|Ornamental wall at gated, front entrance of an estate. Built with a mix of fieldstone and quarrystone from northeastern, Connecticut.
Introduction - Science - Investigating Walls
Garden wall, Block Island, RI.
Stone walls can be approached from any of the classic fields of science.
- Physics: Why do they stand up at all? Force balance and friction.
- Chemistry: Why are the surfaces of the stones rough?
- Biology: Who or what lives on stone?
Using pictures or a field trip, a teacher might ask these leading questions:
- Physics: Why do walls stand up so quietly? Answer: Force balance, friction, and mass.
- Chemistry: Why do stones look different on the outside? Answer: weathering from naturally acid rain, organic contributions.
- Ecology: What lives in stone walls? Answer: chipmunks, amphibians, snakes and "trolls." The plants are very different too.
- Geology: Where did the stones come from? Answer: glaciation and ancient mountain building.
Back to Investigation.