Geological Sciences Outreach

Courtney Onstad 

Geology Outreach Coordinator 
Geology 136

  • For inquiries about Geology outreach for elementary, middle and high school students please contact Courtney Onstad ( for details and booking.
  • For inquiries about Geology outreach for the general public please contact for more information.

Drake the Geologist
Take a tour of the Geology building with Drake the Geologist!

The Department of Geological Sciences is dedicated to undertaking outreach activities and providing presentations tailored to elementary, middle and high school students.   

We have PowerPoint presentations (with videos) and hands-on activities available (listed below). Alternatively, as this is a new program for us, we are actively developing new activities and presentations and are open to any suggestions about topics that may not be included below. Each presentation (including hands-on activity) lasts about 10-30 minutes. With this in mind, we typically present two to three presentations at each outreach event. 

At this moment, two options exist for your Geology outreach experience.

  1. A few volunteers from the Department of Geological Sciences will travel to your school and give the presentation (with limited supplies).
  2. Elementary, middle, high school students can come to our department where we have many microscopes and hand samples available. 

Geology Outreach with kids Geology Outreach with kids Geology Outreach with kids

Currently available lessons follow with more lessons coming soon. 

Rock Talk: Introduces the three rock types and the rock cycle
(hands on: assortment of rock samples including metamorphic, igneous and sedimentary rocks) 

Minerals: Discusses various properties that can be used to identify minerals in hand sample and in thin sections
(hands on: a variety of minerals in hand sample and thin section, involves using a microscope) 

Volcanoes: Describes the various types of eruptions and volcanoes
(hands on: volcano eruption experiments) 

Plate Tectonics: Introduces the Continental Drift Theory, evidence of the formation of Pangea
(hands on: paper cut-out plate reconstruction) 

Erosion: Compares wind, water, soil and ice erosion
(hands on: students test out erosion types in a plastic bucket)

Fossils: Become a paleontologist for the day and discover the basic ways to identify various fossils
(hands on: analyze pristine fossils and students have the opportunity to make their own)

Note: Any of these presentations can be tailored for any particular grade