||Science Outreach Programs
make a Paper Snowflake
Math, science, art, writing, geography
Math: This project could be used as a math activity to reinforce teaching fractions, adding or multiplying by 3’s and cutting shapes.
When the water molecules freeze high in the clouds, they join together in a 6-sided form (hexagon), with the hydrogen atom of one molecule touching the oxygen atom of the next molecule and so on.
Science:Snowflakes are always 6-pointed due to the shape of the water molecule (H20). Draw a water molecule on the board.
“central core” falls through
clouds, it begins to pick up more and more molecules, soon a snowflake
Since snowflakes always have 6 sides, you must start out with a circle,
if you use
a square, you’ll have 4-sided snowflakes (which is physically
Supplies: Paper, a protractor or something round to trace around (depending on the age and ability of the students), scissors, paper punch and serrated craft scissors (if desired)
Geology (for grades K
Some of these sections will have more than your grade level may need to know, you can modify the information to fit your curriculum and the students’ level of understanding. Use the website to show photos of rocks in their natural environment by typing keywords into the second search box. Look on the Geology and Topography of Tennessee gallery to see photos of the different kinds of rock in their natural environment.
the class talking about the layers of the earth (inner core, outer
core, mantle, crust) and how minerals are formed deep
below the Earth’s crust in the mantle layer (magma). The hot magma is
giant stewpot and the minerals are the “ingredients” that make up the
stew”. Heat from the core (from radioactive decay) is the “fire” that
warms the pot. Explain
are made up of 2 or more minerals. Show a piece of granite, the
large crystals of quartz, feldspar and hornblende are easy to see.
Igneous rocks (basalt, granite,
lava, obsidian, pumice)
were the first rocks on earth. Igneous
means “from fire”. Talk about
would have formed. Was it a long time ago (millions or billions of
if they cooled beneath the surface) or recently (in volcanic
they form deep underground and become exposed by erosion, or did they
above the earth’s surface? Igneous rock that formed and cooled slowly
underground is called intrusive; if it formed above ground,
volcano, it is extrusive. Which ones formed slowly (granite)?
cooled slowly (thousands to millions of years) have larger crystals;
cooled quickly have small crystals. Which ones formed rapidly (basalt,
scoria, “lava”, obsidian)? Discuss ways igneous rock can be worn down
eroded (rain, wind, ice expanding in cracks, acids from lichens). What
to the eroded rock?
Show photos of igneous rock from the EastTennesseeWildflowers website by typing “igneous” into the second search box. Discuss how people have used igneous rocks (obsidian stone knives, jewelry, building stones, statues, cemetery headstones, flooring, gravel, “grit” in cleaning agents, pumice stones for rough skin, tourist attractions such as the volcanoes in Hawaii, Mt. Rainier, Lassen Volcano NP, Yosemite NP, Acadia NP, Mt. Rushmore)
Discuss Sedimentary rocks (sandstone,
conglomerate, shale, chert, coal) and how they formed. About 75% of the
covered with sedimentary rock.
B. Limestone and
considered “carbonates”, they were formed through both biochemical and
chemical processes. Limestone contains calcite (CaCO3), which
was derived from the shells of ancient sea creatures that died and
settled on the seafloor hundreds of millions of years ago. Over
millions of years, the shells were compacted, chemically cemented
together, and then recrystallized into limestone. It is common to find
fossils in some kinds of limestone. A fun test to do on “fossiliferous”
limestone is to put a couple of drops of hydrochloric acid on it; if
the rock bubbles, it is limestone. The alkaline calcium carbonate
reacts with the acid and releases carbon dioxide gas bubbles. Chalk is
another type of limestone that was formed from the shells of
microscopic aquatic organisms. The White Cliffs of Dover, England are a
good example of chalk. A walk along a beach
in Florida or
Barbados may reveal another type of limestone called “coquina”, it is a
mixture of seashells, sand, and pebbles cemented together with calcite.
