I walked into my first summer outreach program of the year and told the girls, in my best cheerleader voice, “Today we will be learning all about rocks!” The amount of whining and groans I got from my audience of girls ages 9 to 11 was enough to make someone run straight out of the classroom, rocks in tow. I am not a runner in any sense of the word, so I stayed in front of those darling faces and began my lesson, all about rocks. As a group we went over the descriptions of each rock category:
• Metamorphic Rocks are typically rough to touch, have visible layers, and streaks of colors.
• Sedimentary Rocks are typically rough to touch, dusty, and sandy.
• Igneous Rocks are typically smooth to touch, have small crystals, and have visible air bubbles.
By the time I told the girls that igneous rocks come from liquid rock inside the earth (A.K.A- a volcano), those sweet faces in front of me were hooked! I could tell I had some future geologists on my hands.
I passed out a Girls Inc. magnifying glass to each girl and gathered everyone around a table to begin a rock hunt. Using the rocks from a rock kit, the girls had about 1-2 minutes to spend classifying each rock. They were advised to use three of their five senses–sight, sound, and touch–to decide which category their rock belonged in.
The best moments of each program came during the rock hunt when the girls would exclaim, “Miss Ashley, I found a rock inside this rock–that must mean it’s sedimentary!” Or, “Oh my gosh there IS a crystal in this rock, so it’s igneous!” Hearing the girls use the correct terms and watching the girls examine rocks with magnifying glasses was enough to make me want to go back to school to become a geologist!
As an educator and a child advocate, seeing girls of all ages excited about science in any form is exciting. As women we have to continue to support and encourage young females to lead the way into the science field, whether as a geologist, architect, or web designer–there are whole career fields out there waiting to include more and more females.