Third Grade

Unit 1

Rocks and Minerals Objectives

GRADE-LEVEL CONCEPT: u Rocks and minerals have properties that may be identified through observation and testing; these properties determine how earth materials are used.

 Describe the physical properties of rocks and relate them to their potential uses.

Relate the properties of rocks to the possible environmental conditions during their formation.


  1. Earth is mainly made of rock.  Rocks on the earthís surface are constantly being broken down into smaller and smaller pieces, from mountains to boulders, stones, pebbles and small particles that make up soil.
  2. Rocks can be sorted based on properties, such as shape, size, color, weight or texture. 
  3. Properties of rocks can be used to identify the conditions under which they were formed.
  4. Igneous rocks are formed when melted rock cools, hardens and forms crystals.  Melted rock that cools slowly inside a volcano forms large crystals as it cools.  Melted rock that cools rapidly on the earthís surface forms small crystals (or none at all).
  5. Sedimentary rocks are formed underwater when small particles of sand, mud, silt or ancient shells/skeletons settle to the bottom in layers that are buried and cemented together over a long period of time.  They often have visible layers or fossils.
  6. Metamorphic rocks are formed when igneous or sedimentary rocks are reheated and cooled or pressed into new forms.  They often have bands, streaks or clumps of materials.
  7. Rock properties make them useful for different purposes.  Rocks that can be cut into regular shapes are useful for buildings and statues; rocks that crumble easily are useful for making mixtures such as concrete and sheetrock.
  8. All rocks are made of materials called minerals that have properties that may be identified by testing.   Mineral properties include color, odor, streak, luster, hardness and magnetism.
  9. Minerals are used in many ways, depending on their properties.  For example, gold is a mineral that is easily shaped to make jewelry; talc is a mineral that breaks into tiny grains useful for making powders.


KEY SCIENCE VOCABULARY:  property, classify, texture, igneous, sedimentary, metamorphic, fossil, crystal, mineral


Lesson1: Sharing What We Know about Rocks- Pre-Assessment


Lesson 2: Observing Rocks: How Are They the Same and Different?


Lesson 3:  Learning More about Rocks


Lesson 4:  Discovering Minerals


Lesson 5:  Sharing What We Know abut Minerals


Lesson 6: Observing Minerals: How Are They the Same and Different?



Lesson 7: Describing the Color of Minerals


Lesson 8:  Shining a Light on the Minerals


Lesson 9: Exploring the Luster of Minerals


Lesson 10: Exploring the Hardness of Minerals


Lesson 11:  Testing the Minerals with a Magnet


Lesson 12:  Describing the Shape of Minerals


Lesson 13: Comparing Samples of the Same Mineral


Lesson 14:  Identifying the Minerals


Lesson 15:  Exploring New Minerals


Lesson 16:  How are Rocks and Minerals Used?


Rocks and Minerals Resources:




United streaming: search Rocks and Minerals (material changes)


The Magic School Bus Rocks and Rolls.-about boulders and rocks


The Magic School Bus Blows Its Top.- island creation



Literature and Reference Guides





Peterson First Guide to Rocks and Minerals. Fredrick H. Pough


Smithsonian Handbooks: Rocks & Minerals. Chris Pellant


Simon & Schusterís Guide to Rocks and Minerals (Rocks, Minerals and Gemstones. Simon & Schuster


The Practical Geologist:  The Introductory Guide to the Basics of Geology and to Collecting and Identifying Rocks. Dougal Dixon


Letís Go Rock Collecting (Letís-Read-And-Find-Out Science. Stage 2). Roma Gans


Rocks and Minerals (Eye Wonder). DK Publishing


Geology RocksQ: 50 Hands-On Activities to Explore the Earth (Kaleidoscope Kids). Cindy Blobaum. (+)


The Practical Encyclopedia of Rocks & Minerals:  How to Find, Identify, Collect and Maintain the Worldís best Specimens, with over 1000 photographs and Artworks. John Farndon













Anasi and the Moss-Covered Rock. Erick Kimmel


Girls Who Looked Under Rocks: The Lives of Six Pioneering Naturalists. Jeannie Atkins


The Pebble in my Pocket: A History of Our Earth. Meredith Hooper


How to Dig a Hole to the Other Side of the World. Faith McNulty


Rocks in His Head. Carol Otis Hurst


The Big Rock (Aladdin Picture Books). Bruce Hiscock



*Please check sites to ensure material has not been altered since publication!  What is mined in each state. lesson plans, literature collection, activities, quizzes, puzzles and more. rock cycle information create site created by 5th graders! –connections, games, labs and more. **Why not use technology teacher to help create your own website, let us know! about different jobs dealing with rocks!! excellent slideshow of rocks and minerals, lessons, and video