EXPAND!: Unit 2.

Rocks, Ice and Dirt:


This section contains items you should use, do, pursue, read, join, etc. to develop as a naturalist and to learn about geology in Pennsylvania.
This section is listed in the following order: Journal, Read, Surf, and Join. There is also an Additional Readings section provided for further investigation into geology.



Use a rock to dig a small hole in the dirt near your house. Closely examine the soil and its contents. What do you see? Is it all abiotic material or are there living components as well? Does the top of the ground differ from the soil a couple of inches below the surface? Can you see even more using a magnifying glass?**Make sure to fill the hole back in when you are done so that the tiny organisms you displaced are back in their original location.**


How much do you miss when you don’t look closely? How does your awareness off the soil and rocks surrounding you change when you have examined them closely?


Make sketches of the interesting components you saw within the soil layers. You can also draw a map of the area around your current journaling location. Make sure to note the locations of features such as animal homes, water feature s, your sitting place, etc.


Roadside Geology of Pennsylvania. Bradford B. Van Diver. 1990. Mountain Press Publishing Company: Missoula, Montana. 352 pp.

Written in terms easy for everyone to understand, this guide tells the story of the geologic history of Pennsylvania, teaches readers to identify rocks and under stand their origins.

Click here to see what libraries carry this title (via Worldcat.org) .
Click here to see Amazon information.

The Philadelphia Area Weather Book. Jon Nese and Glenn “Hurricane” Schwartz. 2002. Temple University Press: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 230 pp.

This book provides a fun and easy to understand account of the history of weather science in the Philadelphia region. It explains how forecasters determine the upcoming weather and introduce the basic concepts of weather. It also serves as a mini-Almanac, covering some of the most extreme weather events in the region’s history.

Click here to see what libraries carry this title (via Worldcat.org) .
Click here to see Amazon information.


The Pennsylvania Geological Survey Classroom and Rock Hound Kit:

Click on the Rock Box link or links to topics of interest! The PA Geological Survey provides list of resources that explain the unique geological features and events of Pennsylvania, including a guide to collecting rocks, oil and gas drilling in the state, and information on sinkholes, earthquakes, and more. There is also a link to the rock box, a unique starter set of rocks commonly found in PA available for purchase.

The United States Geological Survey and Science Education:

The USGS provides a large database of educational materials and tools for educating students of all ages. In addition to current events and news stories related to geology, they also provide lesson plans, outlines for field trips, and other materials like videos, maps, online lectures, and fact sheets.


Philadelphia Geological Society:

The Philadelphia Geological Society (PGS) is a long-standing Society, dedicated to bringing together individuals interested in local and global geology. Members come from all walks of life, including academic and corporate realms, as well as amateur geology enthusiasts. The Society holds regular lectures and plans an annual field trip. Membership is open to all, with a $10/year membership fee, which provides access to meetings from September through May and annual day trips.

Philadelphia Mineralogical Society:

The Philadelphia Mineralogical Society is dedicated to fostering the study and appreciation of minerals among students, amateur and professional collectors, and all others interested in the earth sciences. The Society provides a setting to further your knowledge, start and expand your mineral collection, meet other enthusiasts, and attend lectures and workshops. Members meet at the Cathedral Village in Philadelphia. The Society holds regular lectures, sponsors trips to museums, leads field collecting trips in the local area, and sponsors a two-day mineral exhibit and show in conjunction with The Delaware Valley Paleontological Association.

Additional Readings…

Dmochowski, Jane. National Association of Geoscience Teachers Eastern Section Field Trip, May 21, 2010: Geology of Philadelphia and NW Suburbs. University of Pennsylvania: Philadelphia, www.sas.upenn.edu/earth/eesmajor/DmochowskiFieldGuide.pdf.
** This article seems to no longer to be available online. You may need to contact the University of Pennsylvania’s Earth & Environmental Science Department**

Here is a related document from the National Association of Geoscience Teachers Annual Report

Gelber, Ben. 2002. The Pennsylvania Weather Book. Rutgers University Press: Piscataway, NJ. 288 pp.

Click here to see what libraries carry this title (via Worldcat.org) .
Click here to see Amazon information.

Wyckoff, Jerome. 1999. Reading the Earth: Landforms in the Making. Adastra West, Inc.: Mahwah, NJ. 352 pp.

Click here to see what libraries carry this title (via Worldcat.org).
Click here to see Amazon information.

Continue to:
Unit 3: We’re All Connected: Ecology and the Circle of Life

Go Back to:
Unit 1: Introduction

Updated: June 2018