Organising geology and engineering workshops for schools

21 November 2016

Our team at CampbellReith is highly motivated by their passion for engineering and science and enjoy sharing STEM subjects with the next generation of engineers and scientists. CampbellReith’s Associate Alex Dent, Chartered Geologist in the London office, teamed up with Vivien Dent, his wife and also a Chartered Geologist, to run a series of workshops on geology and engineering at their local school in Hitchin, Hertfordshire.

As part of the national curriculum the Year 3 students had been studying earthquakes and volcanoes. To cement their learning and to fire their imaginations the workshops were based on these themes using simple ‘hands on’ experiments, minerals from Alex & Vivien’s personal collection and selection of rocks that they were able to loan from the University of Cambridge (Sedgewick Museum).

The workshops comprised:

  1. Plate tectonics, faults, earthquakes and seismic waves.
  2. Deformation properties.
  3. Different types of lava and what risks they may present.
  4. Mineral identification using hand specimens.
  5. An overview of different rock types and chance to handle these.
  6. How to select suitable building materials.

After the workshop, students left armed with a ‘goody bag’, which included a copy of the Rockwatch magazine, a volcanoes fact sheet, information on the Sedgewick Museum and a Rockwatch application form. Feedback from the students and teachers was very positive, including some of the comments below:

‘It is so lovely to hear our child so enthusiastic and excited about school. You are all really bringing the topic to life for them’

‘She loved handling the rocks from the Sedgwick Museum and using the hand lens.’

‘He has come home and not stopped talking about different types of volcanoes, converging/divergent tectonic plates, different type of igneous/sedimentary etc rocks and all the experiments you all did during the workshop.’

‘Thank you so much for this session, the children (and staff!) enjoyed it lots and really learnt a great deal.’

Click here to access the educational resources that Alex and Vivien have developed for the workshops. If you are a member of the geological/geotechnical community you are welcome to use them free of charge. They would be happy to discuss their application with anyone intending to use them, just send an e-mail to