Feet on the ground

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:  Corentin Le Guillou/ cosmochemist, Sylvain Bernard/ geochemist, Alexandre Schubnel/ seismologist

Project manager: Stéphane Coulaud

 

Objectives:
Certain accessible, open-air sites have much to tell about the Earth: its formation long ago, the forces that shaped it and its present resources. Through class and field work, the pupils learn how geologists go about studying the archaeology of the earth or the production of shale gas.

Workshops:
Rock mechanics
In two classroom sessions, the pupils learned about geological time scales, aspects of the origin and formation of the Earth, rock mechanics, seismology, and radioactive dating techniques. This was preparatory work for a trip to the northern point of Cotentin region, to understand the chronology of the rocks they had observed and see the terrain they would study.

Europe’s oldest rocks
The class spent two days with the geologists in the Cotentin region, observing outcrops and taking samples of rocks typical of the region. A customs path runs along the shore from village of Omonville-la-Rogue to Étimbert point. This site has outcrops of gneiss, the oldest rock in Western Europe, which is 2.06 billion years old. On a second site the pupils observed traces of volcanic activity. They finished on the Flamanville site, where they found pink granite, once a magma bubble. They took samples of each type of rock to analyse later.

Making the stone talk
Back in class, they analysed the specimens they had collected. Each sample was sawn, to reveal the best face, and polished, to bring out its constituent parts. The pupils took notes about the characteristics, colours and shapes of the crystals. This phase ended with an examination of thin slices of rock under a microscope, using natural and polarising light.

Outcome:
A set of showcases measuring two metres long was built for each class. They were filled with photographs and samples of polished geological specimens; texts; tools, maps, surveys and photographs of the sites. The showcases were installed in the participating schools and the pupils acted as mediators.

 

Outings:
- EXCURSION TO COTENTIN: OMONVILLE-LA-ROGUE; JARDEHEU POINT; FLAMANVILLE AND DIÉLETTE PORT
- MUSÉUM NATIONAL D’HISTOIRE NATURELLE: MINERALOGY GALLERY AND THE EXHIBITION “TREASURES OF THE EARTH”.

Schools:
- Class (5th) Collège Anatole France, Les Pavillons-sous-Bois
- Class (5th) Collège Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Rosny-sous-Bois
- Class (5th) Collège Jean Jaurès, Saint-Ouen
- Class (4th) Collège Évariste Galois, Épinay-sur-Seine

 

Photo: GUILLAUME LEBRUN
Scenography: ELODIE DESCOUBES

Feet on the ground
Feet on the ground
Feet on the ground
Feet on the ground