Earth Science, the study of the earth, is a high school introduction to geology. It is usually the first of the sciences taught in high school, though some high school programs omit it all together. While I avoid any traditional geology text books, I believe that plenty of reading, accompanied by excellent field work, can provide any student with enough background to excel in continued study of geology.
Listed below are some living books on geological topics, and some basic books which can act as a spine for the study. A review book, like Barron's Let's Review Earth Science, can provide the student with alternative explanations, exercises, and final exams at a reasonable price.
For field work, you're in luck! You live on the Earth! Finding a place to observe geology, the study of the Earth, should be easy! The tough thing is recognizing geology under a city or suburban landscape. The roadside geology books (see below) are a great way to see what your state has to offer geologically without going to far, if you can be satisfied with the geology that surrounds you. Here on Long Island the only real rocks are glacial erratics (the rocks scraped off the mountains to the north and carried here during the ice age). Sure, I'd love to study volcanism, but post-glacial geology is local, so it has become my specialty. Maybe your area has volcanoes, or a glacier, or caves, or beaches, or petrified forests, or badlands, or impact craters, or geysers...whatever is there, work with it. Each environment has geologically interesting features. Find out more about your region at the US Geological Survey site.
If you are interested in making a collection, make sure you have permission of the land owner. Use a rock hammer to take small samples of larger rocks so your collection fits into your home or garage.
Travel if you can!! Use the Roadside Geology series:
Roadside Geology Series:
Baja California (includes biology!)
Read free online booklets from the USGS:
- The Seashell on the Mountain is the story of Bl. Niels Steno. This is a secular account, but the story is good!
- The Practical Geologist is an excellent book for beginners, with all you need to know about rock formation and identification. Ideas, demonstrations, and more!
- Volcanoes in America's National Parks by Barbara and Robert Decker (travel and learn!)
- Earthshaking Science: What we know and What we don't Know about Earthquakes by Susan Hough
- Exploring the Earth With John Wesley Powell by Michael Elsohn Ross (quick, good biography for young children)
- The Exploration of the Colorado River and Its Canyons by John Wesley Powell
- Beneath Our Feet : The Rocks of Planet Earth by R. H. Vernon
- Melting the Earth : The History of Ideas on Volcanic Eruptions by Haraldur Sigurdsson
- The Secret Life of Dust by Hannah Holmes (It's everywhere!)
- Volcano Cowboys by Dick Thompson (brave guys...)
Get out and make earth science real for your students! Be equipped, too. Prospector's gold pans, rock hammers, field bags (these are great!), goggles and more, available from Amazon.