• Harvey Thorleifson, Chair
    Minnesota Geological Survey
  • Carrie Jennings, Vice Chair
    Minnesota Geological Survey
  • David Bush, Technical Program Chair
    University of West Georgia
  • Jim Miller, Field Trip Chair
    University of Minnesota Duluth
  • Curtis M. Hudak, Sponsorship Chair
    Foth Infrastructure & Environment, LLC


Paper No. 1
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM


KING, Chris J.H.1, KENNETT, Peter2 and DEVON, Elizabeth2, (1)Earth Science Education Unit, Education Department, Keele University, Keele, ST5 5BG, United Kingdom, (2)Earth Science Education Unit, Keele University, Keele, ST5 5BG, United Kingdom,

The International Geoscience Education Organisation (IGEO) submitted a bid for International Year of Planet Earth (IYPE) funding, to present Earth science teaching workshops, based on the Earth Science Education Unit (ESEU) model, to teachers in four developing countries; but this bid failed. This focussed the minds of three ESEU facilitators on what they could do for the IYPE, on a voluntary basis. The result is Earthlearningidea.

The initial plan was to publish a new activity every week on the website during IYPE, 2008. Each activity presented Earth science in an interactive inquiry-based way that would educate and motivate pupils, whilst developing their thinking and investigative skills. These were aimed at teachers and teacher trainers in developing countries and so used simple apparatus that might be available in classrooms with few resources, whilst focusing on fairly simple ideas.

This was successful, although analysis of the internet data showed that Earthlearningidea activities (ELIs) were being accessed more frequently in developed countries than in developing countries. So the decision was made in 2010 to add ELI+ activities to the list. These use more sophisticated apparatus, of the type likely to be found in ordinary secondary (high) school science labs, as well as more abstract ideas. As education progresses in developing countries, teachers there should be able to use these activities too.

The Earthlearningidea statistics for June 2011 show:

  • ELIs in English are currently being published at one per fortnight;
  • 108 English activities have so far been published – with more in the pipeline;
  • ELI pdf files have been downloaded more than 400,000 times, with the 38,000 downloads of February 2011 being the best month so far;
  • ELI has been accessed in 166 countries and more than 8000 cities globally;
  • ELIs have been translated into seven other languages, Spanish, Norwegian, Italian, Portuguese, German, Chinese (Mandarin) and Tamil;
  • ELIs have been used as the basis of teacher education workshop in at least six countries worldwide.

This success shows:

  • that maybe failing in a big bid is the stimulus you need to develop creative solutions to problems;
  • there is enormous power in working on a voluntary basis, since it encourages others to contribute, also in a voluntary way.
Meeting Home page GSA Home Page