Rocks and Minerals Classification
Grade Level(s): 2/3
Description: Students are divided into station groups. Students will learn about the characteristics of rocks and minerals, how rocks and minerals are identified and classified, and finally the chemical properties of these rocks and minerals using an acid test.
Goals: Students will demonstrate an understanding of the characteristics and properties of rocks and minerals.
Objective(s): Students will:
California State Standard-Earth Science:
3. Earth is made of materials that have distinct properties and provide
resources for human activities.
3 parent volunteers per class
Background: Click here for background.
Introduction: 5 minutes
The volunteers should review the background information prior to the activity. Introduce volunteers to class. Two volunteers will set up the three stations while the third volunteer speaks with the class. Ask the students "What do you know about rocks and minerals? Where do they come from?" Accept all answers. Ask the students "Why should we learn about rocks and minerals?" Divide the class into three groups and assign one volunteer to each group. The groups will rotate through the three stations.
Station 1: Learning About Rocks (15 minutes)
Show the group items in the box of products. Some of the items will list ingredients, read over these with the students and let them discuss where that ingredient originates from and what function does it have in the product. Can the students identify items not made of minerals? Ask the class if they can think of other uses for minerals. Refer to the the Rocks and Mineral poster.
Encourage them to discuss the major role rocks and minerals play in helping
us maintain and improve our way of life; can the students list ways rocks are
used in agriculture, arts, communication, construction, consumer goods, energy,
manufacturing, medicine, transportation and science and technology? Guide
and encourage their responses. If they look around the room, can they
identify items that are made from rock or minerals, or
Station 2: How Rocks are Classified: (20 minutes)
In this station students will look at samples from the rock and mineral box.
(Round and smooth rocks have been moved and formed by water and ice). See if the students can pick out obsidian, a shinny, black and very smooth, glass like rock. Next, let them discover the characteristics of pumice relative to the other types of rocks (pumice is a rock that will float in water). As they are looking at the rocks, ask bout weight, flexibility, texture, size, shape and the other properties that we can use to classify rocks.
Encourage them to compare the rocks. With the background information as reference, discuss with the students how igneous rocks are formed.
Station 3: Experiments: The Acid (20 minutes)
Rocks are classified into three main groups depending on how they are formed. Sedimentary rocks are made from sand and silt that have been pressed together into layers. Igneous rocks are rocks that became so hot that they melted, then cooled down and solidified again. Metamorphic rocks are sedimentary or igneous rocks that have been altered by the action of heat or pressure. There are many ways that rocks can be changed. Igneous rocks beneath or on the Earth's surface are constantly subjected to physical and chemical conditions that change them. As a result of these changes, sedimentary rocks, metamorphic rocks, or new igneous rocks are formed. Students should be able to describe and characterize different types of common rocks, use a guidebook to identify rocks and minerals and be aware of the many uses for rocks and minerals in today's world.