© Kwong Yee Cheng


We have Bilingual Educators! Let us know if any students or chaperones in your class might benefit from activities taught in Cantonese, Mandarin, or Spanish.

Learning Objectives (4th Grade)

By the end of this field trip program students will be able to:

  1. use a variety of scientific tools to identify evidence of erosion, and stability in diverse geological sites
  2. develop arguments from evidence to compare and contrast benefits and risks of certain locations


Program Summary

How do geologists know that a building will be in a stable location over time?

In this program, students take on the role of working as geologists for the city of San Francisco. The students’ mission is to explore the properties of rocks at specified locations in order to determine if evidence shows one site is more geologically stable than others.

Students rotate through investigation stations to collect evidence by using iPad microscopes, stereoscopes, hardness tests, and time lapse pictures. The class then uses the evidence from the investigations to engage in scientific arguments that help them make recommendations for the future site of a water-recycling factory.

Classroom Curriculum Connections

Prepare your students by playing the Rock Cycle Roundabout Game to help your students understand geologic processes over time. 

Tips for Scheduling Your 2019-2020 Field Trip

Select Mondays as your preferred visit dates to improve your chances of getting a San Francisco Geology program for your class.

This 70-minute program for 4th grade classes from San Francisco schools is offered on most Monday mornings throughout the school year, once at 9:30 am and again at 11:30 am.

We recommend you plan a visit with a buddy teacher from your school!

Next Generation Science Standards

Science and Engineering Practices

  • Planning and Carrying Out Investigations: Make observations and/or measurements to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence for explanation of a phenomenon or test a design solution.
  • Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions: Use evidence (e.g., measurements, observations, patterns) to construct or support an explanation of design a solution to a problem
  • Engaging in Argument from Evidence: Construct and/or support an argument with evidence, data and/or a model.

Disciplinary Core Idea

  • 4-ESS2.A: Earth Materials and Systems: Water, ice, wind, living organisms, and gravity break rocks, soils, and sediments into smaller particles and move them around.

Crosscutting Concepts

  • Stability and Change: Change is measured in terms of differences over time and may occur at different rates
  • Structure and Function: Different materials have different substructures, which can sometimes be observed.

Related Performance Expectations

Remember, performance expectations are not a set of instructional or assessment tasks. This field trip activity is just one of many that could help prepare your students to perform the following hypothetical tasks that demonstrate their understanding:

4-ESS2-1. Make observations and/or measurements to provide evidence of the effects of weathering or the rate of erosion by water, ice, wind, or vegetation. [Clarification Statement: Examples of variables to test could include angle of slope in the downhill movement of water, amount of vegetation, speed of wind, relative rate of deposition, cycles of freezing and thawing of water, cycles of heating and cooling, and volume of water flow.]

Grades: 4th Grade
Program Duration: 70 minutes
Capacity: 35
Price: Free
Time Slots: 9:30 am, 11:30 am
2019-2020 Rock Fund Field Trips

Dates for next school year are now available! To apply, prepare up to 5 preferred visit dates and prioritize your program choices.