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Q for the teachers. Yr 7 volcano model

(35 Posts)
bonkers20 Thu 02-Jun-11 20:45:49

My DS is in yr 7. His geography HW is to make a model of a volcano. What is the point of this? I think he can learn what he needs to know by drawing and labelling a picture of one. It's not art where he's learning about different materials or what have you.
Model making is a chore. We are not crafty people so we need to get supplies which is a pain. I'm having trouble explaining to my DS why it's a good thing for him to do.

LynetteScavo Thu 02-Jun-11 20:47:42

It impresses prospective parents when they are looking around the school.

(Disclaimer I am not a teacher, just a parent easily impressed by 3D models)

bonkers20 Thu 02-Jun-11 21:05:26

Yes, but there are no prospective parents looking around in the last 1/2 term of the school year! Try again!

DeWe Thu 02-Jun-11 21:06:04

Dd1 was meant to do this is in year 3. Luckily for her (we're not crafty people either) her teacher added they could do a project on it as an alternative. She felt particularly pleased she'd chosen this when she saw the other classes struggling in with fragile models. grin
Could he do a project with a cross section drawing instead?

Goblinchild Thu 02-Jun-11 21:07:43

smile Do you want a teacher answer, or do you just want to let off steam and have a wine ?

bonkers20 Thu 02-Jun-11 22:27:53

I want a teacher answer please! Letting off steam and having a wine is a good alternative though in absence of this. Where are all the teachers then?!

desperatelyseekingsnoozes Thu 02-Jun-11 22:30:44

I do not teach Geography but I know ours do this task.

It is another and memorable method of learning and it is a task that lots of them love to do. I am not sure if there is another option at our school.

Abelia Thu 02-Jun-11 22:37:57

oh good grief. I'm not a teacher or the parent of a secondary school child but this just seems to be a waste of most people's time and frankly something that should remain in primary school.

I do remember that in one subject at my school (talking 20 yrs ago now) with a notoriously slack teacher, we were always given the option to draw a picture or write about the topic, for our homework. Cue 29 people doing pretty pictures and me doing some writing.

Many children will not "love to do" this sort of thing. Making a model volcano would have taken me hours and had me weeping into my papier mache whereas writing about it or doing a simple cross section would have been waaay more satisfying, detailed, rigorous and useful, and yes, quicker.

Do other people really not think that this is just dumbing down and down and down. 11 and 12 yr olds do not need to be given this sort of work outside of art lessons.

OP, get him to do a good drawing, clear labels and a few paras about the subject. What's not to like about that?!

bonkers20 Thu 02-Jun-11 22:38:19

Yeah, but what's the POINT?!

Hullygully Thu 02-Jun-11 22:44:07

As a veteran of models of mosques, alternative energy source powered islands, space station models, remote powered craft etc, I can confidently say it's to give the teachers a laugh.

Goblinchild Thu 02-Jun-11 22:44:25

I'm a teacher, which is why I was asking. smile
There are different ways of remembering information, labelling a diagram is 2D and visual.
To make a model of a volcano, he should research different types and decide which one he's making.
Then you can use different materials to build up layers, create the magma chamber, decide the different pipes and where the lava will flow.
All this creates a more meaningful and 3D representation of the volcano in the memory. He will remember better that each eruption leaves a deposit of ash and lava, changing the size and shape of the volcano, that the magma chamber is the source of the magma which erupts...all sorts of essential information if he is to understand volcanoes. If he's going to choose GCSE geography, he'll be covering this again.
You don't need special materials other than a bit of glue; newspaper, bubble wrap, cardboard, plastic bottle, that sort of stuff.

Goblinchild Thu 02-Jun-11 22:46:10

'oh good grief. I'm not a teacher or the parent of a secondary school child but this just seems to be a waste of most people's time and frankly something that should remain in primary school. '

That's why i asked if you wanted a real answer or just a rant and some wine I'd hate to get in the way of a real frothing-at-the-mouth session.

bonkers20 Thu 02-Jun-11 22:51:37

My "what's the point" comment was aimed at snoozes not abelia BTW!
OK, now to read what the point is.....

bonkers20 Thu 02-Jun-11 22:56:17

Nice link goblin. To make the fissure one he just needs some cake and jam I think.
Maybe marshmallow, then lemon curd, more marshmallow then chocolate sponge. Sorted.
Seriously, I see what you're saying, however for DS I know he's just going to get in a right flap and end up not actually focussing on learning what he's making. I think he'd learn more with a 2D drawing. He does love art and is good at it so it's not as if he's not creative.

Abelia Thu 02-Jun-11 23:06:06

the thing is you talk about how they will remember lava flow and ash deposit, magma chamber etc via the medium of model making... but this is to be achieved by using bubble wrap, newspaper, cardboard etc. Perhaps it is because I am artistically hopeless but if a teacher gave me now or 20 yrs ago this selection of materials and asked me to make a volcano and thought that this would help me remember all about volcanoes, they would be very mistaken. The angst of trying to create a decent enough model not to be laughed out of the classroom would be all that would remain with me. If however they suggested I write about the process, reference a recent or famous eruption and its effects and draw a cross section with labels (colouring in optional wink) that would have a better and longer term effect.

