Spooky Studies at the Village Cemetery

October 26, 2013
A cemetery is the perfect place to study the weathering of stone. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Studying Stone

In a nature story befitting Halloween, 4th graders at the Jaffrey Grade School have discovered that cemeteries are the perfect place to study the weathering of rocks! Their inquiry-based lessons begin in the classroom, where the students conduct experiments exploring chemical and mechanical weathering.  Then, accompanied by a skilled Harris Center teacher-naturalist, they walk to the Village Cemetery for in situ investigation of a research question of their own choosing.

This year, 4th graders in Marianne Sorrentino’s class recorded the age and stage of weathering of over 100 tombstones (some over 180 years old!), and discovered that marble tombstones weather more quickly than those made of slate.