Next Generation Science Standard MS-ESS2-1: Develop a model to describe the cycling of Earth’s materials and the flow of energy that drives this process. [Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on the processes of melting, crystallization, weathering, deformation, and sedimentation, which act together to form minerals and rocks through the cycling of Earth’s materials.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include the identification and naming of minerals.]
To successfully meet the above standard, students must understand the rock cycle and to understand the rock cycle, they must understand the three types of rocks. This activity allows students to engage, explore, explain their findings as it relates to the three types of rocks.
The lesson begins with each group receiving rock samples (6-9 rocks) that are not labeled. These are the only materials necessary. The rocks have been mixed-up, scrambled. To properly identify each rock as igneous, sedimentary, or metamorphic, students will use a prepared visual media bookmarking page to aid them in investigating what types of rocks there are in the world, characteristics of each type, and any other information that they think can help them to identify each rock sample accurately.
The lesson includes hands-on, group work, and the use of technology to solve the mystery.