Friday, July 11, 2014

Rocks & Minerals: Taking a Closer Look at Rocks

Rocks & Minerals is a lesson in our current unit called "Our Earth" in Grade 1 Science. What better way to learn about rocks than to find some to examine? My kids LOVE when they get to be little scientists so I always try to let them get the real feel of being one whenever the chance arises. They take their jobs very seriously (it's really cute)! Before this lesson, they learned about the three main types of rocks: Igneous, Sedimentary and Metamorphic. For this lesson, they are going to think of adjectives to describe their rocks and classify them into categories. They can also see how many minerals they think the rocks are made up of.  

1. First, I prepared bags (cups would work well too) for each student to take outside with them to carry their rocks in. Also, I prepared magnifying glasses for them to use when they get back inside. 

2. Next, I prepared this in advance. I drew enough rocks to allow them each to have a turn to add one adjective to the paper while giving them one example. 

3. We went outside to the park to look for rocks! They had such a great time and we were surprised at our findings. There was a wide variety of interesting rocks out there! Everybody brought their rocks back, laid them out and started examining them through a magnifying glass. While these little geologists were at work, I told them to describe the rocks to their friends and I got a lot of "I have one like that too!", "Oh wow, that's cool." and "Come look at this!" in their conversations.  

4. As they were examining the rocks closely at their tables, I got the students to add one adjective to the chart. I let them do this while they were looking at rocks instead of beforehand so that they had ideas in mind.

5. This was the final list that they came up with. After we finished this list, they all gathered their rocks and started categorizing them. They also were aware that many rocks would fit into more than one category as well. If what they want to say to describe a rock wasn't listed, they were to put it in the middle (the title). 

6. This was how they classified their rocks in the end. They had a lot of fun sharing ideas and discussing about the similarities and differences in the rocks. When we were altogether as a group, we looked closely at the minerals that made up the rocks and what type of rock they would classify them as. Some were trickier than others but they kept the characteristics in mind of each type. This is a fun activity to do with your students in the beginning of the unit to get them excited about rocks! 

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