On Wednesday 18 January Helen Wiltshire’s Year 3 class from Eton Porny School came to the Geography Department at Eton College to learn about rocks. Eton boys in the Social Impact Forum and in the Eton College Community Engagement (ECCE) programme pitched in to help teach the children about different kinds of rocks and how they form. The Geography Department has a wide-ranging collection of rocks and fossils, and it was a great opportunity to display them so that the children could see and touch the different types.

The main focus for the children was to learn about igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks, and about how different types of environments affect the formation and characteristics of rocks. To do this, five different display table displays on different themes were set for the children to rotate through in small groups. Each pupil had the opportunity to handle and make their own observations of the rocks and fossils in each display, and the boys helped to guide them through their question sheets.

The displays brought their learning to life and deepened their understanding by helping them to connect what they had already learned in their classroom with the physical examples. The children were captivated by the various items, for example the beautiful pieces of obsidian, marble, and polished granite, and the session really conveyed the power of object-based learning.

At first, it was difficult to get everyone’s attention but once I convinced the children that the rocks came from explosive volcanoes, they were all ears. I would also say that it was very rewarding to be able to ask them questions at the end and see that they had picked up on the points I was trying to get across about igneous rocks. I would love to do it again in the future!

Beau B, Eton College Participant

I had a great time working with the children. They were, for the most part, attentive and curious about the rocks displayed. There were also a few children who impressed me with their knowledge and probably knew more than I did! I think that the vast majority of the children were able to grasp the fundamental aspects of the rocks and had fun doing it.  I felt as if it was a great learning experience not only for the children but also for me and the other boys.

John B, Eton College Participant