2. History of Rock - Lesson Plan

Lesson Plan

  1. Describe the goals of the day – to become an expert on a specific type of rock then share that expertise with other students in small groups.
  2. Divide students into teams. A fun way to do this is to hand each student a rock when they walk through the door. Tell them not to show their rock to anyone. Once everyone has arrived, have them write down 5 observations about their rock on a sheet of paper. Silently, they should try to find the others with the same rock type based on the observations they wrote down. When everyone is sorted, they should reveal their rocks to see if they are in the right group.
  3. Give each group a set of rocks of the same type and a Rock History Data Sheet. Carefully go over the observations the students need to make, particularly the procedure for hardness testing. Allow at least 15 minutes for students to make their observations and to discuss and describe their rock’s history in as much detail as possible. As they work, circulate among the groups, giving assistance where needed.
  4. When all groups are finished, have students number off within the groups and rearrange them into new teams with one expert on each type of rock.
  5. The first task is for each rock expert to introduce their rock to the other students. Each student should present their observations and the history of their rock.
  6. The second task is to set out all the rocks and make comparisons. Instruct each group should create a summary table comparing the different rocks. If students struggle with making a table, you might want to help them get organized by creating an example table on the board at the front of the room. For instance:       
      Basalt Granite  Mudstone  Sandstone  Conglomerate 
    Grain Size          
    Crystal Size           


  7. Have each group turn in their summary table at the end of the period. If you are planning a geology field trip to visit these rocks in the field, these tables become very useful to remind students of how to identify them.