By Hazel Stark
Rocks are often cognitively separated from the world of the living, but understanding the give and take between these seemingly separate aspects of the natural world was just what the 5th and 6th-graders at D.W. Merritt School explored during a Maine Outdoor School program in early May 2017. This article is the last of a three-part series on our programs at D.W. Merritt, so check out the Pre-K through 2nd-graders' experiences with life cycles here and the 3rd and 4th-graders' water explorations here!
First, they learned about the composition of rocks and how they form by playing a game that had them act out the origins of igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks. Then, they were tasked with finding two different rocks in order to draw and label their similarities and differences. This careful observation of the rocks in their schoolyard led many students to hypothesize about the different ways those rocks might have formed and how they might have gotten there.
Having considered the world of rocks, they then started to connect the living world to the influence of rocks. They combed the forest behind their school, looking for evidence of life in wet, lush, primarily rock-free areas compared to life in rocky, dry, or sandy areas. They concluded that even though rocks may seem like they do not support life, their existence helps create a variety of plant and animal habitats that allows a great diversity of life to exist on the biome level. Even if rocks don’t seem very lively, they certainly liven up our ecological party. Rock on!
For more news like this, please sign up for our quarterly e-newsletter here.