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Rocks, Minerals, & Mining

Lesson Plans

Edible Rocks - Meteorites - This lesson has been designed as a comfortable introduction to describing meteorites. It helps students become better observers by making a connection between the familiar (candy bars) and the unfamiliar (meteorites). Edible "rocks" are used in a scientific context, showing students the importance of observation, teamwork and communication skills. (Similar to "IF YOU BIT A ROCK." but with meteorites, not earth rocks.)

Fast Crystallization - A fun and simple activity in which your students will watch four different salt crystals form. They will observe, record, and answer questions about the crystallization.

If You Bit a Rock (2.5MB PDF) - To observe and describe physical characteristics of a familiar model (candy bars) and apply to the unfamiliar (rocks). This is also an excellent activity to introduce geological terminology used in describing rocks.

Real Fake Rocks - Participants quickly become engaged in trying to make a rock look real, and the work of creating an eye-fooling rock leads almost seamlessly to an interest in understanding the geologic significance of rock attributes such as color, pattern, texture and form. The rock-building process sharpens participant's powers of observation and nudges them to compare their observations against a range of interpretations.

Rock Cycle Lab - A fun, hands-on rock cycle lab using everyday materials to help students understand the processes that form rocks.

Sugar Cube Karst - Here's a very simple (and fairly simplistic) model of karst formations for younger kids. The purpose of this activity is to explore the way water moves through a porous, soluble substance and to observe the development of pits and channels as the substance dissolves in water.

Towel Geology - To demonstrate a wide range of geologic principles and processes using GeoArt, which uses artistic approaches to promote critical thinking about geology and geologic processes.

Toothpaste with a Twist - Allows students to produce a "marketable product" used by most people every day that is made with minerals.

What Materials Are In My Car? - Fun activity to help students realize how much we depend on mining to build a car.


Lesson Plan Links

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Study of the Earth - Everything is made of something. From the MII, this unit provides fun activities and information in a printable PDF file.
Rocks & Minerals Activities - Selected labs and activities.
Rock and Mineral Vocab Review - Rock and Mineral Hangman.
Landforms - Students learn how water and erosion affect the landscape, research a specific landform, and create a visual display of landforms.
Volcanoes - Classic plan to make a volcano in the classroom.
Women in Mining - This Web site contains mineral resources for teachers, activities, games, and other links.
Cookie Mining - Always a fun activity that promotes knowledge of mining.
Cupcake Mining - Cooking prep time for teacher, but shows nice model of cross section.
Edible Geology - Fun demonstration of how layers of rocks form and erode.
Rock Hounds Lesson Plan - By using the resources on this web-based activity, students will gain an understanding of the rock cycle including how sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rocks form. Need Internet access, a web browser such as Netscape or Internet Explorer, e-mail access and materials that are listed under the activity collections.
Rock Cycle - NY Regents study guide has great info on the rock cycle, with quizzes.
Mixing it Up - Classroom Activity from Science & Children, Feb 2001 poster back. In this activity students examine the composition of soil and make their own soil mixtures to understand the process of soil formation and how soils contribute to plant growth.
A Golden Opportunity for Science - Science & Children, Feb. 1993, 25 - 32. Gold mining and gold's history, allure, and unique physical and chemical qualities explored, includes classroom activities and poster.


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