Rocks and minerals lesson.

Our newest rock and mineral lesson. It was great fun and had a lot of interaction.

Our newest rock and mineral lesson. It was great fun and had a lot of interaction.

We have a real love of rocks and minerals in our house. Lots of rocks are “found” for rock collections. When we go to museums, the kids pick up rocks as souvenirs. So we are back to another lesson on rocks and minerals. If you want to get the rock sets that I used for the lesson, they are linked to at the end of the post.

We learned a rock song. We watched this video on the three types of rocks from YouTube and then learned the song. Abby and Nicholas only took two times through to learn the song. I had watched it three times the night before, and written out the lyrics, so that we would have the right words.

Then we reviewed the rock cycle. I created a worksheet that had “fill in the blanks” in various spots. Nicholas simply drew lines from the words to their right spot. Then he cut the words out and glued them into the correct spot. It was a fun time. Abby got her own worksheet, but she simply colored in the blank ovals.

Then we worked on the difference between rocks and minerals. We watched another fun YouTube video. It was made for an older grade, but it was fun to watch and listen to. A great change from the traditional teaching songs you hear.

Next task was for Nicholas to read the cards I had made and sort them onto the “rock” side or the “mineral” side of the paper. I took the properties of rocks and the properties of minerals and put each on its own index card. I made a sheet of poster board (because there’s more to do!), and divided it into “rocks” on one side and “minerals” on the other.

Here’s the list of properties:

Rocks: Groups of one or more minerals, igneous, sedimentary, or metamorphic.

Minerals: Inorganic, naturally occurring, crystal structure, definite chemical structure.

Next, Nicholas got all his rocks out and had to classify them onto the correct side – rock or mineral. It helped that they all come from boxes that tell you what they are – well most of them do. It was fun to watch him take the ones he doesn’t know and try and figure out whether they are rocks and minerals. He used his magnifying glass to look at all the rocks. He took his job very seriously, going through all the steps he could think of to identify the rock and minerals.

Here are the steps he took (and I guided him through). Sometimes he’d had enough exposure to rocks that he could get it right away. Sometimes he needed to take several steps. If he really wanted the name, we looked in our rock and mineral guide to figure out the exact name. I was happy with simply the class of rock it was.

  1. Does it have crystal formations? Are the parts that are showing regular formations?
    1. If yes – it’s probably a mineral and move onto the mineral questions.
    2. If no – keep going.
  2. What is the rock made of? Layers? Flecks of crystal?
  3. Does the rock float?
  4. How hard is the rock?
  5. What color is the rock? Is it many colors?
  6. Does the rock have pores?

*********Remember – most sedimentary rocks have layers and many components because they are rocks made from other rocks. Igneous rocks have pores or are glassy. All other rocks are metamorphic rocks! (This guide holds generally true).********************************************************************************

The next part was fun. Nicholas had to take the rock and mineral identification cards I made and put them onto the correct side – rocks and minerals. However, before he put them on the side of paper they belong to, he had to circle whether it was a rock or mineral, and if it was a rock, what type of rock it was.

Then we simply spent some time reading about rocks and minerals. Nicholas was reading to me and Abby from his  Basher: Rocks & Minerals: A Gem of a Book

Materials we had:

My lesson plan (available on TeachersPayTeachers). This includes the mineral and rock identification cards.

Rock boxes:

Educational Insights Igneous Rock Collection

Educational Insights Metamorphic Rock Collection

Educational Insights Sedimentary Rock Collection

American Educational Classroom Collection of Rocks and Minerals


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  1. Karen Matteson

     /  April 16, 2014

    You guys do a lot of rocks. Are you going to learn about other things as well?

    • We do learn other things as well. It’s just that I don’t post everything. I post our rocks lessons because they are fun, and I’d hate for someone else to have to go through all the trouble of finding everything when I did it already.


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