STEM Tuesday — Geology– In the Classroom

STEM Tuesday


This month we’re going to dig into some great books about GEOLOGY! These books will help students learn more about Earth, its surface, structure, and processes. They are a great starting point for different activities and discussions in the classroom. Are you ready to get a little dirty?

Dirtmeister’s Nitty Gritty Planet Earth: All About Rocks, Minerals, Fossils, Earthquakes, Volcanoes, And Even Dirt! by Steve Tomecek
A comprehensive book about geology beginning with the formation of our planet. Chapters cover minerals, earthquakes and volcanoes, plate tectonics, the rock cycle, old dead things (aka fossils) and the importance of soils. Next Gen STEM standards listed at the back.

Classroom activity: Lead a discussion about the rock cycle. How are rocks recycled to create new rocks? Have students create a rock cycle diagram to show what they know. In small groups, students can use wax crayons to create a demonstration of the rock cycle. At the beginning, the crayons represent igneous rock. Next, shave the crayons to simulate weathering. Students can then use the shavings to demonstrate the processes of erosion and deposition. To simulate rock pieces being deposited underground, place some of the crayon shavings in a packet of aluminum foil. Students can then use heat and pressure from their hands to demonstrate the formation of sedimentary rocks and metamorphic rocks. What needs to happen for these “rocks” to become igneous rocks?

Older Than Dirt by Don Brown
Before dirt there was rock. Before rock there was magma. Before that there was – a BIG Bang! This book presents the history of our planet in graphic panels narrated by a couple of wise-cracking characters. They explain tectonic plates, terraforming through volcanic action and faults, and warn that geological activity continues to change the landscape.

Classroom activity: Earth’s surface is made of large pieces of crust called tectonic plates. Throughout Earth’s history, these plates have slowly moved to create the continents, islands, and mountains that we know today. Have students investigate how mountains form and the role of tectonic plates in their formation. Students can create a model or diagram showing what they have learned.

The Scientists Behind Earth’s Processes by Andrew Solway
An evaluation of twelve female and male scientists (1700’s to present day) whose theories and discoveries informed and influenced our knowledge of the Earth. From dating the Earth to climate changes, fossils to earthquakes, continental drift to mapping the ocean, and predicting the weather to exploring space. Includes an interactive timeline showing how they influenced and built off each other’s theories and a “find out more” section.

Classroom activity: Have students choose a geology pioneer to research. What has their chosen pioneer contributed to the science of geology and our understanding of Earth? Have students work together to create a living timeline of geology’s most important discoveries and scientific achievements.

Looking to get even deeper in the dirt? Browse through the pages of these activity books and choose a few to do in class or at home!

Eyewitness Explorer: Rock and Fossil Hunter by Ben Morgan







Geology Lab for Kids: 52 Projects to Explore Rocks, Gems, Geodes, Crystals, Fossils, and Other Wonders of the Earth’s Surface, by Garret Romaine





A Project Guide to Rocks and Minerals (Earth Science Projects for Kids) by Claire O’Neal






Carla Mooney loves to explore the world around us and discover the details about how it works. An award-winning author of numerous nonfiction science books for kids and teens, she hopes to spark a healthy curiosity and love of science in today’s young people. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, three kids, and dog. When not writing, she can often be spotted at a hockey rink for one of her kids’ games. Find her at, on Facebook @carlamooneyauthor, or on Twitter @carlawrites.

STEM Tuesday
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