Rocks on the Move: Plate Tectonics and Landscapes

Grades 6-12

All teachers new to Rocks on the Move must attend the Teacher Workshop November 3, 2018.

Please see link at bottom of page for Rocks on the Move introductory video.

Point Bonita Lighthouse atop pillow basalt

Take your students on a hike through ancient underwater volcanoes or an investigation of rainbow colored sands to unravel the mysteries of the rocks of the Franciscan Complex. Through guided inquiry and cooperative learning, students connect classroom earth science learning to the dynamic landscapes of the Bay Area, and propose how, when, and where human history and geology interact. Students consider how communities meet the challenges of living in a geologically active environment and a changing climate.

Rocks on the Move uses the Understanding by Design framework, and aligns with the Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core Standards.

Click here for the Rocks on the Move Understanding by Design grid.

Program Description

Rocks on the Move is framed by the Essential Question – "How I do recognize geologic change in my environment?"

Rocks on the Move is structured in three parts:

Classroom preparation – lessons delivered by the teacher and NPS staff with resources provided by the park

Field session – the Headlands experience in which students engage in scientific inquiry and discuss the challenges of living in a geologically active environment and a changing climate

Classroom Assessment - opportunities for students to demonstrate what they have learned through essays or illustrations based on evidence gleaned during the program

Please click here for Rocks on the Move at Point Bonita, Keepers of the Light and Land

Please click here for Rocks on the Move at Rodeo Lagoon, Tracking the Human Footprint

Traveling Trunks are available to all participating teachers. Trunks include Franciscan rock samples, geologic maps and materials, and post-visit classroom lessons to extend the value of the field session.

Go to the award-winning online game Subduction Construction that lets your students dig deep into the story of the Franciscan Complex

Go to PARK Teachers for a wide array of curriculum materials at our online Teaching Geology Resource Center


Last updated: June 14, 2018

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Mailing Address:

Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Building 201, Fort Mason

San Francisco, CA 94123-0022


(415) 561-4700
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