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Kid's Guide to Rock Park

School: Four Rivers Charter Public School

City/State: Greenfield, MA

Grade(s): 7

Format(s): Field guide: Natural science

Subject(s): English Language Arts, Science and Technology

Project Overview

This guide was created by 7th grade students at the Four Rivers Charter School in Greenfield, Massachusetts as part of a two-month learning expedition on geology.

The guide, which is a cross between a field guide and a museum guide, introduces people to an outdoor museum of rocks called Rock Park, located on the campus of Greenfield Community College. The Rock Park outdoor museum is used for teaching college students, younger students, and interested adults about local geology.

Kid’s Guide to Rock Park provides detailed information about each of the rocks in this outdoor museum. Although there was a guide that already existed, it was not easy for middle school students and younger students to understand all the material. This guide is set up in a kid-friendly format that would be useful even with very young students.

During the expedition, students did multiple rounds of fieldwork at Rock Park; they worked with a local geologist.

The guide has a different format than a traditional field guide: the pages are made of card stock, and the guide is held together by large, removable binding rings. It can be used as single book, but can also be opened up so that individual students can take separate cards over to look at particular rocks. This allows a single guide to be useful to an entire class of children, and allows for search activities, expert activities, trading protocols and other structures.

Each page includes a similar format in which students explain the type of rock, its characteristics and features, and its relevance to the Connecticut River Valley. Students use icons to organize and display their information and make it user-friendly even to very young readers. It features advice on what to look for and touch, making it a hands-on guide for younger students to interact with the rocks.

How This Project Can Be Useful

  • Provides a means for students to investigate a topic while working towards the publication of a useful and needed resource
  • A very useful, innovative product format – a guide that can separate into discrete cards that can be given to individual students
  • Format is appealing – it is repeated throughout, which gives the guide a nice consistency
  • Icons for “Look for”, “Touch and Feel” and “Look closely at” are a good idea
  • Thoughtful combination of digital photography and written information

Common Core State Standards

Standard Long Term Learning Target
  • I can write informative/explanatory texts that convey ideas and concepts using relevant information that is carefully selected and organized.
  • I can use correct grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
  • I can use resources to build my vocabulary.
  • EL has not created long-term learning targets for WHST standards.
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