goal each year is to speak to at least one K-12 class in the Denver
area. The first step is to get invited and then figure out age-appropriate
material based on the teacher's request.
the teacher is looking for a presentation to complement the topic
being studied by the class -- and frequently, with the younger kids,
the invitation is to speak about dinosaurs.
are very willing to accept a more generic discussion of geologic
time and historical geology. It is amazing how all of my talks seem
to have resources creep in along the way.
the tools that I have successfully used in younger classes, I openly
copied from a ranger at the Tyrrell Museum in Alberta, Canada:
50-foot tape measure, I tell the kids we are going to compare distance
to time. Assuming each inch equals one million years, the tape represents
600 million years -- roughly the start of the Paleozoic. Students
participate by holding various points on the tape as it is unwound
around the classroom: the present, the end of the dinosaurs, the
first dinosaur, early life. I illustrate many of the major events
with fossils that are from rocks of that age.
girl asked me when Adam and Eve lived; after some quick thinking,
I had her hold the tape at the first appearance of the genus Homo
(without any editorial comment).
time I gave a presentation on geologic hazards to third graders.
Several months later I received a call from the teacher, who said
she had just talked to one of the kids' parents, who were in the
process of buying a new house. The child asked the realtor if the
house was on swelling soils! The adults were astounded, and when
the parents followed up on the question, the neighborhood had had
problems with swelling soils.
thinking about the more informed citizens that can be produced because
of geologists willing to talk about geology in the schools -- or
for Rotary clubs, churches and other adult groups.