I use this activity as an introduction to my minerals and mining unit. Students learn the 5 properties of minerals (SNIFC) and apply them to a variety of items to categorize each item as either a mineral or non-mineral.
I also have the slides in a pdf format if you would like to have the students sort the items first, then discuss each item and why they think it is or isn’t a mineral. Then, they can view the answers afterwards.
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
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?
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
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).