Rock & MIneral Lesson Plans


These lessons use Evan Moor’s Teacher’s File Box, Discovery Education Streaming,  Geology Rocks!  and REAL Science Odyssey Earth and Space.  Many of the activities can be done without any of these.  Once a lesson has been completed, I will link the title to the blog post.  When a reference book is used the page numbers are referenced in the activity list.  Other books are read whenever there is chance, sometimes before the activities, sometimes after.

Additional websites not specifically mentioned in plans:

·        Materials List:  red, yellow, orange, blue and green play-doh or clay; picture (or actual) sandwich, oreo cookie, cake, fruit sliced in half;
·        Books:
Magic School Bus Inside the Earth – Cole
How to Dig a Hole to the Other Side of the Earth – McNulty
DK Eyewitness Rocks & Minerals
-Discuss what things have layers (sandwich, Oreo cookie, cake, fruit).  Describe the layers for each item and come up with a definition of what “layer” means.   Mention that the earth also has layers. (EM 857)
·        -Read summary sheet pg 87 from RSO “What’s Inside the Earth” while coloring picture of the layers of the earth.
·        -Watch “Beneath the Surface: Earth’s Inner Structure” at Discovery Streaming
·        -Make a clay model of the earth.  Inner ball of red (inner core), next yellow clay (outer core), orange clay (mantle), blue and green clay (crust).  Cut completed model in half and discuss the layers.
·        -Read Eyewitness Rocks & Minerals pg 6-7

·        Materials List:  3-4 different colors of play-doh in small bits; chocolate chip cookies; tweezers; magnifying glasses;
·        Books :
Magic School Bus Chapter Book Rocky Road Trip  (will be read over the course of a few days)

·        -Watch “Rocks: The Solid Earth Materials” at Discovery Streaming
·        -Read RSO pg 93 and do Mineral Lab #1 using different colors of play-doh flakes.  -Discuss difference between a rock and a mineral.
·        -Read Eyewitness Rocks & Minerals pg 8-9, 42-43
·        -Use chocolate chip cookies and tweezers to excavate chip “minerals” from the cookie “rocks”.  Discuss how hard it can be to get the chips out intact.


Materials List:  rock and mineral kit; rock and mineral test kit; magnifying glasses;

·        -Read from RSO pg 101 – we are going to learn how geologists identify minerals.
-Discuss RSO pg 103 and hang somewhere – the different factors used to identify minerals.
·        -Perform Mineral Lab #2 – Mineral color and streak.  Examine minerals with magnifying glasses.   Fill in first column of pg 105 with color and streak (hang somewhere).  Discuss how visible color and streak can be very different.
·        -Compare to chart on page 103 and decide if we can determine what the minerals are yet. Fill out first lines on page 106 with guesses after streak test (hang somewhere).
·        -Perform Mineral Lab #3 – Mineral Hardness.   When completed fill in hardness column on pg 105.  Discuss whether we can identify the minerals yet and fill in next lines on page 106 with guesses.
·        -Perform Mineral Lab #4 – Luster and Shape.  When completed fill in column on page 105 and guesses on pg 106.
·        -Compare final guesses with answer sheet and discuss why we might have been wrong.
·        -Read Eyewitness Rocks & Minerals pg 48-49
·        -Complete models for Mineral Lab #6 – Crystal Models.  Compare to quartz crystal and discuss.
·        -Read Eyewitness Rocks & Minerals  pg 44-47

Materials List: 
egg cartons; magnifying glasses; chocolate chips; butterscotch chips; marshmallows; crayon shavings; pieces of rock, shells, glue; sand, dirt, soil, leaves, twigs, pebbles, Epsom salts, clear jar with lid; sugar cookie dough, food coloring;
·        Books:
Let’s Go Rock Collecting
**Set-up Rock Candy since it takes a few days to form.   Here is one recipe that can be used but there are many others.
·        -RSO pg 133. Go on a rock hunt and gather about 12 different rocks – a different one in each section of an egg carton.
·        -Examine each rock with the magnifying glass and discuss the differences.   Play I-Spy with the rocks try to identify based on description.
·        -Play Rock Sherlock at Burke Museum website.
·        -Read from RSO pg 143 – Igneous Rock is from magma.  Make igneous rock by melting chocolate chips, butterscotch chips and marshmallows in microwave.  Pour out onto wax paper and put in fridge to harden.
·        -Make sugar glass – one recipe is available here.  Compare it to the Rock Candy prepared ahead of time.  Discuss what the differences are and why – the amount of time it took to cool. 
·        -Read DK Rocks & Minerals pg 16-19
·        -RSO Rock Lab #6 – Sedimentary and Metamorphic Rocks.  Squish and melt crayon shavings together.  Discuss differences and fill out lab sheet.
·        -RSORock Lab #7 – Exploring Sedimentary Rocks.  Make a conglomerate rock with bits of rock, shell and glue (EM 857)
·        -Fill a clear jar with handfuls of sand, dirt, soil, leaves and pebbles.  Add ¼ cup Epsom salts and water to about 2” from the top.  Screw on the lid and shake it up.  Place on a table and watch as the sediment settles to the bottom.   Discuss how the largest pieces settle first and how it forms layers.  Carefully pour out the water and let the rock dry.  The layers will stick together and form a rock.
·        -Read DK Rocks & Minerals pg 20-23
·        -Make metamorphic rocks – divide sugar cookie dough into three piles.  Color each pile a different color.  Take bits from each color and compress together into cookies.  Bake.  Discuss how metamorphic rocks the heat is enough to push them together but not enough to completely melt them into a new look.  The original components are still visible.
·        -Read DK Rocks & Minerals pg 24-27
·        -RSO Rock Lab #9 – Rock Cycle.
·        -Color and read mini-booklet How Rocks are Made. (from Evan Moor)
·        -Watch “How Rocks and Minerals are Used” at Discovery Streaming
·        -Read Eyewitness Rocks & Minerals pg 10-13
·        -Play game using Rock and Mineral Flashcards from Dragon Mountain Treasures (this site/company is run by a homeschool teenager.  She has lots of great stuff).  I took the flashcards (available from Curriclick) and matched them up with the rock and mineral exhibit at our local museum.  I will have the kids do a scavenger hunt matching the cards with the exhibits.


  1. This unit is great! I have learned so much from your lesson plans and all your web links. Keep up the blog!! You never know who might need this info in the future.

    I am a Director for Classical Conversations and we are starting our Geology unit. I was looking for helps to teach me so I could train my tutors on Monday. Your site has given me the best information yet!

    Thank you :)

  2. Thank you for your lesson plans on Rocks and Minerals. I am a Director for a Classical Conversation community and was researching information to help me learn all about rocks and minerals in preparations for training my tutors on Monday. You site has given me the BEST and easiest information to follow, and some fantastic links! THANK YOU!!

    Keep up the blogging and lesson plan posts cause you never know who will be blessed from your hard work. I sure am, and now my community of 40 students will be too!

  3. Thank you! I'm so glad you find it helpful. :-)