Rocks and Minerals
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.
properties of rocks to the possible environmental conditions during their
- 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
- Rocks can be sorted
based on properties, such as shape, size, color, weight or texture.
- Properties of rocks
can be used to identify the conditions under which they were formed.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- All rocks are made of
materials called minerals that have properties that may be identified by
properties include color, odor, streak, luster, hardness and magnetism.
- 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
KEY SCIENCE VOCABULARY: property,
classify, texture, igneous, sedimentary, metamorphic, fossil, crystal, mineral
Lesson1: Sharing What We
Know about Rocks- Pre-Assessment
- Students set up science notebooks in which they
will record their observations, ideas, and question.
- Students share their ideas about rocks and
discuss what they would like to learn about them.
- Students observe three rocks and record their
descriptions of them.
- Students connect their descriptions of rocks with
the properties of rocks.
Lesson 2: Observing Rocks:
How Are They the Same and Different?
- Students observe and describe the properties of
- Students sort rocks according to similarities and
differences they observe.
- Students describe and discuss the properties that
were the basis of each sort.
- Students sort rocks according to properties
suggested by their classmates.
Lesson 3: Learning More about Rocks
- Students use a Venn diagram to identify and discuss
similarities and differences among rocks.
- Students read about and discuss how rocks are
- Students identify observable properties that are
related to how rocks are formed.
- Students use properties related to how rocks are
formed to sort rocks by classes: sedimentary, igneous, or metamorphic.
Lesson 4: Discovering Minerals
- Students review and summarize the properties of
the rocks they have observed.
- Students compare rocks and minerals and discuss
the similarities and differences between them.
- Students observe and describe three minerals.
- Students record and discuss their observations of
Lesson 5: Sharing What We Know abut Minerals
- Students share their ideas and questions about
- Students observe and describe 12 minerals.
- Students compare and discuss their observations
of the 12 minerals.
- Students compare and describe similarities
between samples of the same mineral.
Lesson 6: Observing
Minerals: How Are They the Same and Different?
- Students observe, describe, and draw each mineral
in their set.
- Students observe, describe, and record the
texture and smell of each mineral.
- Students discuss the similarities and differences
- Students discuss the different terms they used to
describe the same property.
- Students set up their mineral profile sheets.
Lesson 7: Describing the
Color of Minerals
- Students describe and record the observable color
of the 12 minerals.
- Students sort their minerals on the basis of
- Students apply the streak test to their minerals.
- Students describe and record the results of the
- Students compare and discuss the differences
between each mineralís observable color and its identifying (streak)
Lesson 8: Shining a Light on the Minerals
- Students test how much light shines through each
of their minerals.
- Students compare and discuss each mineralís
ability to transmit.
- Students sort the minerals according to their
ability to transmit light.
- Students record the results of the light test.
Lesson 9: Exploring the
Luster of Minerals
- Students observe, discuss, and describe the
luster of minerals when they are placed under bright light.
- Students sort their minerals according to
similarities and differences in luster.
- Students record the results of the luster test on
their mineral profile sheets.
- Students summarize the information they have
recorded on each mineral and begin to identify its distinguishing
Lesson 10: Exploring the
Hardness of Minerals
- Students test, compare, and discuss the hardness
of 12 minerals.
- Students sort minerals according to their
- Students record the results of hardness test.
Lesson 11: Testing the Minerals with a Magnet
- Students test minerals with a magnet and observe
and describe the results.
- Students record and compare results of their
- Students read to learn more about magnetite.
Lesson 12: Describing the Shape of Minerals
- Students observe and describe the shapes of four
new mineral samples.
- Students compare the shapes of the 12 minerals in
their set and the new samples.
- Students sort the 12 minerals on the basis of
- Students discuss and record the shapes of their
Lesson 13: Comparing
Samples of the Same Mineral
- Students review and summarize what they have
learned about the 12 minerals.
- Students identify distinctive properties of each
mineral and use them to describe the mineral.
- Students compare and contrast several samples of
the same mineral.
- Students reflect on their new observations of
minerals and share ideas and questions about them.
Lesson 14: Identifying the Minerals
- Students analyze a mineral identification card
and select the properties that will allow them to identify a sample of
that mineral from among the 12 minerals in their set.
- Students apply problem-solving skills to identify
each of the 12 minerals by name.
- Students make field guides with their set of
mineral profile sheets.
Lesson 15: Exploring New Minerals
- Students apply tests to describe new minerals.
- Students record and discuss the results of their tests.
- Students identify and discuss similarities and
differences between known and unknown mineral.
- Students communicate in writing how they have
recorded to identify three new minerals by name.
- Students communicate in writing how they
identified the new minerals.
Lesson 16: How are Rocks and Minerals Used?
- Students suggest possible uses for rocks and
- Students read to learn more about how rocks and
minerals were used.
- Students prepare and share reports on specific
rocks and minerals.
- Students complete a Venn diagram showing the
similarities and differences between the rocks and minerals they have
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
Rocks & Minerals. Chris Pellant
Simon & Schusterís
Guide to Rocks and Minerals (Rocks, Minerals and Gemstones. Simon & Schuster
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
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
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!
www.msha.gov/KIDS/MINING.HTM 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
about different jobs dealing with rocks!!
excellent slideshow of rocks and minerals, lessons, and video