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Frequently Asked Questions

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  1. Why should students build Geoblox models?
  2. Can I copy the models?
  3. What grade level are these models for?
  4. How do I build the paper models?
  5. How do I glue the models?
  6. What if my students haven't finished building their models when the bell rings?
  7. What if my school can't afford cardstock?
  8. There is no way my students can make these models themselves. Can I still use Geoblox models to help them understand important concepts in geology?
  9. How do I make the cardboard models in the Topographic Landform Models and the More Topographic Landform Models books?
  10. Where can I get cardboard?
  11. Do I have to use cardboard to make the Topographic Landform Models?
  12. Do I have to use an X-acto knife to make the Topographic Landform Models?
  13. Are you crazy? You let eighth graders use X-acto knives in class?

Why should students build Geoblox models?

Because geologic features are three dimensional. Textbook pictures help students visualize concepts, but they cannot provide a three dimensional view. Also, many need to be able to feel an object to really understand it. Geoblox models provide visual and tactile learners with a way to fully participate in the learning process.

Geoblox models also provide opportunities for developing higher order thinking skills. The structural geology models in Geology Block Models can be used to introduce ordering geologic events. Students then draw their own 'ordering events' diagram on the blank model in this book. Their diagrams must make sense on all sides. If I cannot figure out what geologic events occurred in what order within 60 seconds, the student gets a 100 for the six weeks. I use this activity as a test grade.

Each model in the Topographic Landform Models  includes two higher order thinking questions. You could also have them draw and build the maps adjacent to their model. They will definitely understand contour lines by the time this activity is over!

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Can I copy the models?

Yes. You may make as many copies as you want so long as the copies are for classroom use and not for resale.

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What grade level are these models for?

I designed most of the models to use with eighth graders (age 13), but many students from grades 5-12 have had success building Geoblox models. The Paleozoic Marine Life models were designed with late elementary school students in mind.

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How do I build the paper models?

  1. Take a look at these step by step instructions.
  2. Color the models first. Don't waste time trying to color within the lines at the edges of each model.
  3. Cut along the solid lines.
  4. Crease along the dashed lines with the blunt end of a pair of scissors or the tip of an empty ball point pen. By taking the time to crease the dashed lines, you will have a much easier time folding the glue tabs over.
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How do I glue the models?

Use very little glue. The biggest problem I have is getting kids to use less glue on each tab.

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What if my students haven't finished building their models when the bell rings?

Have your students bring toddler-size shoe boxes to carry their colored pencils, scissors and glue to class every day. Unfinished models can go in the box at the end of the period.

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What if my school can't afford cardstock?

Ask to switch budgets with the athletic department.

Or:

Run off the model patterns on regular copy paper. Then have your students glue their paper to an old file folder or the cover of a magazine. This will help stiffen up the model.

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There is no way my students can make these models themselves. Can I still use Geoblox models to help them understand important concepts in geology?

Go to your local copy store and enlarge the models onto poster board.  I usually allow a couple of my students to make up a big display model while the rest of class makes the regular sized models. When I discuss the geologic feature, I have a model that can be clearly seen from the back of the room.

These over-sized models were enlarged 200%

Students with Plate Boundary model

Here's another possibility; run the pattern onto a transparency and use an overhead projector to enlarge it onto a piece of poster board. Just be sure to lock the wheels on the overhead projector cart. Work fast! Someone is bound to bump into the cart and mess up your drawing.

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How do I make the cardboard models in the Topographic Landform Models and the More Topographic Landform Models books?

Take a look at these step by step instructions. Here are some more hints on construction of the cardboard landform models:

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Where can I get cardboard?

I just tell my students they each need to bring in some cardboard by a certain day. Each model lists the number of square inches of cardboard needed. To make the display models, I used cardboard purchased at the Container Store in Austin TX. Each sheet (36"x48") cost about $1.49.

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Do I have to use cardboard to make the Topographic Landform Models?

No. These models can also be made out of poster board. Students can use scissors to do this. Use folded up pieces of poster board as spacers to hold the levels a little apart from each other.
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Do I have to use an X-acto knife to make the Topographic Landform Models?

No. My daughter made one of the harder models from that book using foam meat trays and a blunt pair of scissors. At the time she was only in fourth grade.

Meat tray Alluvial Fan model

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Are you crazy? You let eighth graders use X-acto knives in class?

Actually, I have not had any real problems with my students using the knives. Some hints for safe and successful topographic landform model lessons:

In case of a minor accident, I suggest doing the following:

Geoblox assumes no responsibility for injured customers or students.

 
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Copyright © 1998  [Geoblox]. All rights reserved.
Revised: March 13, 2008 .