Southeastern Section - 61st Annual Meeting (1–2 April 2012)

Paper No. 9
Presentation Time: 4:30 PM


HAYWICK, Douglas W.1, ARMITAGE, Jennifer A.2, LOVE, Christie L.2 and MOUREY, Jessica N.2, (1)Earth Sciences, University of South Alabama, LSCB 136, Mobile, AL 36688, (2)Earth Sciences, University of South Alabama, 5871 USA Drive N, Room 136, Mobile, AL 36688,

In 2005, Earth Sciences faculty and students at the University of South Alabama initiated the Alabama Rocks! project to provide middle and high school science teachers in the university’s seven county service area with comprehensive instructional rock kits. Each kit consisted of 45 specimens representing the most important igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rock types. Most specimens were collected from Alabama thus providing “local” relevance when it came to addressing curriculum requirements like the rock cycle, rock forming processes or plate tectonics. Specimens were also larger than those available through traditional store-bought kits making it easier for students and teachers to better recognize compositional and textural differences between rocks. The kits proved to be a popular resource for teachers, but they were limited because they only contained rocks. Teachers, particularly in middle schools, also needed quality mineral specimens. Providing Alabama Rocks! kits to 100+ schools in the university’s service area was viable with minimal financial support because specimens were obtained for virtually no cost during scheduled undergraduate field trips. The next phase of our project will provide the same number of minerals kits to our area schools, but most specimens will have to be obtained from sources outside of Alabama. Student groups are raising money to purchase some minerals and are working with local rock clubs to obtain others. Our goal is to produce an Alabama Minerals! kit consisting of 15 of the most important minerals and supporting documentation on how teachers could use them to improve Earth sciences instruction. Teacher training sessions, on-line and DVD recordings of relevant mineralogy lectures, and a help hot line will also be provided once the kits have been distributed.