Schoolyard Geology, a new web site from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), gives teachers lessons and activities to conduct a geologic field trip right in their own backyard. Some of the activities and lessons include mapping the schoolyard using USGS’s National Map, locating and identifying rocks, and learning geologic concepts such as glacial striations, layers, and sinkholes. The web site shows teachers how they can lead field trips within the schoolyard by using building materials and urban landscapes to introduce students to geologic processes, while opening up and expanding their curiosity about the world around them. Students can participate in a GeoSleuth Murder Mystery, in which they reconstruct the present-day landscape around them by making observations, and they also learn the difference between observations and interpretations. Interactive student activities also teach about fossils, dinosaur tracks, and how old rocks are–with side-by-side comparisons of schoolyard activities and what actual geologists do.

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