Engage: Rock or Not

Look at each picture. Is the object a rock?

Drag and drop to sort the objects.

How did you sort the objects?

How did you decide if the object is a rock?

Explore: Rock Sort

Are all rocks the same?
 

Hands-On Activity icon

  1. Collect 10–20 rocks of different size, shape, color, and texture.
  2. Use your senses of sight and touch and a hand lens to observe and sort the rocks.
  3. Sort the rocks by size, shape, color, and texture, and then sequence the rocks from smallest to biggest.

You may choose to print the RM 2 pages found in the View Related Items section to help you sort.

Answer these questions after you explore your rocks.

  • Are all your rocks the same size?
  • What shapes are the rocks in your collection?
  • Do you see different colors in your rocks?
  • When you touch your rocks, what do you notice?
  • Look at the different shapes of your rocks. What kinds of shapes do you see?
  • What other words can you use to describe how the rocks look?
  • If you pick up your rocks one at a time, do they all feel like they weigh the same?

Explain: Rocks

Click the picture to read My Rocks.

My Rocks book cover

Use the facilitation questions to create a poster or science notebook entry listing words that describe rocks.

  • What shapes are the rocks in the book?
  • What colors are the rocks in the book?
  • What are the different sizes of rocks we read about?
  • Where have you seen big rocks?
  • Where have you see small rocks?
  • What other words can you use to describe how the rocks look?
  • What other words can you use to describe the texture of a rock?

Elaborate: My Rock Rocks!

Hands-On Activity icon

  1. Find a partner.
  2. Collect one rock for you and one rock for your partner.
  3. Observe your rock.
  4. In your notebook or on RM 3 (found in View Related Items) describe your rock, then compare your rock to your partner’s rock. Be sure to include the size, color, shape, and texture of your rock.


What color is your rock?
What size is your rock?
What is the texture of your rock?
What shape is your rock?
How does your rock compare to your partner’s rock? How is your rock similar to your partner’s rock?

Evaluate

Test your ability to observe and describe rocks.
To retake the quiz, reload the page and the select “No” when the “Resume Quiz” dialog box appears.

Teacher Notes

Engage

Students will sort the images on the T-chart to show that they can differentiate between an object that is a rock and one that is not.

Students in kindergarten may have varied experiences and knowledge of rocks. Kindergarten students are expected to observe, describe, compare, and sort rocks by size, shape, color, and texture. They do not need to learn about the different types of rock or about the rock cycle. In fifth grade, students will explore how sedimentary rocks form as part of the rock cycle.

How did you decide if the object is a rock?  Answers will vary depending on student experiences with and knowledge of rocks. Students may place the BB, brick, and shell in the "Rocks" column. Students may place the sand in the "Not Rocks" column because they do not know that sand is tiny pieces of rock.

Hands-On Activity (optional)

Collect a variety of rocks from nature, or purchase sets from discount stores, home improvement stores, or education supply companies. Throughout this lesson, you will need rocks of different sizes, shapes, colors, and textures. Try to use rocks as they naturally occur rather than cut or polished rocks. Ask coworkers, friends, and neighbors if they have rock collections they are willing to share with your class for this lesson. Students should learn that there are many different kinds of rocks in the world—more than what they find in the driveway.

Safety Alert

Monitor students as they work with small objects such as BBs, small rocks, and sand. Remind students to avoid putting materials in their mouths to prevent choking hazards.

Explore

You will need the following materials:

  • hand lenses
  • rocks (10-–20 rocks of different sizes, shapes, colors, and textures)
  • RM 2 (see Related Items)

Students should have opportunities to explore rocks of different sizes, shapes, colors, and textures. Model how to observe the rocks by touch and sight, using your eyes, a hand lens, and your hands. You may choose to display a golf ball, a baseball, and a soccer ball so that students can use these as models for the different sizes of rocks.

Rocks can be many different sizes, and the size of a rock determines what we call it. Boulders are big rocks; they are larger than a soccer ball. Cobbles are medium-size rocks; they are larger than a pebble or about the size of a baseball. Pebbles are small rocks; they are smaller than a golf ball. A grain of sand is a tiny rock. Rocks can feel smooth or rough to the touch. Polished and tumbled rocks will feel smooth and appear shiny. It is important to note that although some rocks found in nature appear polished and tumbled, rocks purchased from a rock shop that have been polished or tumbled will likely be more smooth and shiny.

