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Ministry of Education.

Learning task 2

Expected time frame: 3-4 lessons

These learning activities are designed to enable students to understand the structure of planet Earth and how convection currents work. They provide engaging opportunities for students to revisit key vocabulary in interactive contexts, so that they can understand and use these confidently. They are also introduced to model explanation texts in oral and written contexts.

Ensuring learners know the content and language learning outcomes

Share the learning outcomes with your students, for example:

  • I know how planet Earth is structured
  • I understand how convection currents work
  • I can explain the structure of a volcano

Making the abstract concrete

1. Parts of a volcano

  • The hard-boiled egg analogy. Use a hard-boiled egg to demonstrate the earth's core, mantle and crust.
  • Dramatised listening. The purpose of this activity is to revise the vocabulary, by giving students a keyword to listen out for. Each time they hear 'their' word, students must perform a certain action which helps to demonstrate the meaning of the word. Divide the students into groups of 2 -3 students. Demonstrate the actions to do every time they hear their key word(s). Give students the time to practise their words - one word per 2 - 3 students (depending on class size.) See the Text Action (Word 41KB) .
  • As you read the text, students must react instantly to their keywords by doing the actions. The last student to respond is 'out'. Note: an extension of this activity is to give the students a sentence to say as they do their actions. For example: Convection currents could say: "We make the magma move around." The dramatised listening activity can be repeated several times, and students can be given different keywords, so that the vocabulary and the process are well rehearsed.
  • Students are given the text to read. They highlight the words from the listening, and tick them if they know what they mean or put a cross above them if they do not know the meaning. Students must learn the words for homework.

2. How convection currents work

  • Explain that you will conduct a Practical Experiment (Word 22KB) to show the students how convection currents work. Before conducting the experiment, explain what will be done in the experiment and asks students to predict the outcome. The students draw their predictions in twos or threes on large pieces of paper, and then share their predictions with other groups.
  • Students observe the experiment and test their predictions. The teacher explains the relevance of convection currents to volcanoes in making the mantle move.
  • Ask students to add the phrase 'convection currents' to their Words and Definitions Table (Word 39KB) and give them a definition.

Providing many opportunities for academic language use with a focus on using authentic language

3. How is the earth's mantle affected by convection currents?

The surface of the earth is made of plates which float on the mantle. The plates are always moving because the mantle is moving around. The mantle moves because hot mantle rises and cool mantle falls. The hottest mantle is near the core and the coolest mantle is near the crust. These movements of mantle are called convection currents. Convection currents cause the earth's plates to move so that volcanoes can happen. Volcanoes happen when the molten mantle escapes through gaps in the earth's crust.

Read the explanation text about the earth's mantle and convection currents. As the students listen, they write the underlined words on a blank diagram.

Give the students this text as a cloze task (Word 23KB) to read and complete.

The text could also be cut up and given as a Sequencing Activity (Word 34KB) or used as a dictogloss for revision.

Published on: 09 Jan 2018