by Neil Carleton, Metcalfe Geoheritage Park Committee
Last fall 15 loan collections of rocks and minerals were prepared for grade 4 classrooms as a pilot project of Canada’s first municipal geoheritage park. This winter each Rocks Box was tested at Huntley Centennial Public School, in Carp, by Lisa Gaudet and her grade 4 French immersion students.
As a component of the Ontario science and technology curriculum, the study of rocks and minerals in grade 4 introduces students to geology. The investigation, testing, and comparison of specimens in the classroom is important for learning about and understanding the physical characteristics of rocks and minerals.
The large Rocks Box display samples were a big hit with the students as an introduction to the rocks and minerals of our region. These ranged from metamorphic and igneous rocks of the Canadian Shield (marble, schist, gneiss, granite), about a billion years old, to the flat-lying sedimentary rocks under most of our farm fields (limestone, sandstone, shale), about 450 million years old.
The accompanying display labels with stands included the rock type and name (i.e. sedimentary limestone) + geological age (i.e. Ordovician Period) + look fors (i.e. brachiopod fossils).
Each Rocks Box includes a classroom set of hands-on specimens. Their study by the 49 grade 4 students in Lisa Gaudet’s two French immersion classes included drawing the samples and describing their surface features.
Classroom sets of testing samples enabled the students to investigate and compare the colour, streak, and hardness of the hands-on rocks and minerals.
They also tested for magnetism and how reflective the mineral surfaces were.
Studying the display samples, hands-on specimens, and testing material was a fun learning adventure according to the notes I received from the students. These are the first six comments I read:
… I like seeing rocks better in person than in pictures – Alex;
… so cool looking at them up close especially looking for fossils – anonymous;
… it was a lot of fun doing the tests – Hailee;
… the whole experience was AWESOME – Lucy;
… I liked how I got to see the rocks in real life instead of a photo – Maria;
… I liked it because you learned and had fun at the same time – anonymous.
The teacher’s feedback was equally encouraging. “The Rocks Box collections from Metcalfe Geoheritage Park are a great teaching resource. Everything is carefully prepared and organized for an exciting grade 4 study of rocks and minerals.” Lisa Gaudet, Huntley Centennial Public School, Carp.
The 15 Rocks Box collections are now available for teachers of grade 4 classes in the greater Almonte area.
Rocks Box 1 sedimentary rock – limestone – fossils: honeycomb coral
Rocks Box 2 sedimentary rock – limestone – fossils: cephalopod, crinoid, etc.
Rocks Box 3 sedimentary rock – limestone – fossils: brachiopods
Rocks Box 4 sedimentary rock – limestone – glacial striations
Rocks Box 5 sedimentary rock – sandstone – cemented sand grains
Rocks Box 6 sedimentary rock – sHALE – cemented silt and mud particles
Rocks Box 7 metamorphic rock – marble – formed from sedimentary limestone
Rocks Box 8 metamorphic rock – mica schist – formed from sedimentary shale
Rocks Box 9 metamorphic rock – gNEISS – formed from igneous or sedimentary rocks
Rocks Box 10 igneous rock – granite – formed from magma
Rocks Box 11 mineral – QUARTZ – one of the most common minerals of the Earth’s crust
Rocks Box 12 mineral – FELDSPAR – an abundant rock forming mineral
Rocks Box 13 mineral – MICA – a common sheet or flake mineral
Rocks Box 14 mineral – CALCITE – a common mineral of sedimentary limestone and metamorphic marble
Rocks Box 15 4 rocks and 4 minerals – TESTING SAMPLES – limestone, sandstone, shale, marble, quartz, feldspar, mica, calcite
Lisa Gaudet with the entire Rocks Box collection, which easily fits in a small vehicle.
Each Rocks Box includes teacher notes, classroom sets of hands-on + testing specimens, and a large display sample.
Hands-on specimens of Precambrian age mica schist, about 1 billion years old, from Rocks Box 8.
Display sample of Ordovician age fossiliferous limestone, about 450 million years old, from Rocks Box 3.
COST The loan collections are free. Donations for their upkeep are welcome.
LOAN PERIOD Each Rock Box can be borrowed for a day or so, or a week, or longer.
PICK UP 3 Argyle Street, Almonte.
RESERVATIONS By email or phone on a first-come-first-serve basis. Neil Carleton, Metcalfe Geoheritage Park Committee, 613-256-2018 home, 613-220-7765 cell, <email@example.com>
LESSON PLAN Please contribute a lesson plan to each Rock Box that your borrow.
Display Samples For classroom display and viewing only please.
Hands-on Samples No scratching or other marking please. For students to hold / study / measure / classify / describe / explain / draw / photograph.
Testing Samples Use the samples in Rocks Box 15 to test for hardness (scratch), or colour (streak test), or the presence of calcium carbonate CaCO3 (vinegar test).
FEEDBACK What did you like best, and least, about the Rock Box you borrowed? How could it be improved? Your comments / critique / review / suggestions are important.
1 Grade 4 Rocks and Minerals Activities FREE Science Teacher’s Association of Ontario
2 Grade 4 Rocks, Minerals, and Erosion FREE Department of Earth Sciences, University of Western Ontario http://www.ontariogeoscience.net/lessonplans/Grade4-Lesson1.pdf
3 Grades 4/5 Curriculum Planner Units FREE Rocks, Minerals, Erosion and Weather – When Disaster Strikes – Queen’s University http://orgs.educ.queensu.ca/curr/curriculum-planner-units.html
4 Grade 4 Rocks and Minerals Unit for the Ontario Curriculum $5 Teachers Pay Teachers
METCALFE GEOHERITAGE PARK
2016 opening http://metcalfegeoheritagepark.com/
2017 QR code system installed https://millstonenews.com/2017/08/qr-code-signs-installed-at-metcalfe-geoheritage-park.html
2017 QR code system inaugurated https://millstonenews.com/2017/09/geoheritage-park-inaugurates-qr-code.html
2017 website http://metcalfegeoheritagepark.com/