Let's Rock! A Unit on Rocks and Minerals
How it works:
Let's Rock! is a series of lessons on the exploration and investigation of rocks and minerals. The students
learn about the
properties of rocks and how to distinguish among the different types,
while performing various experiments. They investigate the hardness of rocks,
learn the effect of acid on certain rocks containing limestone, and perform streak tests to determine
They distinguish between the three types of rocks and classify them according to their properties. They
discover what the rock cycle is, and compare it to other cycles on Earth.
The students have the opportunity to do many laboratory experiments, including the scratch
test for mineral hardness. The students use the
computer as a tool for graphing, creating webs, answering databases, importing graphics, and
performing research. They also use a digital camera
and insert pictures into their documents.
Students demonstrate an understanding of change over time and of physical positions on Earth. They write a report of
information, use scientific notation for the writing of experiments, and demonstrate
an understanding of graphs, flow charts, and semantic maps.
Students will need a computer with Internet access. A scanner will be
used by the teacher for the insertion of documents. A digital camera
comes in handy to photograph the students at work and to add to the meaning of their reports. The
program also includes a list of resources for students and teacher: reading
and work material, class reading sources, worksheets, and Internet
The students currently involved in this project are average third graders. They need a prerequisite of knowledge of the
and a thirst for experimentation! They should also have experience working in cooperative groups.
The best features of Let's Rock! are seeing the way the three types of
rocks form through animated graphics, and the hands-on investigations. The students get to see what they have read about.
They love experimenting with the various rocks and learning about the mineral contents. They
personalize the lessons by performing research about their own
birthstone and the history behind it.
Teachers should plan out the series of lessons beforehand and make
sure that all sites are still active. They should decide on what experiments they wish to include and have all
the materials ready.
About the teacher:
Bonnie Glasgold is a science cluster teacher at P.S. 101 in Brooklyn,
New York. She has taught for 23 years in the New York City public school system. She believes in a hands-on approach combined
with literature to make science come alive, and has won numerous awards, including a TeachNet Adaptor grant, a Citibank grant for a Best
Practices Lesson, and science fair awards at the district level. She has
been a member of TeachNet for four years and many of her units
are located on teachersnetwork.org.