Antarctic Rock Boxes

Jason Cervenec
,
Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center
Author Profile


The Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center offers no-cost Rock Boxes for use by educators in both schools and informal learning environments. Each box may be borrowed for one month and contains more than 30 representative samples (rocks, minerals, fossils), printed materials for student use (books, descriptions, etc), teacher materials (also available online), and tools to examine the samples. A virtual rock box is available via the web.

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Context

Audience:

The samples and instructional materials in the rock boxes have been successfully used in elementary, middle, and high school classrooms. Boxes sent to elementary schools include a collection of age-appropriate books on polar regions, exploration, and rocks and minerals. While a majority of the instructional materials are designed for Earth science classes, some teachers have used the boxes for geography and reading content.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered:

How the activity is situated in the course:

National or State Education Standards addressed by this activity?:

Goals

Content/concepts goals for this activity:

Rock boxes are primarily used to study the rock cycle and types of rocks and minerals. Some teachers also use them for teaching geography (via the included polar maps) and literacy (via the age-appropriate books included in the elementary school rock boxes).

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity:

Other skills goals for this activity:

Description of the activity/assignment

The Polar Rock Repository at the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center offers no-cost Rock Boxes for use by educators in both schools and informal learning environments, such as libraries, scout groups, and Science Olympiad teams. Each box may be borrowed for one month and contains more than 30 representative samples (rocks, minerals, fossils), printed materials for student use (books, descriptions, etc), teacher materials (also available online), and tools to examine the samples. With few exceptions, all of the samples in the boxes were brought back from Antarctica over the past century by U.S. expeditions!

A virtual version of the Rock Box may be viewed here. In addition to 3D models of rock samples, high resolution photographs and descriptions are linked.

Determining whether students have met the goals

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Other Materials

Supporting references/URLs

Rock Box Request: Complete this web form to have a Rock Box shipped to your school or community group in the United States.

Virtual Rock Box: This virtual Rock Box may be viewed anywhere in the world. In addition to 3D models of rock samples, high resolution photographs and descriptions are linked.

Controlled Vocabulary Terms

Resource Type: Activities:Classroom Activity, Lab Activity
Grade Level: Middle (6-8), High School (9-12), Middle (6-8):Middle - 8, Middle - 6, Primary (K-2), Intermediate (3-5), Middle (6-8):Middle - 7
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