a Rock Detective!
Joan K. Ferguson
no!!! Rocks! It’s time to study rocks! I’ve always loved rocks,
but the children are all going to bring in their rock collections,
display them all over the room, and they’re going to expect me
to identify them! Augh!!! That was how it was when I started teaching
in 1965. We’ve come a long way!
Today Earth Science is taught at all levels. The curricula are
sophisticated and integrated into the entire educational experience,
but challenges remain for the teacher who hasn’t had a sufficiently
rigorous course in geology. Available materials often rely on
text and media, not tactile experience. We teach good hard and
hopefully relevant science, but where is the tactile experience
that most children need? There is a huge gap between the curriculum
and the rocks! Rock Detective Geoscience Education is a lifeline.
It mentors the teacher, and it is the hands-on segue to earth
Rock Detective was written and developed by Ruth Deike. Now retired,
she spent her career as a geologist with the US Geological Survey.
She is a scientist. The scientific information is first rate and
aimed at expanding the students’ and teachers’ understanding,
not just learning facts for a test. Ruth, using her own enthusiasm
as a vehicle for presenting earth science information, lets the
rocks tell their own stories as the students solve mysteries while
examining the rock samples.
Rock Detective is hands-on. The samples are a good size, big enough
to provide heft in the hand! No longer do we have to rely on the
boxes of rock samples from museum shops. The Rock Detective samples,
often more than one to a mystery, are “real” rocks!
The Rock Detective program is flexible. It can be used with the
entire class, as is suggested in the manual, individually as a
warm up as students enter the classroom, and in small groups with
the teacher or an aide. I usually used it in small groups with
parent aides. The parents panicked when I first asked them to
work with a geology activity, but by the time they had finished
working with the children, they were so excited about what they
had learned, they begged to do it again on their next visit to
Are you teaching in Spanish? Professionally translated by South
American and Puerto Rican geologists, the Rock Detective program
(both mysteries and resource materials) is now available in Spanish
through eighth grade. Field tested in Puerto Rico, both students
and teachers were delighted!
The Rock Detective program is exciting for both teachers and students
of all ages. Try it! You’ll like it, and you’ll certainly learn
to love earth science. The children will, too!
K. Ferguson is President of Rock Detective Geoscience Education,
a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. A retired teacher, she receives
no payment from the organization and, in fact, helps support it.
She is involved with Rock Detective because she used it extensively
in her classroom and knows how effective and child-friendly and
teacher-friendly it is! For more information see the Rock Detective
web site at www.rockdetective.org, or call Ruth at (207)737-4612.#
Update, Inc., P.O. Box 20005, New York, NY 10001.
Tel: (212) 481-5519. Fax: (212) 481-3919.Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
All material is copyrighted and may not be printed without express
consent of the publisher. © 2002.