So my frothing at the mouth rant is about this being given as a blanket task - everyone must make a model. Well perhaps different people would learn better with different tasks - write, draw, create. But asking us all to make a model is misguided imo. Rant over!

missmakesstuff Thu 02-Jun-11 23:07:12

abelia I am an art teacher and I think it's a bit patronising to suggest that model making is a primary school task which shouldn't be carried on into secondary school - (oh, except art of course, cause that's just messing about and colouring in) and nothing can be learnt or remembered by making a model - Things like this do have a point - and whilst some, like you, learnt from writing about a topic, some would learn better from doing, re-creating a 3d model from a diagram or photograph, as they are kinasthetic learners.

Then there are the others that will learn from looking at the model and seeing it work. and those that just like making a mess and making trouble for their parents over half term

Speaking as someone that has half of year 7 in my art room painting these volcanoes and mosques, I would be very happy to see just one cake version!

missmakesstuff Thu 02-Jun-11 23:10:01

sorry, x posts, but do you think teachers have the time to divide up the whole class into the 5 different types of learner and give them different tasks for the hols, whilst trying to avoid parents asking why their child has been given a much more difficult/time consuming task than others? Would be lovely if we did, but not very likely!

Abelia Thu 02-Jun-11 23:14:35

missmakesstuff - definitely not my intention to patronise or come across that way. I was hopeless at art (we were never taught it, just expected to create with nil direction or input from our teacher) and so I definitely have a bit of a chip on my shoulder about it. I think art is fabulous and would love to be any good at it. That includes model making, which I don't think should be confined to primary school per se.

But I do think that telling the whole class to make a model as a supposedly easy task to assist with their learning is short sighted and errs on the side of "this is easy and you will like doing it" which is in itself rather patronising. If I had been in an art class and shown model making, techniques, ideas and given this as homework then fine. But sitting in a Geography lesson learning about volcanos and then told to make a model of one doesn't take the learning from that lesson and extend it. It asks pupils to show that they know what a volcano looks like in a one-size-fits-all way. Some people will love the model making and excel at it. Others will sweat blood and tears over it and still produce a rather mediocre result and not have shown that they have understood what they were taught and taken that learning further.

vintageteacups Thu 02-Jun-11 23:14:44

Just get some card from the recycling bin, make it into a cone shape and then get your ds to paint/colour it in. Perhaps, he could stuff some orange tissue paper out of the top as if it's erupting.

Aha!! Or (b), get him to draw one on the pc and if the teacher said it had to be a model, get him to tell the teacher it's a computer model.

Abelia Thu 02-Jun-11 23:18:00

x-post. No, I am not expecting teachers to divvy up the types of work and allocate them themselves. But I think it would be good if pupils were given the option to extend themselves in different ways. So the homework is to produce something about volcanoes (yes I know that's too vague). The medium is up to the pupil - written, spoken, video, montage, model. Everyone has to demonstrate understanding of how volcanoes happen, the differing parts, their effects on local population etc. Would that work? (genuine question)

Loshad Thu 02-Jun-11 23:19:31

playdough is your friend here.
I'm a teacher and i hate it when my dc get model making homeworks - takes hours for the amount of learning involved.
Set them once per 7 years of schooling myself (model of a cell y7 second homework, then never again)

vintageteacups Thu 02-Jun-11 23:20:01

Oh wow!!!

This is sooooo easy and your child will get so many points for doing this.

home made volcano experiment

Get him to get all of the tray/soil/jar and ingredients at home and then take them to school and do the experiment in class.

So easy - I might do it with the kids tomorrow.

Goblinchild Thu 02-Jun-11 23:22:08

I have an entire geology lesson I teach with different forms of chocolate and sweets. Very memorable. My DD did make her volcano out of cake. With labels.
One of the things about being a successful learner is to be able to use different learning styles. Which means practising them.
If you are a visual learner and only ever use that strategy, you are losing out on being able to apply kinaesthetic or auditory skills. So your learning style is incomplete.
We give different learning tasks as homework, but the children have to choose one from each category over the half term. They can't always choose to draw a picture. Part of the job as a teacher is to broaden children't learning experiences.

Have some wine wine wine and dig out the bubble wrap.

Loshad Thu 02-Jun-11 23:24:13

vintage - a time honoured bit of fun but unlikely to be in sufficent depth for the op's ds

Goblinchild Thu 02-Jun-11 23:25:52

'But I think it would be good if pupils were given the option to extend themselves in different ways. So the homework is to produce something about volcanoes (yes I know that's too vague). The medium is up to the pupil - written, spoken, video, montage, model. Everyone has to demonstrate understanding of how volcanoes happen, the differing parts, their effects on local population etc. Would that work? (genuine question)'

It's a great idea, and that's what some of our learning tasks involve. But some children would always do a powerpoint for everything.
So we try and encourage them to think more diversely and rise to a challenge with confidence.

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