Paper No. 4
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM
BUILDING GEOLOGISTS FOR THE CLASS OF 2020: A FIELD TRIP FOR FIRST GRADERS AT STANFORD UNIVERSITY
We have developed a program at Stanford University to use the abundant available resources of the university, including rock, mineral and fossil collections, to inspire and excite first graders from local public schools. This program, called Geokids, is a half-day field trip to the university. Up to 60 students attend each field-trip day and are split into 4 groups. After a brief introduction, graduate and undergraduate student volunteers guide the students through four stations: Rocks, Minerals, Soils and Fossils. The highlights of these stations are painting with different types of soils, digging in the dirt, making fossils, completing a mineral hunt and examining rocks from all over the world. They spend approximately 25 minutes at each station before moving on to the next station. After two hours the students have visited all of the stations and then we have a quick wrap-up before the students return to their schools. In 2004-2005, over 440 first-grade students attended the field trip from seven elementary schools. Response from the schools has been overwhelmingly positive and we now have a greater demand than we can accommodate. This program augments the existing first grade curricula of Pebbles, Sand and Silt" and allows the students to interact with "real" geologists and to see more examples of geological materials than would otherwise be available. Aside from the benefits to the first-grade students, this program benefits the volunteer university students by giving them an opportunity to practice their teaching skills and rediscover the excitement of geology. This program is simple and inexpensive to implement at any college or university, using the existing rock, mineral and fossil collections. Other supplies required are mineral powders for painting and clay for creating fossils.