The layered structure of the Earth, which consists of a core, mantle, crust, hydrosphere, and atmosphere, is basically controlled by specific gravity. Although a teaching material to aid understanding of the development of this structure has been developed, it has a disadvantage for classroom teaching because it involves mercury. We improved the teaching material by substituting powdered stainless steel for mercury. In order to ascertain the effectiveness of the development, we carried out a questionnaire survey, and the results showed no marked decrease in the usefulness of the material. But in contrast, when experiencing this material before experiencing the hanging-type educational material used to demonstrate specific gravity, for example, of woods and metals, the usefulness of the hanging-type material drops. When combining multiple sensory educational materials, it is important to harmonize the information on sense perceptions obtained from each material.
This study involved junior high school second grade (equivalent to eighth grade in the United States) students who learned about diagenesis and the packing of sandstone grains. By immersing sandstone specimens of various geologic ages in water, students could clearly note that a large amount of bubbles emerged from Quaternary sandstone, but far fewer to no bubbles emerged from Neogene and Cretaceous sandstones. Moreover, by verifying the presence of air in the spaces (pores) of the rocks and the amount of air bubbles released from each sandstone specimen, as well as the differences in the volume/size of these bubbles, most students were able to link diagenetic progression with change in pore size (porosity) and to visualize the process of diagenesis. In addition, students who had previously observed that granite has almost no spaces also noted that the differences in the degree of weathering of granite and sandstone were due to their different textures.
In this study, we developed a method of classifying pollen and spore fossils based on the size, shape, and arrangement of their pores and furrows; with the aim of developing teaching materials for the classification of these fossils obtained from Ametaki lacustrine deposits. Using the proposed method, the correct-answer rate of the classification by university students was better than 62%. The results of this study showed the effectiveness of using size, shape, and arrangement of their pores and furrows as the basis for classifying pollen and spore fossils; whereas it was often difficult to identify these characteristics using a glycerol-encapsulated sample, because the observation direction was fixed.