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ESU Earth Science Department Presents

Rock and Minerals from the United States

by Erin Tovar

In the spring of 1997, Erin Tovar was in grade 6 studying rocks and minerals with her Resources for Expanded Learning teacher Patty Schmitt and assistant Denise Copeland. Mrs. Schmitt requested assistance from ESU's earth science department to enrich Erin's experience beyond her readings. Susie Aber, Earth Science instructor, worked with Erin during the school year and into the summer giving her specimens to study and a behind the scenes tour of the ESU Geology Museum.

Erin's investigations broadened with a geography reference when she decided to go beyond simply knowing rock classifications and mineral identification, to finding out which states were rich in which resources. Erin was assisted by her classmates and homeroom teacher, Mr. Ben Stout, as they divided up the country and wrote letters to geological surveys and state conservation offices requesting information and samples of mineral and rock resources from the state. Many states responded generously with maps, postcards, information sheets or brochures plus small resource samples.

Erin created a map of the United States and attached the samples the class had received to the appropriate state. A web resource listing each state's official rock, mineral, gem, and fossil guided the placement of resources on the map. A notebook was assembled with maps and information sheets from the participating states. The map is housed in the Resources classroom in the 6th grade building, while the notebook is available for teachers to check-out at the ESU Science and Math Education Center. The studies culminated in a dedication party held in the Science and Math Education Center with all of Erin's family present. Refreshments included a gelatin US, glacier and volcano desserts, and layer-stratified cake! Thanks Erin, classmates, and teachers for a great resource!

Erin and Susie are shown above.
Photo date 7/97; © by S.W. Aber

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Date of creation: July 1997. Last update: February 26, 2008. © 1998-2008 Susan Ward Aber. All rights reserved.