Curriculum Laboratory

Teaching Ideas Showcase: Stories In Stone, Travels In Time
(A Geology Detective Hunt and Time Travel Adventure)

Students receive a greater depth of understanding of geology using an interactive and imaginative website, activities based on well-reviewed children's literature titles, and generic graphic organizers useful for student comprehension of any topic.

This teaching unit is built around the website,
"Stories In Stone, Travels In Time."

Article about using the website resources at Vulcan Prairieview Elementary School, by Jen Garinger, Debra Glaister, and Bill Glaister.

StarPurposes of the Teaching Ideas Star
Showcase Websites

The Teaching Ideas Showcase web sites and workshops are part of the research and creative activity of the University of Lethbridge Faculty of Education Curriculum Laboratory professional teacher/librarian staff members. These websites/teaching activities can be found at: The purposes of the Teaching Ideas Showcaseweb sites are:

  • To explore the benefits of using excellent children's literature, especially picture books, to teach subjects across the curriculum, and at many different grade levels.
  • These websites and teaching activities also make use of, and highlight, the other types of materials and resources found in the University of Lethbridge Curriculum Laboratory, such as some of our teaching kits, and how they might be used creatively in the classroom.
  • These websites and handouts also serve as the basis for regular displays in the Curriculum Laboratory, so the student teachers at the University of Lethbridge can see examples of excellent teaching materials and units.
  • Most of these web site activities have been field tested in classrooms, as well as presented at professional development days for teachers.


Overview of the Website/Workshop

The geology unit, authored by Bill Glaister, University of Lethbridge Curriculum Laboratory Coordinator, compares and contrasts the geology of Alberta with the geology of the Grand Canyon, one of the natural wonders of the world. It is makes extensive use of well-reviewed science trade books.


  Objectives of WebSite/Workshop

Users will:
  • Explore potential curriculum connections of the unit,
  • Browse a bibliography of recommended geology books for students,
  • Be introduced to major geological themes and concepts,
  • Interact with several options for each of the geological themes presented them (e.g. types of  rocks, rock cycle, fossil types, erosional features, etc.)
  • Discover the “stories” behind various geological clues found in Alberta, Canada
  • Explore the “Grand Canyon” option, that allows them to visit similar geological themes in the Grand Canyon, one of the natural geological wonders of the world.
  • Imagine what North America was like in several geological “time travel” options
  • Be presented with a number of related activities to support the curriculum, often using well-reviewed children's literature titles.


    Potential Curriculum Connections

Language Arts

General outcome 2: Students will listen, speak, read, write, view and represent to comprehend and respond personally and critically to oral, prints and other media texts in various ways.

Topic A, Grade 3 science

Demonstrate knowledge of materials that compromise the Earth’s crust and demonstrate skill in classifying these materials.  Extension activities:  explore erosion, fossils, and analyze the historical clues found in the rocks and soil around us.

Proposed move to Grade 2 science

Alberta Education is considering a move of many of the grade 3 rock unit objectives to grade 2 science. Information will be posted on Alberta Education's web site in March 2009.

Grade 4 Social Studies

Alberta: The Land, Histories and Stories

Grade 4 students will explore the geographic, cultural, linguistic, economic and historical characteristics that define quality of life in Alberta. They will appreciate how these characteristics reflect people’s interaction with the land and how physical geography and natural resources affect quality of life. Through this exploration, students will also examine how major events and people shaped the evolution of Alberta.

As they reflect upon the people, places and stories of Alberta, Grade 4 students will develop a sense of place, identity and belonging within Alberta.

Includes terms related to this unit, such as: fossils, geology, natural resources, protected areas, sustainability.

Grade 7 Science, Unit E: Planet Earth

Though this unit is specifically designed for elementary classrooms, some of the activities, and certainly the interactive web site could be used to introduce these key concepts: strata, rocks and minerals, mountain formation, geological time scale, fossil formation, weathering and erosion, sudden and gradual change.


Produced by:  Bill Glaister, December 2008. A special thank you to Dr. Perry Glaister for acting as a geological consultant for the project. You brought me up with an insatiable curiosity for the stories found in stone. Complete credits for all who contributed to this project can be found on the website.