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obsidian. Through this virtual field trip
students see nine different rocks: three
sedimentary, three metamorphic, and
three igneous. They see rocks in their nat-
ural surroundings and connect them with
the geologic processes that create them.
Our geology is specific to California,
but you can create similar tours for your
local area. you can download our tours
(see the resources section) and use them as
templates for creating your own tour any-
where in the world.
Green buildings virtual tour
The Academy’s mission is to explore,
explain, and protect the natural world. Part
of that mission is to educate about sustain-
ability. We lead a series of sustainability-
themed teacher workshops including one
entitled, “green Buildings and Landscap-
ing.” During this workshop, we tour the
Excerpt from a
Academy’s green building. But we want
student journal
our teachers to see multiple examples of
of the “Green green buildings, so we use google earth.
Building Tour”
As an introduction to sustainable
design, we take teachers on a virtual
tour to eleven green buildings around the
sixth graders are responsible for explain- world. Teachers explore the buildings and
ing major features of California geology write down what they think makes the
in terms of plate tectonics. But many buildings “green.” We use the virtual tour
students never see the ocean or the moun- as a kick off for the workshop in which
tains. They never see California geology teachers engage in hands-on design proj-
in action. Without traveling around the ects to green their schools.
state, it is difficult to visualize the differ- We train teachers to use google
ent types of rocks and geologic formations earth to explore science and sustainabil-
in California. What if every student in ity themes. In turn, they return to their
California could take a journey from the classrooms and teach their students. The
Pacific Ocean to the Sierra Nevada? With impact ripples. One teacher who is partici-
this technology, they can! pating in an Academy program called the
We start our google earth geology Teacher Institute on Science and Sustain-
tour hovering over California. We show ability has been using the green buildings
the path we will take on our journey from virtual tour with her students. She frames
the ocean to the high mountain peaks. the activity as a scientific investigation
Then, we swoop in to the beach where we and has students document their explora-
discover something waiting for us. It is a tion in their science notebooks. Through
photograph of sandstone with an explana- this activity, students discover what makes
tion for how this kind of sedimentary rock buildings “green.” This introduction to
forms. After discussing sedimentary rock green buildings around the world inspires
formation, we move on to other locations. students to green their schools. One stu-
For example, we fly to the San Andreas dent wrote, “We want to know how we can
Fault where we find serpentine, and then help Miraloma (their school) become a
over to the Sierra Nevada to learn about greeN building and save energy.”
Page 2 • Connect © synergy learning • 800-769-6199 • January/February 2010
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