One great thing about our learning community is the range of knowledge and resources within it. J’s grandpa is a retired teacher and geologist so we made plans for Grandpa Tom to share his love of rocks with each of our classes. Part of the plan included gifting each child a rock collection.
In anticipation of our collection, each child decorated their “rock box.” Inside each lid, J’s mom included a key of the 6 type of stones we would soon learn about. The key included a “polished mystery rock” and an online source to try identify it.
Children were mesmerized as “Granpda Tom” led our circle, sharing stories and a wide range of rocks, fossils and geo stones. Tom’s grandson assumed the honored assistant role, as we did a sink or float experiment. We guessed which rocks would dive down to the bottom of the giant jar and which would buoy up to the top.
Tom’s story of a man first discovering the hidden beauty of a rock impressed the wide-eyed listeners.The man wanted a cow to get out of his way and the cow wouldn’t budge. So the man did something unfriendly and tossed an ordinary looking rock at the cow. He missed the cow and instead, the rock landed hard on the ground, breaking open. As the man approached the split rock, he found a geode inside! (And the cow got to graze on at its own pace without injury).
Tom also shared fossilized dinosaur poop (coprolite) which fascinated the captive audience. Tom named that it was real dino poop that had changed over time and then passed the coprolite around the circle for each child to handle. The first child held it with both hands, looked closely at it with a furrowed brow, and then brought it up to their nose to sniff, discovering, “Dinosaur poop doesn’t stink!”
Here’s a clip of children sorting their stones to match the corresponding key:
Following snack, we checked out a variety of stones outside. Children used their newly acquired pocket magnifiers to take a closer look. They observed similarities and differences among stones and shared myriad questions with Tom who welcomed their enthusiasm and encouraged ongoing inquiry.
Thanks to J’s family for supporting HFP’s commitment to loving and preserving the earth– one rock at a time.