The eternal battle. What makes the best ‘sand’ in a classroom? Actual sand surely. But is actual sand the most fun way of having ‘sand’ in the classroom?
For 4 years, I have been experimenting with different options for a lesson on spit formation with year 7. I used sand the first year and was disappointed about how worried pupils were about touching it, apparently, it looked dirty 🙂 then I tried the popular sweet Millions. Massive fan of these and the perks of having some left over at the end was nice, but creating depositional landforms was not their forte, they tended to roll away! Then I tried old school sherbet dip daps, cheap, sand like and ideal for the smaller little spits I was after. I was happy with these until a discussion with my head of department about differentiation got me thinking. Every pupil was making effectively the same spit with very little extension possibilities.
So I scoured the land and stumbled upon Wham sherbet, sherbet all the same but with larger pieces of popping candy embedded with it. These varied pieces, when given to the more able pupils, allowed them to look at sorting the size of material, depending on where in the spit they think longshore drift would have taken it. This allowed a little bit of challenge for those who had studied Coasts at Primary school but still enabled the fun element of the lesson to happen.
In the lesson, we watched a clip of how spits forms, photo analysed a few images, looked at how longshore drift created them, then, with the Wham sand, each pupil created images for a flip book showing how spits form. They took pictures of the images and their homework is to use the photos to create a 6 slide flip book of spit formation along with labels, description and explanation.
Just to clarify, why use sherbet rather than real sand? The pupils can eat the spit. Winners all round.
Here is one pupil’s attempts at the flip book images.
And here is the Wham sherbet itself, 30p a fountain and one of them gives enough for 4 pupils to make spits.