Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Earth Science from the 9th Grade Curriculum

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:
Geology books abound. Here are a few from my bookshelf:
Updated to add:  Doorway of Amethyst from Ye Hedge School.

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.


Sweetness and Light said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sweetness and Light said...

I love that you posted this now :) I am just entering the high school years with my first and only girl (Violet) and she's so excited for high school! I am putting my Earth Science plans together now and am having a blast finding all sorts of great resources on the web, at the library, and of course your post, so thank you! We are in Seattle now, miss our lava beds in Idaho near Twin Falls, but we have Sound to Mountain to explore here in the PNW. Let us know if you're ever in the Seattle area, we'd love to meet you :) I have a pianist, a cellist, a ballerina and possibly another mini-cellist :) Many blessings and have a great year!