Illawarra Environmental Education Centre

Telephone02 4237 6100

Killalea Rocks

Killalea Rocks

Stage 2 Science and Technology (K-6)

Earth and space


Killalea State Park 

Special notes 

Program involves simple food based experiments. Please advise of any medical needs/allergies of students.

Program overview

This program focuses upon studying the geology of Killalea State Park, examining the Park’s volcanic past and subsequent changes to earth’s surface due to weathering and erosion. Students study the characteristics of soils across a variety of sites within the park and search for evidence of natural changes to local landforms and rocks. The impact of human activity on the park is investigated, leading to the study of appropriate techniques to mitigate erosion.

Inquiry and focus questions

How do natural processes and human interaction change the Earth's surface over time?

Learning experiences  

Gold Panning

At Killalea Beach there was a successful gold panning business conducted for two years by Edward Killalea and Thomas Reddall from 1868. Students observe procedure for panning for gold. Discuss the separation of soil, sand, rocks and gold in the pan. Students pan in the sand and water runoff from the lagoon.

Weathering and erosion

Students work in pairs and using a field guide with photos to identify various forms of weathering and erosion. For example, students will identify abrasion of rocks by sand in the shore and abrasion by sand carried in the wind. They will also identify and describe forms of erosion such as wave cut rock platform and beach erosion caused by waves.

Rock type modelling

In this engaging activity students will use pressure to squeeze three chewy lollies into a ‘new’ lolly, demonstrating metamorphic rocks. Igneous rocks are demonstrated by pouring ice magic onto ice cream and watching it change from liquid to solid form.  Chocolate crackles are made for students to observe that sedimentary rocks are formed when rock particles settle as sediments and are then cemented under pressure.

First hand investigation

This investigation involves students comparing conditions in a rainforest versus a cleared area modified by farming.  Students ensure the testing is fair, make an hypothesis whether the conditions will differ, then they use scientific equipment to measure factors such as soil temperature, pH, wind speed and soil moisture.

Natural changes in the landscape

Students are taken to the cleared area at the top of Killalea where remains of the historic farm are present. And they visualise how the environment has changed from rainforest to an area cleared for farming.  Students are given a weed/native plant checklist and they identify the weeds versus native plants in the area from the hill to the lagoon. As students discover the wide variety of weeds in the park, mitigation strategies are discussed.

Key syllabus outcomes

Science and Technology K-6 (2017)

S2 - Earth and Space, How the Earth’s surface changes over time

A student:

Investigates regular changes caused by interactions between the Earth and the Sun, and changes to the Earth’s surface ST2-10ES-S