Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Carol Smith

Second Advisor

Nina Greenwald


How can the Boston Museum of Science be of help to classroom teachers when planning a field trip? The synthesis presents a set of lesson plans for 3rd to 5th grade science teachers in the Boston area, with an ultimate goal of promoting students’ critical and creative thinking in their classroom units on rocks and minerals. The program was designed especially for those in the New England area because these states are within proximity to take a field trip to the Boston Museum of Science. The institution has many rocks and mineral samples from around the world and in the Northeast and interactive geology exhibits. This curriculum guide is designed in a three-part system. This offers the students a chance to get acquainted with an inquiry-based program prior to their museum visit. A group of pre-visit lesson plans is devised in order to get the students oriented into thinking about rocks and minerals as a geologist would. They will be challenged to consider what the earth looked like a long time ago and how scientists determine the age of rocks. They will examine rock samples and work together in teams, the Great Rock Detectives, to try to classify their rocks as igneous, metamorphic, or sedimentary. Students also have the opportunity to problem solve and try to decide what features of rocks give clues about how they were formed. The second group of lesson plans is intended for classes traveling to the Museum of Science for a field trip. To carry through what the students started in the classroom, the collections the students brought from their classroom will be a part of their exploration in the museum. They will be challenged to use the exhibit activities and resources to figure out what types of minerals are in their rock and to figure out what type of rock it must be. The last part of the program is for the return to the classroom after a field trip to the museum. Once the students have come to conclusions about their rock samples, they can further their creativity surrounding the rocks they collected by writing a newspaper, poem, or short story. This also gives the classroom teacher a chance to assess what the students have accomplished.