Earth & Space Science, Field Trips, Science

Geology Field Trips

Geology Field Trips

Originally published in TEACH Magazine, May/June 2022 Issue

Geology, the study of the Earth, is sometimes a forgotten branch of science compared to biology, chemistry, and physics. Yet, it bears significant importance to matters of everyday life. For example, geology is used in determining building placement, detecting natural hazards, assessing water resources, and remediating environmental problems. Everything we see and interact with relates to geology. It’s never too early to get students interested in this vast and complex field of study. Here are some field trips that can help.

Asheville Museum of Science
Asheville, NC
Grade Level: K–8

The Asheville Museum of Science offers four different geology-focused field trips. Delve into the world of minerals and how to identify them, using authentic scientific tools, in the Mineral Detectives program. Or explore the properties of soil, and how it acts as a filter, through the Soil Savers program. Younger students can even make their own chalk in the Mini-Rologists program!

Dynamic Earth
Sudbury, ON
Grade Level: K–12

Each class visit to Dynamic Earth includes an underground mine tour, a short theatre experience, and up to 2 school programs. Educators can choose from programs such as Crater Maker, which teaches kindergarten students about meteorites; Mineral Madness, where students in Grades 4-6 are shown how to identify common minerals; or Sudbury’s Green Story, a program for secondary students that looks at the city’s unique geology. Dynamic Earth’s website also contains plenty of free resources for teachers.

Fundy Geological Museum
Parrsboro, NS
Grade Level: 1–12

Discover the unique features of Nova Scotia’s Fundy region at the Fundy Geological Museum. Educators can choose from a tiered level of day or overnight trips, all of which come with tours of the museum’s exhibition gallery. Additional features include activities (such as making a geological timeline or creating personalized rock and mineral ID cards) and beach tours, where students can travel to different beaches near Parrsboro to collect minerals, discuss plate tectonics, and more! Note that the museum offers virtual programs and resources as well.

Glacier National Park
Glacier County, MT
Grade Level: 5–9

Students have the opportunity to explore Glacier National Park and its geological features on this exciting outdoor field trip. Over the course of the trip, students will learn about the three main rock groups and the rock cycle, while also practicing how to spot evidence of glaciation, weathering, and erosion. Each field trip comes with a curriculum guide that includes pre- and post-visit lessons as well.


Harvard Museum of Natural History
Cambridge, MA
Grade Level: K–12

The Harvard Museum of Natural History has a wide selection of in-person and virtual field trips to choose from. Students can investigate mineral samples, interpret geological models, act as mineralogists in a lab, and more. Teachers can also access free resources for use in the classroom or while visiting the museum.

Vancouver, BC
Grade Level: K–12

The main role of this British Columbia-based educational organization is to encourage the teaching of Earth science and mineralogy. They offer several classroom workshops, along with a variety of digital resources to support student learning. MineralsEd also facilitates free virtual visits from real-life geologists—check out their Guest Speakers page to learn more.

Santa Barbara County, CA
Grade Level: K–12

NatureTrack provides free outdoor field trips for kids in the Santa Barbara County area. Students can see a 100 million-year-old fault first-hand, or view real-life examples of geo-markers such as pillow lava, blueschist, serpentinite, and more. Each trip can be customized to supplement in-class units of study, and 14 virtual field trips are also available.

Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum
Wembley, AB
Grade Level: K–12

Learn all about the rock cycle, fossils, glaciation, and more at the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum! The museum’s wide range of geology and palaeontology programs are designed for students of all ages and offer connections for Alberta science and social studies curriculums.