Somerset Earth Science Centre
Article by Emma Evans, Senior Geophysicist, ION
Earlier this year the KS2 (ages 7-11) classes of my sons’ school had the opportunity to visit the Somerset Earth Science Centre at Moons Hill Quarry, Stoke St Michael. The centre is located in a purpose built complex on the site of a working quarry and offers educational days for schools as well as family activities at weekends focusing on both geology and ecology.
The centre takes up to 32 children at one time and the class was split into groups to take part in 4 different activities. It’s very much a hands on experience and the children thoroughly enjoyed all the classroom activities. They made and decorated cardboard volcanoes and tried to predict the outcome of an eruption before using soapy water and straws to test their theory.
They learnt about the rock cycle and used hand lenses and flow charts to identify hand specimens and create their own rock fact files.
They also built a volcano out of clay in small groups and used candle wax to investigate the behaviour of molten lava.
As well as the classroom activities the children were taken out in their small groups for a tour of the quarry. They had an introduction to the local geology before being kitted up in hard hats and hi vis jackets to go and see the quarry vehicles in operation as well as a visit to the control room which they found fascinating.
The children (and accompanying adults) had a fantastic day. The Earth Science Centre is a very well designed and equipped resource with enthusiastic and engaging staff. It allows the practical hands on teaching of geology which is so valuable and so appealing to children. Thanks to industry sponsorship (predominantly the construction industry) and some volunteers alongside the paid teaching staff they are able to offer these educational days free of charge. Many thanks to all of you, it would be nice to think you may have inspired some of the next generation of geoscientists.
Contact Somerset Earth Science Centre
Moon’s Hill Quarry, Stoke St Michael, Radstock, Somerset, BA3 5JU