My World and Welcome to It!

These are my thoughts and opinions about life in general. I also get daily prompts from DSP which inspire me to write. If I throw in some scrapbook pages I've done, photos I've taken, and stories about me, you will have an idea about my loony life!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Master Naturalist Class Day 2

004 (For pictures, click here.)

Our class met at Table Rock State Park in Pickens, SC. We started out in the classroom where Dr. Wagner from Clemson introduced us to rocks and minerals.

Our first activity was to be a rock. As a solid, we moved in place. As a liquid, we moved around. And as a gas, we had to get off the ground (but we really didn’t since we were in a small area). But if I did this with school age students, I think they would enjoy this activity.

Next we were given some minerals and asked to identify them if we could. Then Dr. Wagner identified them for us and explained how we could recognize them. We learned about quartz, feldspar, mica, and amphibole. Feldspar breaks along lines, and has a shiny flat surface at the cleavage. Mica is soft and breaks in sheets. Amphibole is dark colored and has a cleavage. Quartz is light colored and does not show shine at the cleavage.

Next, we learned about the difference of the three types of rocks.

1. Igneous rocks are from lava and then cooled. Examples are granite (continental crust) and basalt (oceanic crust).

2. Sedimentary rocks are layers of particles glued together by fluids from the materials. Examples are sandstone, limestone, conglomerates, and shale.

3. Metamorphic rocks – heat and pressure compress the particles so they are grown together but you can see an organized pattern due to the compression.

Then Dr. Wagner compared the rocks to food so that we could understand the concept of how they were formed.

1. Igneous rocks are like jello. Jello starts out in liquid form and is heated up and then cooled to become solid.

2. Sedimentary rocks are like fudge. At first it is creamy and then it becomes grainy and over a long period of time (about 3 months), it will become crystallized.

3. Metamorphic rocks are like a granola bar that has been stepped on. The layers are squished but they are compressed into an organized pattern.

Then we were given an activity which involved separating some rocks into the three different categories using the information that we were given. Our group had a great discussion on where they should go. Then Dr. Wagner gave us the correct answers and explained why.

In South Carolina, we will find sandstone, limestone, shale, granite, gneiss, schist, and amphibolite.

After lunch we gave a physical representation of the geological timeline. It was interesting to see where most of the geological changes took place on the timeline. This was a great activity to see visually how the earth has developed.

In the afternoon, we took a hike and looked at rocks in the environment. We saw how the rocks break and how it affects the water flow in creeks which in turn affect the rocks. What a great way to take our knowledge we gained in the morning and apply it to a real life situation. This was a great way to show relevance in the lessons and really was more meaningful to me as I saw how the information applied in the real world. I think because I was able to see the rocks in nature and learn how to identify them, I will remember this better than just looking at a textbook or seeing pictures or even handling samples of what they look like.

That was the end of Day 2 and it was wonderful! I’m really enjoying this course and it seems like the others are also. Next week we will be going to King’s Creek and Burrell’s Ford. I can’t wait to see what adventures are in store for us then!

crossposted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).

Original Image: Table Rock State Park by Pat Hensley

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Master Naturalist Day 1

019 Last week we attended the first day of our Master Naturalist course which meets once a week for twelve weeks. First of all, let me start of by saying that it was awesome and I look forward to the rest of the classes. There are about twenty of us in the class along with the organizers and teachers.

I was impressed with the planning that went into this day because we had a lot of activities with very little empty time to get bored. We moved from one activity to the other but it made the day go by quickly and all of the activities were very helpful.

We were given the following books:

1. Peterson First Guides: Rocks and Minerals

2. Amphibians & Reptiles of the Carolinas and Virginia

3. Native Trees of the Southeast: An Identification Guide

4. A Guide to the Wildflowers of South Carolina

5. Photographic Atlas of Entomology and Guide to Insect Identification

6. South Carolina Master Naturalist Program Training Manual

7. 3 ring binder with weekly schedule, homework assignments, and articles

8. Waterproof field book (for notes)

9. 10x Coddington Magnifier

We did a lot of different activities that would be great to do in a classroom. Here are some of the activities we did:

1. Identification quiz: We had seven different stations and items were numbered. The stations were skulls, pelts, reptiles, nuts/fruits, rocks, plants/trees, and we had to identify them in 15 minutes and then return to the big group. It was fun to touch the objects. Then we were given a chance to share our answers and find out the correct answers.

2. Identify Trees: We went outside with our guide books and then broke out into groups to identify the tree that we were assigned. We used the key in our book and followed the guidelines. Our group identified the American Holly tree using the guide. Unfortunately one group was attacked by the yellow jackets as their nest was disturbed by the group. They were able to move to a new tree that was assigned. We only spent about 30 minutes doing this because we were learning the process. If I did this with a class, I would probably pick the trees ahead of time and have the key with the highlighted answers to help guide the group in using the key. I learned that I need to learn the terminology in order to use the key effectively.

3. Waiver/Liability and ICE forms: We were given forms to sign in case anyone got hurt. I’m glad that they prepared for this possibility which shows once again how prepared they were.

4. Lunch was provided for the entire group for this first day and that gave us time to get to know one another and process what was learned during the morning.

5. Leave No Trace: Again we were broken up into groups and sent to seven different stations. There was a display at each station and we were to try to figure out the seven principles of Leave No Trace. These principles are:

a. Plan Ahead and Prepare

b. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

c. Dispose of Waste Properly

d. Leave What You Find

e. Minimize Campfire Impacts

f. Respect Wildlife

g. Be Considerate of Other Visitors

6. Hike: We went on a short afternoon hike in the forest and saw a lot of wildflowers and trees along the way. Our leader was very knowledgeable about these things and was able to help us identify them as we walked past them. Even though it was hot and humid, the hike was great to end the day. The rain never started until after we returned to our cars and headed home.

I can’t wait until our next class! We will be meeting at Table Rock State Park. Since our homework was about rocks, minerals, fossils, and other geological information, I bet this day will be spent studying that topic.

crossposted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).

Original Image: Master Naturalist Learners by Pat Hensley