Rocks on the Move: Geology Inquiry for Grades 6 - 12

This program will not be offered virtually during the 2021-2022 school year. Please check back next school year for program opportunities.

View of Golden Gate Bridge from the Marin Headlands
Golden Gate Bridge from the Marin Headlands

Suzanne Garcia

Rocks on the Move brings young geologists to the scenic Marin Headlands, where the science of plate tectonics unfolds in the landscapes around us. Through both individual and small group work, students use geologic maps, historic photos, data from local scientific studies, and framed transparencies to find evidence of deep seafloor processes, including volcanism, deposition, fossilization, past climates, and tectonic plate movements.

Using skills honed during the National Park Service pre-trip classroom session, students pose questions to investigate during their trip to the park. While at Point Bonita or Rodeo Beach, students collaborate to predict how natural and human impacts may change these landscapes.

Rocks on the Move uses the Understanding by Design framework, and aligns with Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core Standards. Programs are framed by the Essential Question - "How do I recognize geologic change in my environment?"

Rocks on the Move programs are structured in three parts:

1. Classroom Preparation - lessons delivered by the teacher and NPS staff with resources provided by the park

2. Field Session - the park experience during which students investigate seafloor rocks and climate change, engage in scientific inquiry, and discuss the challenges of the scientific process

3. Classroom Assessment - opportunities for students to demonstrate what they have learned through written reflections gleaned from classroom activities and the park visit


To serve students from the broadest range of abilities and interests, we offer teachers three distinct Rocks on the Move education programs.

Click on the photos below to learn more about the three options:

Point Bonita Lighthouse and suspension bridge

Rocks on the Move at Point Bonita

Explore ancient underwater volcanoes along a dramatic trail

Rainbow at Rodeo Beach in the Marin Headlands

Rocks on the Move at Rodeo Beach

Feel Earth's history in the rainbow sands on Rodeo Beach

Radiolarian chert on Rodeo Beach in the Marin Headlands

Planktonic Landscapes

Discover the power of microscopic plankton - intended for grades 7-12

Multi-colored beach pebbles from Rodeo Beach in the Marin Headlands

The "Rock Quarry"

Access geology lessons for secondary grades

Sea stacks at low tide on South Rodeo Beach in the Marin Headlands

Rock! Pattern! Systems!

Explore seafloor discoveries for fourth grade

Pillow basalt arch at the Point Bonita Lighthouse

PARK Teachers Geology

Find geology resources for new teachers and college credential candidates


Watch: Introduce your students to being field geologists


Last updated: September 1, 2021

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Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Building 201, Fort Mason

San Francisco , CA 94123-0022


415 561-4700

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