Jerome Lesemann, VIU earth science professor, and Gerri McEwen, technician, check a rock for evidence of fossils at Departure Bay Beach on Tuesday. VIU earth science department staff were collecting samples for introductory geology teaching kits that can be supplied to K-12 classes. (CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin)

Jerome Lesemann, VIU earth science professor, and Gerri McEwen, technician, check a rock for evidence of fossils at Departure Bay Beach on Tuesday. VIU earth science department staff were collecting samples for introductory geology teaching kits that can be supplied to K-12 classes. (CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin)

VIU staff go rock-hunting in Nanaimo for grade-school geology courses

University’s earth science department creating introductory teaching kits for schools

The rocks under your feet can be worth their weight in gold as teaching aids for school children taking early steps into learning about geology.

Vancouver Island University hopes its rock-collecting efforts will spark an interest in earth science and maybe even inspire a new generation of scientists in the field of geology.

VIU’s earth science department staff spent some time Tuesday afternoon scouring the south portion of Departure Bay beach for some interesting samples to put into teaching kits for introductory earth science courses in Nanaimo’s schools.

“We’re doing it because we’re working on a project to build some mineral and rock kits for schools in the Nanaimo and Ladysmith school district, but also other school districts that might be interested,” said Jerome Lesemann, VIU professor of earth sciences.

Everything humans grow for food, the circuits in cell phones to the paint on homes and vehicles are all derived from minerals in the earth, but many people don’t understand the important roles rocks and minerals play and how vital geology is to daily life, notes a VIU press release.

Departure Bay Beach offers a variety of volcanic and sedimentary rock and mineral samples – some brought to the site by rock outcrop erosion, others transported there by glaciation – and fossils, making it a handy place to go picking for geology teaching kits.

“It’s good here because it’s easily accessible and it kind of captures some the diversity of the different rock types we find in this area … What we’ve done in the past is we’ve lent out some of our own samples from our department at the university, but that was why we started building these kits. There was a lot of demand for these materials and we figure that we should probably find a way of organizing it more formally so that people have a kit at their own school or come to VIU and borrow it for however long they might need,” Lesemann said.

The assembled kits, put together with help of a $10,000 grant from the Canadian Geological Foundation, will include activities that will teach the characteristics of rocks and minerals, how they formed and what that can tell about geological environments.

Teachers interested in learning more about the kits and VIU’s earth sciences department K-12 education resources can click this link or contact Lesemann at
Like us on
Facebook and follow us on

Just Posted

Nanaimo city councillors have recommended a $1.3-million cycle track for Albert Street between Pine Street and Milton Street. The city held a budget-focused finance and audit committee meeting Friday. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
City of Nanaimo budgets for new $1.3-million bike lane on Albert Street

Potential property tax increase now at 3.6 per cent after finance and audit meeting Friday

Police escorted residents of a homeless encampment on Wesley Street to and from the site to collect their belongings Thursday and Friday following a fire that destroyed several tents and ignited a number of propane tanks. The encampment has been permanently cleared and its residents dispersed. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Occupants of Nanaimo’s Wesley Street encampment offered support following fire and displacement

City of Nanaimo permanently clears homeless camp over ongoing safety concerns

Nanaimo RCMP hope the public can help identify a woman driving a Ford pickup who fled the scene following and collision on Wellington Road Tuesday. (File photo)
Nanaimo RCMP seek driver alleged to have fled from hit-and-run on Wellington Road

Driver allegedly flees scene after head-on crash between two Ford pickups

Creativity Commons manger Jonathon Bigelow is printing copies of ‘Alone but Not Alone: Poetry in Isolation’ using the Nanaimo Harbourfront Library’s Espresso Book Machine. (Photo courtesy Corinne Shortridge)
Nanaimo Harbourfront Library releases COVID-19-themed poetry anthology

‘Alone but Not Alone: Poetry in Isolation’ features poets from across the Vancouver Island region

A Canada-wide warrant has been issued for Romey O’Neill. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo RCMP seek man wanted on immigration warrant

Romey O’Neill, 26, rented Kia sedan in Nanaimo, car was later reported stolen

Pickleball game in Vancouver on Sunday, November 8, 2020. B.C.’s public health restrictions for COVID-19 have been extended to adult team sports, indoors and outside. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
711 more COVID-19 cases detected in B.C. Friday

‘Virus is not letting up and neither can we’

B.C. NDP leader John Horgan releases his election platform, Vancouver, Oct. 6, 2020, featuring COVID-19 relief payments promised for most households. (B.C. NDP photo)
Next $1.5 billion in B.C. COVID-19 cash ‘prudent,’ Horgan says

New round of payments for household incomes up to $175,000

The opening day on Mount Washington this year was Dec. 4. Screenshot
Mount Washington opens on time, COVID-19 protocols in place

“We’re super excited - it’s been six months in the planning.”

Steve Metcalfe, Quality Foods Harewood store manager, holds a poinsettia and a Coins for Kids donation jar, two symbols of Christmas spirit. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin
Coins for Kids collects for Christmas causes in Nanaimo

News Bulletin fundraising for Great Nanaimo Toy Drive, Boys and Girls Clubs

Demonstrators, organized by the Public Fishery Alliance, outside the downtown Vancouver offices of Fisheries and Oceans Canada July 6 demand the marking of all hatchery chinook to allow for a sustainable public fishery while wild stocks recover. (Public Fishery Alliance Facebook photo)
Angry B.C. anglers see petition tabled in House of Commons

Salmon fishers demand better access to the healthy stocks in the public fishery

(Hotel Zed/Flytographer)
B.C. hotel grants couple 18 years of free stays after making baby on Valentines Day

Hotel Zed has announced a Kelowna couple has received free Valentines Day stays for next 18 years

Farmers raise slogans during a protest on a highway at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected the diplomatic scolding Canada’s envoy to India received on Friday for his recent comments in support of protesting Indian farmers. Tens of thousands of farmers have descended upon the borders of New Delhi to protest new farming laws that they say will open them to corporate exploitation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Manish Swarup
Trudeau brushes off India’s criticism for standing with farmers in anti-Modi protests

The High Commission of India in Ottawa had no comment when contacted Friday

Nurse Kath Olmstead prepares a shot as the world’s biggest study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., gets underway Monday, July 27, 2020, in Binghamton, N.Y. U.S. biotech firm Moderna says its vaccine is showing signs of producing lasting immunity to COVID-19, and that it will have as many as many as 125 million doses available by the end of March. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Hans Pennink
Canada orders more COVID vaccines, refines advice on first doses as cases reach 400K

Canada recorded its 300,000th case of COVID-19 on Nov. 16

Most Read