Rocks ROCK! Identification Stations

Research & Note taking
Rock Identification: Research and note taking


  • At least 4 samples for each of the following 12 rocks:
    • Igneous Rocks: Pumice, Obsidian, Basalt, & Granite
    • Sedimentary Rocks: Sandstone, Limestone, Conglomerate, & Coal
    • Metamorphic Rocks: Slate, Gneiss, Hornfels, & Marble
  • Rocks, Gems, and Minerals Guide – classroom set
  • Google SlidesTypes of Rocks (Public) (UPDATED) 10/26/17
  • Handouts for note-taking
    • Types of Rocks (pdf)
    • Igneous (pdf)
    • Sedimentary (pdf)
    • Metamorphic (pdf)
  • Flashcards – print out and glue onto index cards (pdf)
    • each student made their own set to keep
  • Index cards with rock IDs on them
    • 1 set per lab table
  • Paper plates
    • 12 plates with rock IDs
    • additional plates: 1 set per table if not using index cards


Students will learn to identify & categorize 12 common rocks samples during this multi-day lesson. To introduce the unit, students are given the foundation of how rocks form and the three types of rocks: Igneous, Metamorphic, and Sedimentary.


Working with a partner and/or in small groups, they will research, handle, and compare the rock specimens and take careful notes at the different stations. Once their research is done, they will practice identifying the rock samples by creating and teaching each other different games using the rocks samples.


Some games the students played are:

  • Sort the rocks into 3 piles: I, S, or M, who can do it the fastest?
  • Rock races
    • 2 students are given 6 rocks each to find and sort from the pile of 12
    • can you find it? Name a rock and pick it from the pile
  • Match the rock samples to the name of the rock
  • Mis-match some of the rocks with their ID cards, can you figure out which ones are incorrect?
  • Rock Quiz – creating questions from the index cards
    • examples:
      • Which rock is the only intrusive igneous rock?
      • Which rock floats on water?
      • Which one used to be limestone?


For more lessons related to Rocks & Minerals, be sure to visit my Earth Science Page (link).


8 thoughts on “Rocks ROCK! Identification Stations

  1. maggieheraty1293 February 13, 2019 / 10:11 pm

    Hi Liz. This is amazing!! Thank you so much for sharing this lesson plan with the world and all of the resources along with it. My friend and I are teaching an all-day geology course to middle schoolers, and this is so helpful. We’re so excited to use these materials!

    One question — where did you get the rock specimens for this lesson? Is there a particular rock kit that you ordered? Is there a website where we can order all of the 12 rocks required?

    Thanks so much,


    • Liz LaRosa February 16, 2019 / 5:56 pm

      Thanks! I happened to have all the rocks from a prior teacher, but I am sure you can get them from a science catalog or even a garden/builders center.


  2. Rachel Haver November 8, 2018 / 8:45 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing! How exactly do you organize the notebook inserts and the stations after completing the notes?


    • Liz LaRosa November 12, 2018 / 4:25 pm

      Handouts are hole-punched and then the students are done, they place their notes into a 3-ring binder, I don’t use interactive notebooks anymore. ~Liz 🙂


  3. Laurie Brown October 26, 2017 / 2:53 pm

    Hi Liz! I love your Types of Rocks power point but can’t access it. Is it still available?
    Thanks so much!


    • Liz LaRosa October 26, 2017 / 5:31 pm

      I added the updated Google Slides version to the blog entry. Liz


  4. Ann Ryherd September 7, 2016 / 10:52 pm

    Love this, just what I was looking for. Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

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