Volcanoes on the Beach? by: Katrin Kleinert

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How could a rock formed by volcanic activity get to this shoreline, surrounded by sedimentary rocks? That was the question a group of third-grade students asked—and answered—during an inquiry-based summer camp. Over a two week timeframe, the students practiced basic inquiry skills such as observing; measuring; describing and drawing; sharing tasks in a team; and applying physical principles to field observations along the Baltic Sea coast in northern Germany. Through this activity, common rocks in the children’s environment obtained new meaning for them, and at the same time, scientific skills of observation and reasoning were strengthened.

  • Elementary
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Reviews (3)
  • on Fri May 10, 2013 12:09 PM

Students in a summer camp students investigated glacial erratic boulders, rocks that were formed elsewhere and deposited on top of older sedimentary layers by glacial action during a field trip to a beach where this was a typical geological feature. These children were third graders in Germany. Children learned scientific skills such as classification and observation. A similar activity could be developed in the USA by “salting” or planting these types of rocks among others in a small area.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Thu May 12, 2011 10:43 AM

Katrin Kleinert , a geologist and science education researcher from University of Keil in Kiel, Germany takes young students through solving a mystery of how igneous rocks were found on a beach far from where they originated. Students began with studying ideas about how igneous rock formed and what they looked like. They applied this information to exploring glacial till on their field trip.

Arlene Jurewicz Leighton
Arlene Jurewicz Leighton

  • on Wed Jan 08, 2014 12:26 PM

This article about finding all types of rocks on the same beach in Germany describes how third grade students explained this phenomenon. The articles gives background information to help you the teacher explain it to your students. If you live in the Great Lakes area of the US this might be an excellent lesson to try!!

Betty Paulsell  (Kansas City, MO)
Betty Paulsell (Kansas City, MO)

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