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School of rocks

School of Rocks on Tour

If your school is in the Waitaki District, then it is also within the beautiful Waitaki Whitestone Geopark. To learn more about the Geopark, click HERE

We have an exciting new FREE programme to bring to your students.  

School of Rocks is a programme developed by the Waitaki Whitestone Geopark and funded by:  

WHY: To bring elements of earth science to your school that relate directly to our
local landscapes


  • Enabling students to participate in a hands-on learning programme

  • To expand awareness and knowledge about our local geological heritage 

  • To encourage students to become kaitiaki of their land and stories

  • Resources are provided including a take home booklet and certificate of participation


  • Years 5 & 6 but if you are a full primary school years 7 & 8 may wish to participate

  • For a total of 30 students per programme/session  

  • If you have more than 30 students, we can run the same programme on an additional day to ensure all students can participate

WHEN: Term 3 of 2021

HOW: The programme is divided into two parts:

  • Part 1: 1.5 hours - Rock Types and Mapping  

  • Part 2: 1.5 hours - Group Collage, Art Activity (follows on from Part 1)

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Part 1: Introduction to the three main rock types and geological mapping
– 1.5 hours

  • Introduction 

Brief and engaging powerpoint presentation about the geopark – what it is and some interesting land features within it.  

  • Workstation activities 

    • Three 15-minute workstations with hands on activities to teach rock identification skills through observations of hand specimens

    • Making observations of a photo of a thin section of a rock to learn about minerals within a rock

    • Recording observations and interpretations in a purpose designed workbook
      that they can keep

  • Geological mapping

Identifying and locating special sites within the geopark called geosites using a
geological map

  • Debrief

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Part 2: Group Collage Art Activity
– 1.5 hours

  • What did we learn in Part 1?

  • Kaitiaki

What does Kaitiaki mean and how does this relate to our Geopark?

  • Collage activity

Students working collaboratively in their groups as per Part 1.
Using knowledge learned from Part 1 - plan and present their findings in a collage using materials provided.

  • Presentation

Student groups present their collage and Kaitiaki words to the rest of the class.

  • Debrief 

Take home question: How can we all become Kaitiaki of our geopark?  What action can we take as individuals or as a school (action project)?


What do you need to do to participate?


  1. Receive invitation from the geopark 

  2. Confirm participation by emailing

  3. Agree delivery dates with our geoeducator

  4. Confirm with our geoeducator the number of teachers / learning assistants available to help for the length of the programme (note – the classroom teacher is required to remain in the classroom for the programme)


What do you need to do to prepare for the days?


  • You may wish to prepare your students by doing a pre-delivery activity.  Please see below. 

  • Become familiar with the Geopark via our website - You are already here!

  • To allow maximum time for the programme, please ensure the following before the geoeduator arrives:

    • Provide a smart TV/projector set up to enable our geoeducator to plug in their laptop for their PowerPoint presentation (internet not required)

    • Area for students to sit on the mat for the PowerPoint presentation

    • Tables in the classroom to be grouped into three workstations to allow 10 students at each workstation

    • Students allocated into three groups of 10 prior to programme delivery

    • One leader from each student group identified to be a helper

    • Newspaper laid out on tables (to cover and protect the tables)

  • Complete our feedback form – copy is attached for your information with this document

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School of Rocks 2019

Waitaki Whitestone Geopark has teamed up with the local primary school in Duntroon to deliver our first formal education programme, School of Rocks, throughout the 2019 school year. School of Rocks has been delivered fortnightly to four classes (93 students) at Duntroon School through a series of hands-on exercises and experiences and are usually held at the Vanished World Centre in Duntroon.


The goal of School of Rocks is to use local geology as a medium through which to get primary school students engaged in science and technology. Students will explore earth science and spatial technology through a series of hands-on exercises and experiences driven by the scientific process. The principle learning outcome for students is that they gain the skills they need to become responsible kaitiaki (stewards) of the geologic heritage within the Waitaki Whitestone Geopark.  

School of Rocks is supported by MBIE’s Unlocking Curious Minds contestable fund. Learn more about Unlocking Curious Minds here.

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