A Rockin' New School Year: Geology for Everyone!
Sometimes the simplest things make the most memorable lessons. You can find rocks just about anywhere, and most kids have collected them at one time or another. Careful examination, comparison, and classification are a big part of rock collecting. Kids who enjoy finding and sorting rocks will learn a lot about geology and earth science while doing something they enjoy.
As many students and teachers head back to school, I will end my Summer Slide Buster series and focus more on classroom activities again. The following lessons are a good transition for this, since they would fit in as summer and school year activities. They are fun home extension or home school activities, and they are valuable classroom activities as well. As always, please leave your input about any of these ideas on our Facebook and Twitter pages and be sure to follow those pages all week for more resources.
Joann compares rocks to chocolate chip cookies in her column this week. I love the analogy to food, and I know quite a few students who would love to make and eat some homemade “rocks” we make in class. I found a neat baking activity that would be a good introduction to rocks and minerals. In Rock On, students make different types of candy and cookies and compare their properties to different types of rocks. This would be a fun home activity and would also work well in a class with access to a kitchen. If you don’t have kitchen access, If You Bit A Rock is a good alternative. The activity uses students’ knowledge of the physical characteristics of candy bars to help them understand the characteristics and composition of rocks. It also helps introduce the geological terminology scientists use to describe rocks. NHMU: Create Your Own Rock is another option. This activity will help students visualize the way different minerals combine to form rocks as they create their own “rocks” from paper scrap “minerals.”
A yearlong class rock collection is a fun way for students to work together for a common goal throughout the year. Collecting, discussing, categorizing, and labeling rocks as a class will allow a teacher to integrate earth science throughout the year. Rock Hound
is a wonderful resource to help you start your collection. If you get really ambitious, you could start collecting bugs, too! We will write more about entomology later this year, but if you are considering a bug collection, be sure to check out AES Bug Club For Young Entomologists first.
Rocks are all around you, so why don’t you encourage your students to bring them inside the classroom to learn something from them? Join us this week on Facebook and Twitter to discover more rock and mineral lessons for your classroom this year.