Pre-K Geologists

One of the questions that we’ve been working on answering is “where do rocks come from?”. At the museum, we learned that some rocks come from volcanoes but the students weren’t completely sure what that meant, so we decided to do some more research. After looking at some books about volcanoes, we learned that when lava comes out of a volcano and hardens, it becomes an Igneous rock. We also learned that depending on how fast or slow the lava cools, it can become different types of Igneous rock. Sometimes when the lava is leaving the volcano, small to large gas bubbles get caught in the molten rock. When the lava hardens, the hollow interior can often get filled with mineral rich fluids which allows crystals to grow. This is what we call a geode.

This week, during center time, the students have been putting on their geologist hats (or more accurately geologist goggles) to see what a geode really looks like before, during, and after they are opened. We spent some time learning about how to be safe with our materials, as the children would be using a real hammer. The children started by using very gentle taps on their rock just as the instructions had detailed. After several attempts, we decided to use a little bit more force. After some trial and error, we found just the right amount of pressure that was needed to split the geodes open revealing different types and patterns of crystals. Some were white and swirly, while others were clear and hexagonal. We even saw some that were black and gray. The students then worked together to try and decide what type of crystals were inside their geodes by comparing them to the pictures in our guide. The students decided that some were very common crystals and others were very rare. We very excited to see what the last few geodes hold inside.


Layers Upon Layers

Our dinosaur environment mural has grown in-depth this week.  Two more sets of children worked on different parts of the picture during center time.  The first group added all things green in our world for dinos.  They began with green paint with a small amount of yellow floating on the surface.  I was curious to see if they would blend it together or simply allow it to streak through the green as they painted.  Instead, one child carefully dipped a paint brush in only the yellow and made a sun slightly above the tree trunk painted by the last group.  Then he mixed in the green and painted more of the picture.   The yellow sun was later painted over with green while I was told that, “sometimes the sun is green when it goes down in the morning”.   (Note to self: Let’s talk about sunrise, sunset, and morning vs. evening.)  The other child methodically painted tree parts with her green paint.  When the first child created green dots on her end of the paper (flying leaves) she took it with great calmness and simply made her tree taller and wider.

Our next group was in charge of the lava.  This was a much-anticipated section of the mural.  At first, lava began streaming from the top of the volcano.  Then, one of the children decided that the nearby tree trunk should really be red, not brown.  Thus adapted, the trunk now looks as though it is heated in the glow of the hot lava.  Some of the lava made it into an arc above the volcano.  One of the children is hoping that he can eventually finish it off with the rest of the colors of the rainbow.  As you can see, by the time this group finished, almost the entire volcano was covered in red, hot lava.  We’ll have to work together to come up with a plan for where the dinosaurs will be able to stand safely.  We wouldn’t want them to get toasty feet!