Digging into Rocks and Fossils

Over this term LEU has been excitedly discovering rocks and fossils. Their enthusiastic approach to this topic has embodied the Montessori ethos and throughout the unit the children have learnt by doing rather than being told. This has manifested into a confidence and joy in learning as they developed the self-belief, satisfaction in success as well as improved their abilities as problem-solvers.

Their first investigation involved heading outside to discover natural and man-made rocks and through this the children discussed the properties of rocks and their different uses. In pairs they studied rocks closely and compared them using Venn and Carrol diagrams. Collaborative small-group work was a focus throughout this unit, and they enjoyed teaching each other the different types of rocks and their understanding of the difference between sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rocks. A guided science experiment taught them the difference between permeable and impermeable rocks and they discussed the uses of certain rocks for roads, rooves and statues.

As the class moved from rocks to fossils, they explored and taught each other the different fossil types; some were even able to explain the process of carbonization. They also took much delight in finding out about Coprolite fossils! Excitement was high when they made their own fossils and this cemented (excuse the pun!) their understanding of the difference between Trace and Cast fossils. We were also fortunate enough to have Ms. Denise as a guest speaker and show us a real 185-million-year-old Ammonite fossil from Lyme Regis in the UK. She was able to talk to the class about the important contribution Mary Anning made to paleontology and after the talk the class was keen to find out more about her.

The enthusiasm for this unit could also be found during playtime where mini excavations took place on the playground. Throughout the unit there were many opportunities to complete independent work and the class could be found researching rocks from the class collection, as well as bringing in many of their own rock and gem specimens from home. Many presentations took place and the knowledge that they had gained on this topic was truly impressive. It was a great end to a great term! Well done, LEU!  

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