07 May Visit to Whatley Quarry
With lunch boxes in hand BFG class alighted the coach with great excitement for our visit to Whatley Quarry. We arrived and were put into our three groups one group headed off in a minibus for a tour of the quarry, while the other two groups stayed in the classroom to do some activities.
The first activity involved us testing rocks, were they hard/soft? We tested this by scratching the surface with a nail. Were they smooth/rough? To test this, we rubbed the surface with a finger. Was the stone waterproof? For this test we put three drops of water on the surface and timed how long it took to sink in. We then scrutinised the rock for other characteristics like colour, did they have fossils or crystals? Finally, we looked at a branching database to identify the type of rock.
The second activity was looking at the cross-section of a road, what were the different layers? What stone is used for what purpose? Some children recognised the pumice stone, “my dad uses that to scrub his feet!” Apparently it’s also used to make stone washed jeans. The quarry’s life will finish in around 25 – 30 years, so the children discussed what could the quarry be used for when this happens.
On the tour of the quarry, we had to wear hard hats and goggles and all looked rather fetching! The tour was really interesting and informative with the last group getting to see a controlled blast. The dust and smoke billowed in to the air then a second later the boom could be heard, the children were told that this is because light travels fasted than sound. “Is that it?” remarked one unimpressed child!
The day had flown by and sadly it was time to leave. We had all learned lots about stone and how a quarry operates. Whilst back at school as part of their STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art and Maths) work, the children are designing their own ideas for the restoration of the quarry which will be entered into a competition, good luck BFGs!