Students will play the game I Spy to help identify objects made from rock.
- Magazine pictures of
living and nonliving
- Hand lens for each
- Map of the school
playground (can be
hand-drawn or aerial
satellite photos can be
acquired for a small fee
at landvoyage.com and
- Rock Journal (pdf)
Background for Teachers
All material on Earth can be sorted into three categories--animal,
plant, or mineral. Some materials are easily identified, such as dogs,
carrots, or rocks. Other materials may be less obvious, such as rubber,
glass, and aluminum. These categories can be more specifically defined
as living, once living, and nonliving. The availability, and properties of
these resources will determine how humans use these materials.
Intended Learning Outcomes
5. Understand and use basic concepts and skills.
Invitation to Learn
Play a game of I Spy. Start by saying, "I spy something that was
made from a rock." Let students ask yes/no questions to discover the
- Pass out magazine pictures to table groups. Have students sort
the pictures according to living and nonliving objects. Allow
each table to explain why they sorted their objects the way they
- Go on an I Spy search on the playground. Students are
searching for objects made from rock material--items that are
nonliving. When an object is found, students should do the
following in their Rock Journals:
- Make a rubbing of the item.
- Describe the item.
- Mark the item on their playground map.
- When the I Spy search is over, take students back into the
classroom and compare some of their findings. Be sure to call
on any student who found items that may not have been easily
identified as rock material (e.g., a metal link from a swing).
- Have students make maps of the classroom or of the school and
complete the same activity. Be sure to have them describe the
object and label it on their maps.
- Have students make an I Spy book by cutting out magazine
pictures of living or nonliving items and gluing them into a
collage. Using the writing process, students can write the text and
put it into a class book.
- If you have access to several technology sources, students could
get into groups and create mini collections of objects made from
rock material (e.g., keys, paper clips, rocks, coins, thumb tacks,
staples, chalk, etc.). Take a digital picture, which could also be
used to create a class book in the computer lab. (A regular
camera could also be used.)
- Students could create an I Spy box, bottle, or photograph at home
and bring it to class to share.
- Students could make a map of their bedroom and use a symbol to
identify items made from rock material.
- With their families, students could go on an I Spy hunt around
their house. Ask students to bring in or share unusual items found
at their homes that were made from rock materials.
Use the first Rock Journal as a pre-assessment tool. At the end of the
unit, go on another hunt and have the students compare their journals.
Were the items they found just simple rocks, or were they were more
complicated, less obvious items? Students who can identify material
made of metal or glass probably have a solid understanding of this