We have been watching the documentary series – How the Earth was made – it is fascinating and often talks about Plate Tectonics and how the different plate boundaries acted to create different land forms. So I thought it was time that we learnt about plate tectonics in a bit more detail. And luckily for me I happened to have the plate Tectonics, Volcanoes and Earthquake Topic Pack from Oaka Books at home.
We have used a number of Oaka Books topic packs before and we often use them in slightly different ways, depending on the topic, but every time I walk away feeling like they have done the job – the kids have understood the topic and retained the knowledge.
This time we jumped around a bit. We started with the volcano section – purely because it is what my youngest knows quite a bit about and I wanted to engage him and get him involved. We read the Volcano pages and then watched some more volcano clips and spoke more about the different types of volcanoes and how they formed based on plate boundaries and hot spots. And then we moved onto the structure of the Earth and plate boundaries.
For this I started with a lesson plan on BBC bitesize but my youngest struggled with that. He preferred the way the Oaka Books are set out – the colourful diagrams and summary points – so we ended up sticking to their explanations.
I also used some hard boiled eggs to show the kids how the earth’s crust is split into different sections and how when the sections meet different things can happen (if you apply pressure to a cracked egg shell you can get the shell to act in similar way to plate boundaries – one section of the shell going under another, two sections just sliding past, some sections sliding away – it can be quite a good visual example when you look at plate boundaries).
After working through the topic booklet both kids had a go at completing the volcano and plate boundary pages in the Write Your own Notes (we have not covered the earthquake section yet).
And my oldest actually took this a step further she decided to create her own notes to go into her own Geography book (an exercise book where she can make summary notes and draw diagrams of Geography topics that we cover). She wanted to have pages showing the different plate boundaries so she used the diagrams from the Topic Booklet and drew her own plate boundary diagrams. After drawing the 4 different diagrams she also wrote out a page of summary points, again using the Oaka Topic Booklet as her reference point.
After she had made her extra notes we also had a go at the learning game. Now I want to stress this, with all of the Oaka Books games you can play them part way through a topic (we have still not covered earthquakes yet) all you need to do is remove the question cards that deal with the section you have not covered. And we normally play these games multiple times so I know once we have covered earthquakes we will come back and replay this game.
The learning games that they include in the packs are always a massive hit with my kids. It is just a fun way of working through a topic and a great way to wrap up a topic.
For those of you who have not heard of or used an Oaka Books Topic Pack before here is a quick summary. They always consistof 3 items.
- Topic Booklet (which explains the concepts in key points with lots of illustrations).
- Write Your Own Notes (where the kids add in key words, sentences to a booklet which has the same illustrations as the topic booklet).
- Learning game / activity (dice based game where the answer questions about the topic).
We have used LOTS of these topic packs and every single time they have worked.
Suggestion – we keep all our topic packs on the kid’s bookshelves so they can refer back to them whenever they want.