Many rock identification guides are available on the Internet. My favorites include:
- The Rock Identification Guide by Don Perry offers a nicely organized dichotomous key that has been developed over years of testing with kids (http://www.rockhounds.com/rockshop/rockkey/).
- The Rock Identification Project at Brooke Weston College has good resources, both for identifying rocks and for an online rock identification quiz.
- For a much more detailed, teacher quality guide to rock identification, use this excellent guide from the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources in British Columbia.
- For superb pictures of rocks of different types including cross-sections and close-ups, see the Earth Science Education Unit from Keele University in the United Kingdom.
For more information about mineral testing, including using the Mohs scale of hardness, see:
- The Oxford University Museum of Natural History, which has a great kid-friendly guide to testing the hardness of minerals.
- The San Diego Natural History Museum also has wonderful resources for mineral testing for educators and kids. On their website you can also learn about testing for color, luster, streak, and specific gravity.
Plate Tectonics and Earth's Structure
Plate tectonics accounts for important features of Earth's surface and major geologic events. As a basis for understanding this concept:
a Students know evidence of plate tectonics is derived from the fit of the continents; the location of earthquakes, volcanoes, and midocean ridges; and the distribution of fossils, rock types, and ancient climatic zones.
Shaping Earth's Surface
Topography is reshaped by the weathering of rock and soil and by the transportation and deposition of sediment. As a basis for understanding this concept:
a Students know water running downhill is the dominant process in shaping the landscape, including California's landscape.
b Students know rivers and streams are dynamic systems that erode, transport sediment, change course, and flood their banks in natural and recurring patterns.
Investigation and Experimentation
Scientific progress is made by asking meaningful questions and conducting careful investigations. As a basis for understanding this concept and addressing the content in the other three strands, students should develop their own questions and perform investigations. Students will:
a Develop a hypothesis.
b Select and use appropriate tools and technology (including calculators, computers, balances, spring scales, microscopes, and binoculars) to perform tests, collect data, and display data.