Bureau Staff Engage Students during Elementary School “Geology Day”

April 27, 2023
Children watching model volcano

Excited students view a volcano demonstration by Bureau staff.

Bureau staff recently delighted students at Thornton Elementary School in Temple, Texas, with activities and demonstrations about volcanoes, dinosaurs, and other fossil life, layers of the earth, rocks, the water cycle, and the mystery of invisible gases such as carbon dioxide.

Linda Ruiz McCall, Bureau Information Geologist and Resource Center Manager, was contacted by the school to request a visit to provide a learning enrichment experience for students. The fourth graders at the school had spent several weeks studying a geology curriculum that teaches reading skills while building content knowledge about the earth.

Jessica Watts, Literacy Coach at Thornton Elementary, arranged the school schedule to allow for 250 students and 11 teachers to take part in a special “Geology Day” at the school. Bureau staff and researchers including Dr. Amanda Calle, Lucy Phlegar, Linda Ruiz McCall, Dr. Zhicheng “William” Wang, and Carson Werner provided students with an opportunity to meet real-world geoscientists while learning about the wonders of the earth. Francine Mastrangelo supported the effort by assisting in the development of special posters for the activities.

Both the students and teachers at the school enjoyed the presentations and commented that it was as if the museum came to the school. For more information about outreach activities at the Bureau, please contact Linda Ruiz McCall.

Lucy showing fossils to children

Lucy Phlegar shows students fossils.


Dr. Wang engages students

Dr. Zhicheng “William” Wang engages students in learning about carbon dioxide gas.


C. Werner talking about volcanoes

Carson Werner talks to students about volcanoes.


Dr. Calle teaching students

Dr. Amanda Calle teaches students about rocks and earth processes.


Team photo

Dr. Amanda Calle, Jessica Watts (Thornton Elementary), Lucy Phlegar, Linda Ruiz McCall, Carson Werner, Dr. Zhicheng “William” Wang, and Erika Rains (Thornton Elementary).

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