During the recent BC provincial professional development day (October 19), the Pacific Museum of the Earth hosted an Earth Sciences teacher training weekend. Over 40 teachers from Montessori, public and private elementary schools in the Lower Mainland attended. Friday and Sunday featured ~1.5hr geochemistry workshops given by a PCIGR staff member and one of the Department’s Teaching and Learning Fellows.
The teachers learned about elements and compounds, the periodic table, qualitative and quantitative properties, the composition of the Earth, and the numerous applications of geochemistry. Hand samples of native elements and minerals were passed around and discussed. The teachers enjoyed watching videos about the elements and the increasing reactivity of the alkali metals (exploding bathtubs!). They also took part in fun activities that included piecing together all 118 known elements to create an 8 foot wide periodic table, and spelling with the elements (the best word of the weekend was Th-U-Nd-Er; and a few teachers could even spell their names using elements: Er-I-Ca, S-H-Au-Na).
At the end of the day, the teachers brainstormed and shared how they could use/adapt the workshop activities and resources in their classrooms. Each participant went home with Theodore Gray’s photographic card deck of the elements and periodic table wall poster, made possible by funding from the Canadian Geological Foundation.