Science & Children

Rock Solid

February 2003

A teacher describes how developing a structured, focused, and fun curriculum on rocks and minerals for learning-disabled students transformed her initial reluctance about Earth science into enthusiasm. Students observed, described, and sorted rocks and explored rock formation. A sample worksheet is included, as is a list of children's trade books about rocks.

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The Building Blocks of Geology

September 2001

After viewing real samples and photographs of rocks and minerals, elementary students use interlocking plastic building blocks to model mineral and rock formations. Students also use various cereal pieces and homemade clay to model the rocks granite and gneiss. These activities offer a cooperative group experience and teach students how to differentiate minerals from rocks.

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Welcome to Rock Day

January 2004

Seeking to revitalize a unit on rocks, sand, and soil for first-graders, the authors created new hands-on lessons. These included testing the hardness of rocks, making models of the Earth, and sorting rocks. As a culminating activity, students participated in a series of Rock Day events that focused on the three different types of rocks and the rock cycle.

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The Crosswicks Creek Caper

January 2000

A third-grade geology activity led to a two-month scientific investigation. Using nearby rocks to spark student curiosity, one teacher allowed students to develop the path of their own curriculum. Using guided inquiry, students had the opportunity to ask questions, design and conduct experiments, and know that they were working as scientists.

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