Instruct students to sort the rocks by size, shape, color, and texture. You many choose to print the pages of RM 2 (see Related Items) to guide students as they sort.

Use the facilitation questions to guide discussion about rocks and the rock sort.

1. What did you notice about the rocks?

2. What is a collection? A collection is a group of things, like rocks.

3. What shape are the rocks in your collection? Rocks can be round, angular, rectangular, square, triangular, heart shaped, or irregularly shaped.

4. What color are the rocks in your collection? Depending on what they are made of, rocks may be tan, black, pink, red, gray, brown, white, or a combination of these and other colors.

5. What size are the rocks in your collection? Rocks can range in size from large, like a boulder, to tiny, like a grain of sand.

6. Where have you seen bigger or smaller rocks than those in our collection? Depending on their experiences and the size of the rocks in the collection, students may say they have seen bigger rocks in flower beds, in landscaping in yards, or large rocks or boulders near mountains. They may have seen smaller rocks in their yards, at parks, on playgrounds, at the beach, in driveways, and along pathways, or they may have found rocks in their shoes.

7. What other words can you use to describe how the rocks look? Students may describe some rocks as shiny, sparkly, dull, spotted, or striped.

8. What is texture? Texture is how something feels when you touch it.

9. What is the texture of the rocks in your collection? Rocks can be smooth, rough, bumpy, gritty, or sometimes a combination.

Explain

Read My Rocks: Snapshots of My Rock Collection to the students.

Use the questions below to facilitate a discussion about rocks.

Students will describe and compare rocks during Elaborate. Creating or adding to the list of ways to describe rocks will assist all students in completing the activity. You will notice that some of the rocks in the book are identified by name. Kindergarten students do not need to know the types of rocks pictured in the book. They should instead focus on the size, shape, color, and texture of each rock and how the rocks compare to each other (e.g., bigger/smaller, smooth/rough, etc.).

1. What shapes are the rocks in the book? The rocks in the book are round, angular, rectangular, square, triangular, heart shaped, and irregularly shaped.

2. What colors are the rocks in the book? The rocks in the book are orange, pink, white, green, red, gray, brown, white, tan, and sometimes combinations of these colors.

3. What are the different sizes of rocks we read about? Boulders are big rocks; they are larger than a soccer ball. Cobbles are medium-sized rocks; they are larger than pebble. Pebbles are small rocks. A grain of sand is a tiny rock.

4. Where have you seen big rocks? Depending on their experiences, students may say they have seen big rocks in flower beds or landscaping in yards or have noticed large rocks or boulders near mountains.

5. Where have you see small rocks? Depending on their experiences, students may have seen smaller rocks in their yards, at parks, on playgrounds, at the beach, in driveways, or along pathways, or they may have found them in their shoes.

6. What other words can you use to describe how the rocks look? Students may describe the rocks as shiny, sparkly, dull, spotted, or striped.

7. What other words can you use to describe the textures of the rocks? Students may describe the rocks as smooth, rough, bumpy, lumpy, gritty, or sometimes a combination of textures.

Elaborate

Hands-On Activity

You will need the following materials:

  • rocks
  • hand lenses
  • RM 3 (see Related Items) or science notebook

Students will work in pairs to observe and compare their rocks.

You may choose to have students complete RM 3 (see Related Items) or record their observations in their science notebooks.

1. What color is your rock? Answers will vary depending on the rocks. Students should describe the colors of their rocks. Rocks can be orange, pink, white, green, red, gray, brown, white, tan, or a combination of these colors.

2. What size is your rock? Answers will vary depending on the rocks. Students should describe the sizes of their rocks. Boulders are big rocks; they are larger than a soccer ball. Cobbles are medium-size rocks; they are larger than a pebble. Pebbles are small rocks. A grain of sand is a tiny rock.

3. What is the texture of your rock? Answers will vary depending on the rocks. Students should describe the textures of their rocks. Rocks can be smooth, rough, bumpy, lumpy, gritty, or sometimes a combination of textures.

4. What shape is your rock? Answers will vary depending on the rocks. Students should describe the shapes of their rocks. Rocks can be round, angular, rectangular, square, triangular, heart shaped, or irregularly shaped.

5. How does your rock compare to your partner’s rock? How is your rock similar to your partner’s rock? Answers will vary depending on the rocks. Each student should compare his or her rock with a partner’s rock, using words to describe the size, shape, color, and texture of each rock.

Evaluate

Students should follow the instructions for each question to complete the quiz.