Geology: Our Rockin' Earth

Suggested Grade Level: 5th
Maximum Group Size Per Day: 45 students (plus chaperones)
Download Geology: Our Rockin' Earth lesson plan (pdf, 64kb)
Download Pre/Post-Visit Assessment Score Sheet (pdf, 17kb)
Download Program Evaluation Form (pdf, 17kb)
A boy wearing a bright red hat stands on a rocky outcrop and takes in a scenic view.

NPS photo



The Earth is constantly changing and evolving. These changes occur through natural processes such as plate tectonics, weathering, and erosion, while other changes are caused by human actions. By studying Earth’s dynamic geologic makeup and rock cycle, students will understand the forces and processes that create Earth’s various landforms and develop an appreciation for the importance of geology in people’s lives. As human and environmental impacts are evaluated, stewardship behaviors that support a healthy world will be explored and practiced.


Following the park experience and classroom activities, the students will be able to

  1. name the three major rock categories and explain the rock cycle;

  2. describe the theory of the geologic processes that created the Appalachian Mountains;

  3. identify examples of weathering and erosion and describe the impacts on landforms;

  4. determine the relationships between area geology and living organisms, including people;

  5. describe how ShenandoahNational Park protects geologic resources and list three ways people can help protect and conserve resources.

Virginia Science Standards of Learning Addressed:

Strand: Earth Patterns, Cycles, and Change

5.7 - The student will investigate and understand how the Earth’s surface is constantly changing. Key concepts include

a. The rock cycle including the identification of rock types;

b. Earth history and fossil evidence;

d. Plate tectonics (earthquakes and volcanoes);

e. Weathering and erosion;

f. Human impact.

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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Mailing Address:

Shenandoah National Park
3655 U.S. Highway 211 East

Luray, VA 22835


(540) 999-3500

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