This week, fifth grade students at Lynchburg’s Dearington Elementary School for Innovation were given the opportunity to get up close and personal with a real-world geologic investigation in their own school’s backyard. Karen Weber, Senior Project Geologist in the Blacksburg office of Draper Aden Associates, facilitated an hour-long learning lab that offered students a snapshot of a “day in the life of a geologist.”
The school’s playground is located in Jefferson Park, the site of a landfill which ceased operations in the 1960s. Draper Aden Associates is currently working with Davidson Drilling and the City of Lynchburg to evaluate potential methane and carbon dioxide gasses at the playground. As can be imagined, the large red geoprobe drilling in the playground caused quite a stir in the elementary school.
Ms. Weber used this opportunity to teach the students about the geology of the region by showing them geologic and topographic maps, passing around rock and soil samples, and discussing how field observations show what occurs underground. After leading this interactive discussion, she led the students outside to see the geoprobe in action and helped them examine the soil sample produced by the drill. More than anything, this learning lab showed the students S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering, and math) principals in action and helped them connect the dots between their recently completed geology unit and the day-to-day life of a scientist or engineer.
To read more about and to view a video of Ms. Weber’s interactive classroom day, visit ABC News.