Rocks unlimited

Since 2009, the Seine-Saint-Denis County Council has been backing “la Culture et l’Art au Collège (CAC)”. This project is based to a large extent on the presence in class for several weeks (40h) of an artist or scientist whose mission is to engage the students in a process of research and creation. 

 

Tutors: Thomas Chartier, Samson Marty and Xavier Perrot/ geologists.

Project manager: MATHIEU MARION

 

Objectives:
“Rocks and Us” – this formula could mean many things, including “us among the rocks”. The aim is to understand and appreciate the world of rocks from within; it’s as much about getting as close as possible to specimens as it is about getting as far away as possible in order to grasp the Earth’s formations. 

Workshops:
Snapshots
Geology is also the science of time. It can count on minerals, rocks, fossils – all memories – to recount the history of the Earth. Using a selection of rocks, the geologist shows the students how to reconstitute the formation of soils, study their differences and characteristics and thus discover reference points to indicate the state of the Earth’s crust.

On the Rocks
This phase is based on an exploratory trip to Normandy to the Etretat cliffs and a geological site in Fécamp. The students take a boat to study them from the sea (taking photos, making sketches, taking notes) before studying them from land, taking samples using various methods so that it is then possible to reconstitute the history of the area exclusively through the mineral specimens that have been collected: samples of surface rocks (stones and shingle) and outcrop rocks (chalk and flint), sediments and deeper digs. A session to prepare for the trip is carried out in class to learn about the site, distribute missions and learn a few observation techniques.

Getting the Stones to Talk
This new sequence involves analysing the samples taken from the sites. With an oscilloscope, the students measure propagation speeds. Thin sections are studied under polarising microscopes to identify the minerals and crystals (feldspar, quartz, etc.). Microscopes are also used to examine the layout of minerals, the structure of the rock, the order of crystallisation, etc. 

Outcome:
From 6th to 23rd June, each middle school set up 6 displays. With their exhibitions of a selection of objects and rocks, the students shared their approach and what had fascinated them with the educational community. 

 

Outings:
- GEOLOGY LABORATORY, ECOLE NORMALE SUPERIEURE
- MINERAL GALLERY, NATIONAL NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM
- MINERAL GALLERY, ÉCOLE DES MINES
- FIELDWORK, ÉTRETAT CLIFFS
- FIELDWORK, FECAMP 

Participating schools:
- class 4è, collège JEAN VIGO, EPINAY-SUR-SEINE
- class 4è, COLLÈGE MADAME DE SÉVIGNÉ, GAGNY
- class 4è, COLLÈGE THÉODORE MONOD, GAGNY

 

Photos: PIERRE ANTOINE

Rocks unlimited
Rocks unlimited
Rocks unlimited
Rocks unlimited
Rocks unlimited
Rocks unlimited