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A weblog designed to share Geography resources with students and colleagues

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A silly idea

How can making a snowman help my students? I feel slightly embarassed at sharing this, but it was a bit of a eureka moment today. I should probably explain...
I was out in a near blizzard today with my son and daughter. Apart from my son trying to sabotage my hood to put snow in my neck (in fairness, he was only trying to get his own back), we made an enormous snowman. The snow was really easy to pack, maybe because it was falling on a previous layer.
As we rolled the snow, our tiny snowball quickly began to grow, but as it did, it morphed from something White and beautiful to an off-white, speckled mess. My son was quick to point out that half the park seemed to have become embedded in the body of our snowman.
We looked at what we had collected. There was a fair bit of mud, lots of odd stones randomly scattered, leaf debris and pieces of wood. We managed to patch him up, but our course of destruction couldn't be disguised. A straight line of pastel green (some hardy snowflakes had managed to cling to the grass) betrayed the course we had taken. So, back to the question. How does this help my class, an S3 Geography class studying glaciation? My first thought was how quickly and easily our packed snow cleared everything in it's path. Our tiny snowball gained mass (corrie glacier) and soon had the power to strip out nearly everything in it's path (erosion). It took a fair chunk of the path with it (transportation), some hidden within and some clearly visible (supraglacial?). If the logical thought says that the snowman will melt over the next couple of days, some of that mud will seep out in the melting water (fluvioglacial) and a fair amount will be dumped in situ, most probably the heaviest mud and stones from deep within (till). If I hadn't rolled, but had pushed the snow, I would have banked all this rubbish at the front (terminal moraine). OK, so the last one is stretching it a bit...So there you have the simplest homework you are ever likely to set. Make a snowman to learn the basics of
glacial erosion, transportation and deposition ;-) Sent from my iPod

Posted via email from Mr O'D's class posterous


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