(For pictures, click here.)
Our class met at Table Rock State Park in Pickens, SC. We started out in the classroom where Dr. Wagner from Clemson introduced us to rocks and minerals.
Our first activity was to be a rock. As a solid, we moved in place. As a liquid, we moved around. And as a gas, we had to get off the ground (but we really didn’t since we were in a small area). But if I did this with school age students, I think they would enjoy this activity.
Next we were given some minerals and asked to identify them if we could. Then Dr. Wagner identified them for us and explained how we could recognize them. We learned about quartz, feldspar, mica, and amphibole. Feldspar breaks along lines, and has a shiny flat surface at the cleavage. Mica is soft and breaks in sheets. Amphibole is dark colored and has a cleavage. Quartz is light colored and does not show shine at the cleavage.
Next, we learned about the difference of the three types of rocks.
1. Igneous rocks are from lava and then cooled. Examples are granite (continental crust) and basalt (oceanic crust).
2. Sedimentary rocks are layers of particles glued together by fluids from the materials. Examples are sandstone, limestone, conglomerates, and shale.
3. Metamorphic rocks – heat and pressure compress the particles so they are grown together but you can see an organized pattern due to the compression.
Then Dr. Wagner compared the rocks to food so that we could understand the concept of how they were formed.
1. Igneous rocks are like jello. Jello starts out in liquid form and is heated up and then cooled to become solid.
2. Sedimentary rocks are like fudge. At first it is creamy and then it becomes grainy and over a long period of time (about 3 months), it will become crystallized.
3. Metamorphic rocks are like a granola bar that has been stepped on. The layers are squished but they are compressed into an organized pattern.
Then we were given an activity which involved separating some rocks into the three different categories using the information that we were given. Our group had a great discussion on where they should go. Then Dr. Wagner gave us the correct answers and explained why.
In South Carolina, we will find sandstone, limestone, shale, granite, gneiss, schist, and amphibolite.
After lunch we gave a physical representation of the geological timeline. It was interesting to see where most of the geological changes took place on the timeline. This was a great activity to see visually how the earth has developed.
In the afternoon, we took a hike and looked at rocks in the environment. We saw how the rocks break and how it affects the water flow in creeks which in turn affect the rocks. What a great way to take our knowledge we gained in the morning and apply it to a real life situation. This was a great way to show relevance in the lessons and really was more meaningful to me as I saw how the information applied in the real world. I think because I was able to see the rocks in nature and learn how to identify them, I will remember this better than just looking at a textbook or seeing pictures or even handling samples of what they look like.
That was the end of Day 2 and it was wonderful! I’m really enjoying this course and it seems like the others are also. Next week we will be going to King’s Creek and Burrell’s Ford. I can’t wait to see what adventures are in store for us then!
Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original Image: Table Rock State Park by Pat Hensley