Starting Them Young
Western Academy Middle School Students Introduced to Plate Tectonics and Sedimentology
New University of Houston faculty member, Joel Saylor, who joined the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences as an assistant professor of sedimentology in August 2013, is making inroads into the Houston community through outreach to local schools.
Responding to an invitation from Western Academy’s middle school science teacher, Saylor led an hour-long introduction to the world of sedimentology research and teaching during a visit to the school in September. Western Academy is a private liberal arts school for boys, grades 3-8 located in Houston.
The fifth and sixth grade students also learned the basics of plate tectonics and the rock cycle before a hands-on demonstration of plate margins. The activity involved sliding a graham cracker “lithosphere” over an icing “asthenosphere” to create divergent, transform, and convergent boundaries. In the highlight of the demonstration, the students then ate their lithospheric plates.