A.The first sedimentary rocks would have formed from broken down igneous rock. If available, look at grains of beach sand through a dissecting microscope or with a strong magnifying glass, note the different colors of the sand grains. (Note: some areas, such as the Gulf Coast of Florida, have mainly one type of rock in the sand, resulting in the pure white sand.) It is interesting to collect sand from different areas of the country while traveling. When small pieces of eroded rock (sand, pebbles, silt) are compacted, cemented, and recrystallized, they become “lithified” (turned to stone); they can become shale, sandstone, conglomerate, or breccia, depending on the size and shape of the rocks. Make a sediment jar (see activity #12) to let the students observe the sizes of the rocks in the layers. The famous Red Rock of southern Utah is a beautiful example of sandstone. Arches, Canyonlands, and Capitol Reef National Parks showcase the awesome power of time, wind, and water in the arches, deep canyons, hoodoos, and multicolored layers in the rock.
Discuss tectonic plates, fault
zones, earthquakes, ocean trenches, and volcanoes and how the earth is
constantly moving beneath the crust. Explain that the heat from the
core acts like a stove eye and the magma in the mantle acts like water
in a pot. The magma near the core is hotter (around 4000 degrees F) and
rises, while the magma near the crust is cooler (around 1500 degrees F)
sinks. The movement and pressure of the magma puts stress on some areas
crust causing it to pull apart, push together, or slide, these are
“faults”. Show the earthquake website: https://www.iris.edu/seismon/
to illustrate the most active areas on earth. The areas with the most
dots on the map are where the faults are located. In some areas of the
the lighter oceanic crust is forced under the heavier continental
crust. It is
in these areas that oceanic trenches occur, volcanic and earthquake
high in these areas. Rock is melted and “recycled” in the subduction
beneath the trenches, volcanoes often form near trenches. If possible,
class a raised relief map of the west coast states and note the chain
volcanoes. Discuss the San Andreas fault in California and the “Ring of
along the Pacific Coast.
Ok, now to the metamorphic rock! It is important for students to understand what goes on beneath the earth’s surface before they can understand how metamorphic rocks form. There are 3 ways that metamorphic rocks occur:
Some metamorphic rocks include:
Gneiss from granite (parent rock)
Marble from limestone
Schist from basalt
Slate from shale
Quartzite from quartz sandstone
Metagraywacke from greywacke
Serpentinite from peridotite
Soapstone (steatite) from peridotite
Some metamorphic rocks include:
Show photos of metamorphic rock from the EastTennesseeWildflowers website by typing “metamorphic” into the second search box above.
Discuss how people use metamorphic rock (eyeshadow, building materials, carving rock [soapstone], cemetery, gemstones, jewelry, headstones, pencil lead, fire retardant)
The Rock Cycle
Draw this diagram on the board. Write the names of the three types of rocks at each point of the triangle. Explain that over enough time (hundreds to billions of years), all rocks can change from one form into another.
Igneous rock is broken down into sediments, which eventually become sedimentary rock; it can also be transformed into metamorphic rock by heat and pressure; or it can be re-melted back into the magma.
Sedimentary rock can be re-melted back into the magma to become igneous rock once again; it can also be transformed into metamorphic rock by heat and pressure; or it can be broken down into sediments, which eventually become sedimentary rock again.
Metamorphic rock can be broken down into sediments, which eventually become sedimentary rock; or it can be re-melted back into the magma.
To help the younger students get a better grasp of
give them 3 different colors of modeling clay, Play-doh(TM), or
flour clay”. Start out with a few large chunks (quarter-sized) of clay,
will be the igneous rocks. Have the students break some off into
pieces, this is sand or sediment. Gently press the “sand grains”
that they are attached, but not smashed together, this is sedimentary
make metamorphic rock, let the students press and bend the sandstone to
https://www.iris.edu/seismon - for daily global earthquake activity