Paper No. 2
Presentation Time: 1:00 PM-4:45 PM
A PROCESS BASED APPROACH TO “TEACHING ROCKS” IN AN EARTH SCIENCE CLASS
The rock unit in a typical earth science course is generally taught separate from other course content. Students are taught how to identify igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks through memorization of their features. If students have memorized well, and are lucky, they are able to spout back the characteristics and re-identify a rock they have seen in class. In order for students to gain a deeper understanding of rock classification, and to identify samples they've never seen before, educators need to focus on creating a big picture for students. The big picture when teaching students about rocks is focusing on the processes that earth materials go through in the rock cycle. Learning how those processes affect the observable characteristics of a rock will help students gain a greater understanding of the characteristics of, and differences among, igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks. In order to accomplish this, we teach basic chemistry and then igneous rocks. Then we complete our weathering, erosion, and depostion unit and follow it with the study of sedimentary rocks. Finally we cover plate tectonics and follow that unit with metamorphic rocks.