Whether your kids are new to geology or are already budding rockhounds, these easy lesson ideas are sure to pique their interest and and excitement to your homeschool science lessons.
Rocks: Science Facts
- The 3 layers of earth are the crust, the mantle, and the core.
- Rocks are made up of minerals
- A mineral is a naturally occurring inorganic (not plant or animal) solid.
- Rocks come in many different shapes and colors.
- The characteristics of a rock gives a clue as to where it was formed.
- Igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic are the 3 main types of rocks.
Using a science book such as The Usborne Encyclopedia of Planet Earth as a reference, have your children define or illustrate these vocabulary words related to rocks.
- Rock Cycle
- Hot Springs or Geysers
Rocks: Art Ideas
- A hot new trend is painting designs on rocks. Some people like to place these decorated rocks in public places to be found and enjoyed by others.
- Use rocks to design nature mosaics or collages with different colored pebbles and other finds from nature such as leaves and twigs.
Rocks: Writing and Research Prompts
Use these ideas for writing prompts or as research topics.
- Do rocks float? Why or why not?
- Look for rocks near your home. Wash them and then describe them in a short paragraph.
- Describe conditions that could melt rocks.
- List all the letters of the alphabet from A to Z. Then fill in rock/mineral names that start with each letter. Alternatively, you can include adjectives, nouns, or verbs related to rocks and geology.
- What are the different rock layers found in the Grand Canyon?
Rocks: Hands-on Learning Activities
Here are two fun and easy hands-on ideas that can be done without spending too much money or time.
You only need two things for the first activity—sandpaper and a graham cracker.
Lightly rub the sandpaper against the graham cracker to notice the reshaping and “sediment” (crumbs). Explain to your children that by slight pressure applied over a long period of time, rocks are broken down into smaller pieces called sediment.
Next, to illustrate the how layers of sediment form rocks, prepare this fun and delicious edible sedimentary rock activity. It’s a lot like making rice krispies treats, so your children can easily make this with minimal adult supervision.
- 3 cups each of crisp rice cereal and mini marshmallows
- 4 tablespoons of butter + extra for greasing the pan
- Butterfinger baking bits (or small candies)
- chocolate chips
- 8” disposable aluminum pan
- spatula, saucepan and spoon for stirring.
Grease the pan well. Melt the butter over low heat and gradually add the marshmallows, stirring until they are melted. Optional: add a bit of vanilla and a pinch of salt.
Remove the melted marshmallows from the heat and fold in the crisp rice cereal. For the first layer, press half of the cereal and marshmallow mixture firmly into your greased pan.
Using a spatula, have your child pack it down firmly like the layers or strata of sedimentary rock.
For the second layer, sprinkle on the butterfinger baking bits.
Then, pack down the other half of the cereal and marshmallow mixture. Lastly, top with chocolate chips, pressing them into the still-warm and pliable cereal mixture.
Refrigerate for twenty or thirty minutes until firm. Slice into bars and enjoy.
It’s easy for your children to visualize the different strata or particles of sedimentary rocks in these desserts. As you munch on them, discuss what you’ve learned, using all of the proper vocabulary words.
With just a bit of planning on your part, these earth science activities will prepare your children to learn about the treasures of earth. They may even be inspired to start their own collection of rock treasures, diving deeper into an interest-led study of geology.
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