Your students are about to become real geologists as they explore the world of rocks, crystals, gems, fossils, and minerals by moving beyond just looking at pretty stones and really being able to identify, test, and classify samples and specimens you come across using techniques that real field experts use.
The best part is that there is not only a worksheet you can print out and hand to your students, but there's also an instructional step by step video that you can use along with your students or to help you prepare for class, so you can do this lab even if you don't know anything about rocks yourself.
This experiment really overviews what geology is while learning about rocks and minerals. I will often teach this lesson before diving into the details of rock and mineral identification and classification, or teaching the different types of minerals and the parts of the rock cycle, just so the students can get excited and interested in learning about the subject in the first place.
I do this lesson every year with my students in grades 1 through 6, and it's ways a hit! I found this bag of rocks one day in a toy store, and it was the best collection of rocks I'd run across for such a cheap price (and I have a LOT of rocks!). So I created a whole lesson out of it, and it's one of my key teaching pieces during our rock studies.
Students will have 30 rocks, minerals, fossils and gemstones to sort and identify using the tests and techniques we’ve covered. You’ll need to purchase a set of the rock samples ahead of time, one per lab group plus an extra or two for yourself. (The good news is that they are reusable year after year.)
While most people might think of a rock as being fun to climb or toss into a pond, you will now be able to see the special meaning behind the naturally occurring material that is made out of minerals by understanding how the minerals are joined together, what their crystalline structure is like, and much more.