The Stone Pavilion Project


Dedication Ceremony.
The pavilion is waiting to be explored. It's size is comparable to that of adjacent boulders. The boulder to the left bears a plaque that reads: "In Memory of Benjamin Franklin Koons, B.A., PH.D., 1844-1903, Instructor at Storrs 1881-1903, First President of the College. Erected June 11, 1905 by the Graduates. This section of campus is its oldest.

The possibilities for the Stone Pavilion for lifelong education are limitless. It makes for a wonderful class field trip for any grade, whether in person or virtually. Here we sketch out the key elements of developing educational resources.

College and University

This is already a field trip stop for at least four UConn Courses, ERTH 1050: Earth's Dynamic Environment, ERTH 1052: Earth's Dynamic Environment Lab, ERTH 1055 Honors Core: Geoscience and the American Landscape, and ERTH 1000E Honors Core: The Human Epoch: Living in the Anthropocene. The main objectives are to see real specimens of different rock type, to see different rock and mineral resources, and to see the diversity of stone that makes up the United States.  This site can easily be linked to course materials.

UConn's New Common Curriculum, now in the implementation stage, will require that all students enroll in courses spanning six Topics of Inquiry. The Stone Pavilion provides opportunities to engage with all six.

  • TOI-1: Creativity: Design, Expression, Innovation: Architecturally and aesthetically, the building is unique to UConn. The hexagonal design was perfect for an open-air exhibit of national stones. Their placement in the wall was very creative, spreading them out with other stones.

  • TOI-2: Cultural Dimensions of Human Experiences: The most interesting stone from this point of view is the gray granite from from Stone Mountain Georgia (#9). It was collected before the mountain was converted into the largest Confederate memorial in the nation. Such monuments are coming down all over the country. When will this one be erased? Our stone from the mid-1930s is a reminder of that legacy.

  • TOI-3: Diversity, Equity, and Social Justice: The diversity of national stones symbolizes the diversity of its landscapes, peoples, and environments.

  • TOI-4: Environmental Literacy: Our environment, though changing, is merely one of a series of endless successions. Mortared to the wall are examples of past environments, past ecosystems, and past climates. They provide context for today's Anthropocene epoch. Many of the stones reflect the human urge for mining (silver ore), pumping (aquifer stone), quarrying (building stone), and burning (limestone for concrete).

  • TOI-5: Individual Values and Social Institutions: As institutions, academia has prospered whereas the grange has not, given the transition from an agricultural economy to an industrial economy to an information economy.

  • TOI-6: Science and Empirical Inquiry: Everything we know about the stones within the pavilion we have learned through scientific inference and induction. Thoughts of deep time, ancient life, past environments, crustal processes, and constant change are all the result of this mode of inquiry.


K-12 and Preschool

Dedication Ceremony.
New town-wide elementary school for Mansfield, Connecticut is consolidated from three elementary schools, and is a net zero carbon building. It's students will be visiting the Stone Pavilion.

The materials developed for K-12 education at the Stone Pavilion will be guided by the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which anchor Connecticut and US curricula at all levels. The NGSS is a project of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. National Research Council 2012. A Framework for K-12 Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas. Washington DC: The National Academies Press. htpps://, beginning page 169.

Though the Life Sciences receive far more attention in Connecticut and US curricula, the NGSS states clear that "The life sciences likewise are partially rooted in earth science, as Earth remains the only example of a biologically active planet, and the fossils found in the geological record of rocks are of interest to both life scientists and earth scientists....the underlying traditional discipline of geology, including the identification, analysis, and mapping of rocks, remains a cornerstone of ESS [Earth and Space Sciences.] p. 169.

Specifically Stone Pavilion educational materials will be designed to dovetail with Disciplinary Core Ideas for the Earth and Space Sciences as specified below. They are:

  • ESS1 - Earth's Place in the Universe: A - The Universe and its stars; B - Earth and the solar system; C - The History of Planet Earth.

  • ESS2 - Earth's Systems: A - Earth Materials and Systems; B - Plate Tectonics and Large Scale System Interaction; C - The Roles of Water in Earth's Surface Processes; D - Weather and Climate; and E - Biogeology.

  • ESS3 - Earth and Human Activity: A - Natural Resources; B- Natural Hazards; C - Human Impacts on Earth Systems; and D - Global Climate Change.


All of the Core and Component Ideas from the NGSS can be addressed by learning exercises based on the stone pavilion. Examples include:

Earth's Place in the Universe
  • 1.A-Universe: The composition of all stones, and the earth's crust from which they were obtained, reflect the chemical composition of the universe

  • 1.B-Earth in the Solar System: Earth is differentiated into layers, one of which is the crust. We see no materials from the core or mantle. Earth cycles in space in the solar system, and in time as a planet. The gravitational and centrifugal forces of solar system are responsible for creating the stones through geothermal and climate mechanisms

  • I.C - History of Planet Earth: The oldest rocks in the collection are early Proterozoic in the 2.4-2.1 billion year old (Ga) range. The specimen stones represent a broad sampling of ages to be inserted into an interactive timeline.

Earth Systems
  • 2.A-Materials and Systems: The basic mineralogy and petrology and rock cycle are revealed in the collection of specimen stones. .

  • 2.B-Tectonics: Plutonism, metamorphism, ocean basins, etc. are required to create the forces responsible for making the specimen stones..

  • 2.C-Water: Many of the specimen stones involve the water cycle and weathering, notably sandstone, vesicular basalt and marine carbonates. The glacial boulder from North Dakota and the setting are glacial in origin.

  • 2.D-Climate change: Climate is a constantly changing epiphenomenon of the earth system. Evidence for it is preserved in rock composition, color, and fossils, for example the petrified wood and benthic fauna in marine carbonates.

  • 2/E-Biogeology - The petrified wood, carbonate rocks, and weathering horizons are all manifestations of life..

Earth and Human Activity
  • 3.A-Natural Resources: Within the specimen stones are building materials, notably dimension stone, lime for concrete, and fieldstone. Also present are ores and tourist resources.

  • 3.B-Natural Hazards: Several of the specimen stones manifest geologic hazards, notably the vesicular basalt from many states, and the fault breccia from Connecticut, and the siltstones from flood events. .

  • 3C-Impacts on Earth Systems: Many of the specimen stones were obtained from quarries and mines. The Ogalalla sandstone is an important aquifer..

  • 3.D-Global Climate Change: Rock color and type suggest sea level rise and fall from marine/nonmarine. The petrified wood indicates a monsoonal climate.

All Ages

The stone pavilion is a great place to visit or learners of all ages. UConn has its own Adult Learning Program. This portion of the site is under construction.

Link to UConn's Neag School of Education