The EarthTrek Gravestone Project

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Resource Type:Classroom Activities; Curricula and Instruction
Grade Level:
6 7 8 9 10
Organization:American Geosciences Institute (AGI); Earth Science Week (ESW); Geological Society of America (GSA)
Summary:Raindrops contain more than just water. In addition to the small particles of dust around which water drops form, raindrops can contain chemicals found in the atmosphere. Often rain is slightly acidic. This “acid rain” can chemically affect (weather) materials it touches. The amount of weathering differs from place to place and changes over time. Marble, a stone commonly used to make gravestones, is mostly made up of the mineral calcite. Because calcite is a carbonate mineral, it reacts with any acid, including weak rainfall acids. Over time, therefore, marble headstones slowly wear away. The weathering rates of gravestones show differences in the acidity of rainfall between locations and over time, due to factors such as pollution and changes in climate. The Gravestone Project, part of the global citizen science program called EarthTrek, is seeking volunteers to visit cemeteries around the world and collect scientific data on how marble gravestones are weathering.
Earth Science Big Ideas:Big Idea 3
NGSS Discplinary Core Ideas:ESS2.A
NGSS Performance Expectations:HS-ESS2-2; MS-ESS2-2
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:Analyzing and interpreting data; Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)
NGSS Crosscutting Concepts:Scale, proportion, and quantity; Stability and change
Subjects: earth science week; geology; rocks; weather
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