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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Journey to the Center of the Earth

We've moved from the water cycle, to the layers of the atmosphere, and now into the layers of the earth and the rock cycle. Mr. Finn is really in his element. He is, after all, a certified high school science teacher. In Biology and Earth Science. He LOVES science. Maybe his favorite thing of all, could perhaps be: rocks. Yeah. Our house is full of rocks. Actually, let me clarify. Our TWO houses are full of rocks. In our house in Cherryfield, we literally have boxes and boxes of rocks. Heaven forbid we ever have to move again.

Mr. Finn loves talking about the Earth and its complexity, design and uniqueness. He also happens to be quite hilarious. I wish I could remember the exact dialogue that was going on in these pictures, but it had to do with a hole through the center of the Earth and a whale coming out of the hole and hitting Johnny in the face. I know. Crazy. But kids are so inquisitive that invariably questions like: Can you dig a hole to China? come up. And Mr. Finn uses them as a way to teach all the principles at work on a scientific level.
This is about the whale hitting Johnny in the eye. Teressa, Johnny's sister, found this absolutely hysterical. As did everyone else. I wish I had been on the other side to see all their faces.
I love the layers of questions as much as I love the layers of the Earth. Kids are so curious and we take questioning as an important part of learning, so we never treat any real question as unimportant. They want to know why we don't feel ourselves moving if the Earth is spinning so fast. They want to know if people on the other side of the Earth are 'upside down'.
Mr. Finn talked about the proof of the earth's layers, evident by volcanic eruptions. It's hard for kids to imagine liquid rock but they know all about volcanoes so the bells go off. By the time we were through, the kids had a much better understanding of why we could not drill a hole through the Earth to the other side. Have you ever tried to dig a hole in water? was one of the questions he asked them.

At the end we did a quick model of the layers. We try not to do the Crayola Curriculum, but sometimes you do need to have a little craftiness involved in your lessons. The kids needed to work on the layers and what the consistency of each layer is, so for example, they wrote: Inner Core, solid.
I really wish I'd had Mr. Finn as my science teacher when I was in school. Not only would I have learned a natural wonder would have been encouraged rather than stifled. I think a lot of elementary teachers neglect science and math because they feel a little challenged or threatened by it, so it often gets short shrift. Not in our school. I think because I can't go back and have Mr. Finn as my teacher, I did the next best thing. I married him!

1 comment:

  1. What an interesting science lesson about this unique planet in which we live that is called Earth. The combination of Mr. Finn's vast knowledge about the Earth, along with all those impressive questions would have made learning so much fun. This is what it's all about, right?
    Thank you for a great posting and terrific photos too. I like the very last picture of Jayde with her model, the most. Such a heart-melting cutie pie!