Student Projects

Rock On!

Authors: Celina Gonzalez, Anya Rosenberg, Kari Shelton, Shelley Glenn Lee

Grade: 4th

Subject: Science

HTENC Rock On! project photo
HTENC Rock On! project photo
HTENC Rock On! project photo
HTENC Rock On! project photo
HTENC Rock On! project photo

Who is entitled to natural beauty?

Fourth grade students worked collaboratively to transform their experiences and understanding of geology into a product that encourages other members of the community to engage in geology activities in our local natural spaces.

The fourth graders worked together as friends, geologists, and adventurers to explore the diverse geology of our local environment. Through many fieldwork

experiences, including an overnight camping trip, students explored the varied geology in the desert, mountain, valley, and coast regions of San Diego. This included geology-focused hikes at Mission Trails Regional Park (variety of rock types, subduction zone,) Tourmaline Beach (sedimentary layers of rocks and fossils,) Calavera Lake (an extinct volcano,) a gold mine in the town of Julian, and an overnight to Anza Borrego Desert State Park (visit to Paleontology lab, hike through slot canyon.)

Students further developed their understanding of landforms and rock types through lab experiences in science exploratory and through expert visits. Students assisted the Natural History Museum by excavating and interpreting real fossils from our local area.

 Students worked in partnership with the San Dieguito River Park and San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy to focus on the driving question “How can we use our experiences as geologists to provide access for our community to San Diego’s physical landscape?” Students worked collaboratively to transform

their understanding of geology into a product that encourages other members of the community to engage in geology activities in our local natural spaces.

 

Each student created a unique colored pencil illustration and nonfiction narrative about a geological topic. The collection of work was published as informative “cards” to be used by other children and families. Cards are also distributed by the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy to “Junior Members” as encouragement and a resource when exploring the San Diequito River Park and other natural spaces in San Diego County.

Additionally, students excavated marine fossils from 45 million-year-old local rock material in collaboration with the San Diego Natural History Museum (“The NAT.”) Their specimens of snails and clams will become part of the museum’s research collection.

Social/Emotional/Community: Connect with fourth grade community,
show care to others and our spaces, support others in taking risks on
adventures together, persevere through challenging work and experiences, work collaboratively, present learning to an authentic audience

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

  • 4.1-1: Identify evidence from patterns in rock formations and fossils in rock layers to support an explanation for changes in a landscape over time.
  • 4.2-1: Make observations to provide evidence of the effects of weathering or the rate of erosion by water, ice, wind, or vegetation.
  • 4.2-2: Analyze and interpret data from maps to describe patterns of Earth’s features.

Common Core Language Arts:

  • CCSS.ELA- LITERACY.W.4.2: Write informative/ explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly…using illustrations to aide comprehension…and precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.

September:

  • Fieldwork to Lake Calavera (project launch)
  • Introduction to Geology
  • Fieldwork to San Diego Natural History Museum (The NAT) and Paleontology Department

October:

  • Begin Fossil Excavation
  • Fieldwork to Mission Gorge and Tourmaline Beach
  • The Rock Cycle and Landforms
  • Overnight camping in Anza Borrego State Park, including fieldwork at Eagle Mine in Julian, the Anza Borrego Paleontology Society Lab, park Visitors’ Center, and interpretive hikes.
  • Draft 1 of Geology Cards

November:

  • Drafts and Final Draft of Geology Cards
  • Finish Fossil Excavation
  • Exhibition