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Fieldwork: The use of rocks around me

use of rocks - arch

Introduction

The geology of my town/ village – an investigation into the way rocks have been used in my area.

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Length of time

This could be a half day or several short visits to different streets over time.

 

Suitable locations

Any location where there are a variety of buildings, a church or other old building, pavements, driveways etc.

 

Description of the activity

Investigating rocks in an area is a fascinating activity. Once your eyes are open to finding evidence it is surprising how much is there. It will be useful to identify the main groups of rocks (igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary) first so pupils will have some idea of what these might look like when discovered.

There are some, chalk for example, which might not be readily seen as it is too soft to use as a building stone. However, flints which are found in chalk are often present. Flints can also be found in seaside locations where they are used to construct buildings.

Churches or very old buildings are useful to look at as they are often a patchwork of different rock types used in their construction over time.

A walk down different streets may produce a list of the following:

  • Granite – kerbstones, road surfaces
  • Limestone – concrete paving slabs, statues, carvings (on churches) housing, wall blocks
  • Slate – roofing tiles and sometimes cladding on a house
  • Sandstone – walls, statues, houses
  • Sand – driveways – used as a major constituent of concrete
  • Gravel – walls, bridges, monuments
  • Flints – walls, decoration on houses
  • Limestone – flooring, some buildings, pavements, steps
  • Marble (metamorphic rock) – columns, steps, flooring, decoration on buildings
  • Clay – bricks

Take pictures and link to the local map back in school. Find out about the different types of rock and their durability for outdoor use.

Don’t forget to look at driveways and gardens as these will often have an interesting selection of pebbles, gravel and bricks used in their construction.

Where limestone or sandstone have been used there maybe evidence of fossils or fossil imprints. Encourage the use of magnifiers to see these (where possible to do so safely).

 

Useful websites

British Geological Society – this website is packed with useful information and examples.

I love painted rocks – this website is all about painting rocks.

 

This collection of Fieldwork activities were created by Paula Richardson and the Fieldwork and Outdoor Learning Special Interest Group (FOLSIG) for the National Festival of Fieldwork, the GA invites everyone to take part during the summer term.

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