We recently gave a lesson on rocks and soil to our second graders. As you can imagine, rocks don’t make the most exciting learning material for seven year olds. After a day or two of reviewing different sizes and formations, I could see glazed-over eyes, and was concerned that we weren’t holding our students’ interest.
Later that week I came out for recess duty and found a group of our kids gathered around a dirt pile. One student came up to me with a fist full of dirt. I said “What have you got there?” expecting an earthworm or a piece of garbage, hopefully not glass. To my surprise, the student shouted “Mr. Braxton, Mr. Braxton, look! I’ve got some gravel, and some sand, and this here is a pebble!” They were sorting rocks by size. It warmed my heart to see the students applying what we had learned inside the classroom. Now when I’m walking around outside, I can’t help but classify the rocks I see, too.