Rocks ROCK! Identification Stations

Research & Note taking
Rock Identification: Research and note taking

Materials:

  • 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

rocks_id_2

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.

rocks_id_3

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.

rocks_plate_id_game

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?

rocks_id_indexcards_2

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

rocks_id_indexcards_1

NGSS Science and Engineering Practices

Image Source: NSTA
Image Source: NSTA

For my posts, I am tagging the Science and Engineering Practices (SEP) that I think best fit the lessons on my blog. To find lessons related to each practice, you can use the search box to find them or click on the tags on each post to find similar lessons:

SCIENTIFIC AND ENGINEERING PRACTICES (SEP) (Details from NSTA)

  • SEP1 – Asking Questions and Defining Problems
  • SEP2 – Developing and Using Models
  • SEP3 – Planning and Carrying out Investigations
  • SEP4 – Analyzing and Interpreting Data
  • SEP5 – Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking
  • SEP6 – Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
  • SEP7 – Engaging in Argument from Evidence
  • SEP8 – Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

Environmental Issues Research and Presentation

Image Credit: NASA
Image Credit: NASA

Earlier in the school year, to cap off our unit on the environment, my 6th graders completed an environmental issues research project and  presentation. This project was a great opportunity for the students to demonstrate both their public speaking and tech skills, as well as provide a forum for student-directed learning. Each student had a chance to teach their peers about their topic and lead a demonstration or activity related to their environmental issue. They did a fantastic job and came up with activities that really enhanced their presentations. The students were engaged and supportive of their peers.

Just a few examples of their demonstrations/activities: 

  • Noise Pollution – using a decibel app, one student asked the class to take part in different activities and monitored the noise level. The student then compared the noise level in the classroom to their equivalents such as jack hammers or traffic.
  • Garbage Patch – using a tray with an ocean/coastal scene decorated with items attached to magnets, one student demonstrated how gyres in the Pacific Ocean move plastics from the coast to the Great Garbage Patch by sliding magnets under the tray.
  • Poaching – each student took part in a role-playing game modeled after “Assassin/Spy”. Each student was given a role card (such as an elephant, tiger, or poacher). As they played the game, students had to find the poacher to save as many animals as they could.

Materials

  • List of 50 environmental issue topics (pdf)
  • Detailed project requirements (pdf)
  • Peer review sheet (pdf)
    • this was for personal note taking, not shared with the presenter

Planning

  • Day 1 – Introduction and pre-research, students pick their top 10 choices
  • Day 2 – Students pick topics and brainstorm 10 guiding questions to help guide their research
  • Day 3 – Discussion in small groups, students share questions and modify
  • Days 4 to 7 – Research phase
  • Days 8 to end – Students present topics

Graphing Spring Tides, Neap Tides, & Moon Phases

image
Graphing Tides & Moon Phases

This activity ties together spring tides, neap tides, moon phases,  chart reading skills, graphing skills, and analyzing data skills. When making the worksheets, I used the data for high tides since it showed a better range of data for the students to create the graph.

This activity was also a good review on how to create line graphs by hand for two sets of data. Students are used to making bar graphs so we reviewed how to set up line graphs and plot points on the graph.

When plotting the data, you can really see the differences in the tidal heights. We also used the phrase “Neap ain’t that deep” to remember the difference between spring tides and neap tides.

Worksheets

  • Atlantic City, NJ – January 2015 High Tide Data worksheet (pdf)
  • Seaside Heights, NJ – February 2015 High Tide Data (pdf(image link)
    • For example, in the year 2015, the February 18 new moon will closely align with perigee and the the September 28 full moon will closely coincide with perigee, to bring forth perigean spring tides.”~EarthSky
  • Blank Worksheet (pdf) for students to choose data from a different location. 
  • Tide charts (link– select the state and city of your choice, set for Atlantic City
  • Current Moon Phases (link– The Old Farmer’s Almanac

Using Real-Time Data: NOAA & Tides

Tides

I love when we have an opportunity to collect real-time data in class, as part of our unit on tides, we used NOAA’s website (link) to learn how to find real-time tide information, to learn how to read tide graphs and charts, and to find water temperatures for 10 different stations and compare their data. The kids enjoyed picking their own cities and sharing their findings.

Resources:

  • Tides Google Slides Public (link) – this is a shared Google Slide that gives some basic information on tides and then it goes into a step-by-step tutorial on how to use the NOAA website to collect information.
  • NOAA Tides Website (link)
  • Data Collection worksheet (pdf) – students will record and analyze their data

The second activity, included graphing information for high tides at Atlantic City for the month of January. Students will learn how to read a tide chart and graph tide data to see the relationship between tides and moon phases. This activity was also a great way to practice graphing skills. Creating graphs by hand, instead of on a computer, is something that they don’t get to do very often.

  • January Tides Worksheet (pdf) for Atlantic City, NJ.
  • Blank worksheet (pdf) for students to choose data from a different location.
  • Tide Charts (link) – set for New Jersey but you can pick different states and locations for monthly tides data.
  • For more lessons about the Moon, visit the Moon Page, under the Space Science tab.
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