At the University of Toronto, there are a number of outreach programs aimed at engaging high school students to ease the transition between secondary and post-secondary education. The Geomechanics group participated in one such program (The Saturday Program) where workshops are held every Saturday and various engineering disciplines discuss the fundamentals of their work.
The Geomechanics group hosted the “Rocks are Fun” workshop and tried to give the students a whole interactive experience in the considerations between various geomaterials within the range of soils and rocks. Following a quick introduction, samples of various types of sand and clay were provided to the high school students to understand the role of texture and grain size in various types of soils. Delving smaller in scale, various petrographic thin sections and hand samples were displayed under a camera and in some cases under a microscope to indicate the complexity of the rocks and their formation. Using a petrographic microscope under different light and polarization, students were given the opportunity to see how various mineral structures can appear. The remainder of the workshop was left to open discussions, and the students were given the chance to use the microscope and physically handle some of the rock samples and see how rock testing is conducted.
The Geomechanics group would like to thank Prof. Karl Peterson as his help was fundamental in making this workshop a success.
Several pictures are courtesy of The Saturday Program.