Young participants in the Surry Arts Council Arts Alive Arts Rock series are not taking everything for “granite.”
Teresa Wilkins, 4-H Youth Development Extension Agent, was on hand on the final day of the rock-themed week of activities to teach participants ages 3 to 5 years about sedimentary, metaphoric and igneous forms of rocks.
“I think it is important for children to understand how rocks are formed,” explained Wilkins after her first morning class. “We are more dependent on them (rocks) than we are aware. Hopefully it will spark an interest in them to learn more.”
Wilkins began the class by telling students that rocks had many uses. She told them we build with rocks and drive on rock. One participant told her another use for rocks was for throwing. Wilkins demonstrated to the class that all rocks are not the same. She said that rocks are made up of many different minerals.
When many in the class said Pilot Mountain was an example of a volcano, Wilkins told them that it was not an inactive volcano but was a large mountain of rock worn down by natural forces into a saddle-shaped mountain.
Wilkins and Extension Service summer intern Ashley Taylor had the participants shave crayons that later were placed in aluminum foil. The children were asked to press, pound or squeeze the wrapped shavings together. Wilkins then unwrapped the compacted shavings and explained how the compacted crayons are similar to sedimentary stone. She said almost any rock that breaks apart easily is sedimentary.
The next form of rock happens when the sedimentary stone compacted by weight of the rocks and debris on it, becomes metamorphic rock. She used a manual press to further compact the crayon shavings rock to make it metamorphic. Wilkins told the group that heat and pressure deep in the earth’s crust causes rocks to change into a form known as magma.
She used hot water in a bowl to symbolize the action of heat on rocks. Once the crayon metamorphic rock was placed in the water, the foil conducted the heat to melt the compressed shavings. The foil was removed from the bowl and allowed to cool.
The result was a different looking rock of shavings that was not as easy to break apart. Everyone seemed familiar with the third form of rock, igneous. This is generally formed from volcanic eruption and is called lava.
Participants were given a bag of fossil containing rocks and encouraged to have parents join with them at home later to spray water on the contents and “discover” fossils such as shark’s teeth and sea shells.
“Geology can be more fun when you see the results,” added Wilkins. She said the classes scheduled June 25-28 would be for participants 6 to 11 years of age and would be more in depth and have more hands-on experiments. The Arts Alive Rocks events that week are set to be held from 9 a.m. to noon.
Arts Alive spokesperson Lizzie Morrison said that the Arts Alive Parade & Festival had been set for June 28. Participants are asked to gather at BB&T bank in their Arts Alive T-shirts and encouraged to bring musical instruments. The parade is set to begin at 5:45 p.m. The parade route will begin at BB&T and end at the Andy Griffith Playhouse.
Morrison said that participants will gather on the Andy Griffith Playhouse stage for the final show, which is a performance by Arts Alive participants.
Reach David Broyles at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1952.