutes, longer if involving a site visit)
You want to take your students on a field visit to a local rock exposure, but are not sure what to do with them when you get there.  This is a guide to the sorts of scientific questions you might ask to encourage them to investigate the rocks.  Some will be appropriate for your site, some won't.  Some require students to touch and examine a rock face closely; others can be answered from a safer distance.

KS3 Geography

The plate tectonics story (90 minutes)
'The plate tectonic story' workshop gets to grips with the wide-ranging evidence for the theory that underpins our detailed modern understanding of our dynamic planet – the theory of Plate Tectonics. The workshop begins with an introduction and progresses through a series of activities that are designed to help students develop their understanding. It uses several independent sources of evidence supporting the theory, including using rock and fossil evidence, seismic records, geothermal patterns, geomagnetism, and large-scale topographical features, both above and below sea-level. The workshop provides a reconstruction of plate movements over the past 450 million years which explains the record contained in the rocks of the UK - of an amazing journey across the face of our planet. It concludes by investigating some of the Earth hazards linked to plate tectonics, and how we can reduce loss of life.

Earth's surface activity – from quick to very, very slow (90 minutes)
Try a series of 'hands-on' activities to investigate key processes in physical geography relating to geological timescales; rocks and weathering; glaciation and hydrology. The activities promote discussion about important Earth-processes practical, investigative ways.

Extension Workshop Material for KS3 and KS4: Science in an Earth Context

The Earth Science Education Unit also offers workshops in ‘Science in an Earth Context’ for Biology, Chemistry and Physics, see Taster Activities for sample material.  However, these workshops carry a fee, so if you would like an ESEU Facilitator to present any of the workshops, please contact ESEU at for further details.

Resources to Accompany Workshop Material

England and Wales: a free CD ROM, with animations and high quality colour graphics is available with ESEU CPD delivery; includes workshop material for KS3, KS4 (examination specific) and Science in an Earth Context workshops. 

Northern Ireland:  a free CD ROM, with animations and high quality colour graphics is available with ESEU CPD delivery; includes workshop material for KS3, (Earth Science Through the Window) and material for KS4 CCEA examination specific (‘Life, Energy and Everything’ and ‘The Earth and Plate Tectonics’).

Earth Physics Workshops: ages 14-19 - please see attached flyer for details

  • Tackling Climate Change through Earth Physics
    How does climate change work and what can be done about it?
    Consider the physics behind how climate change could affect the Earth, before investigating different methods of generating power that have low greenhouse gas emissions. Finally, decide which power source would be most appropriate for your region.
  • The Seismology Story
    How are seismic waves generated and detected and what can this tell us about the Earth?  Try a range of activities, including some of those from the Gatsby Science Enhancement Programme’s ‘Seismology’ publication, to investigate how Earth physics can reveal crucial information about Earth processes and structure.
  • Earth Physics: the geophys story
    Try using the ‘Geophys’ of ‘Time-Team’ to detect ‘things beneath the ground’ in the same way as geophysical techniques find archaeological remains, buried infrastructure and natural resources.  These activities show how school physics is used in ‘real world’ situations.

Primary Workshops | Scottish Workshops | Earth Physics | ESEU Workshop Learning Outcomes