Use this Lab What’s In Your Rock Carton to enhance your Rock Unit and help students strengthen their observation skills. Students are given an egg carton with 7 rocks numbered 1 through 7. Your students will use the Rock Key, a dichotomous key, to help them identify which type of rock the sample is: igneous, sedimentary, or metamorphic. The first page of the lab identifies the sample by rock name and a number. You may choose to use the second page which does not include the names of any of the rocks. If students know the rock type just from its name, using page two will avoid students just filling in the rock type answer and require them to use their observations skill to figure out the rock type. The materials required to complete this lab are: samples of pumice, gneiss, schist, granite, basalt, slate, obsidian, shale, and conglomerate, egg cartons, and rock key (it’s included in the word document). Two answer keys are provided.
Before I begin my rock unit, I give lab groups these egg cartons to examine the rock samples. The group’s job is to create a museum exhibit classifying the samples any way they wish. The exhibits are created on large white boards or butcher paper. Then the class takes a museum walk around the room, enjoying the other exhibits and discussing how other groups chose to classify. This activity excites the students’ interest in rocks and kicks off our unit.