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Students will identify rocks in this discovery lesson by examining rock characteristics and processes.
We will be using the idea of rock forming processes to identify rock characteristics, thus identifying the rock. The name of the rock is secondary to the knowledge of how and where in the process it was formed. Each activity will start with an inquiry/learning segment, after which the students will revise their ideas of the material. Students should already have been exposed to the three basic rock types: igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic. By the end of the lesson, students should understand the processes that form the three main types of rock, as well as identify characteristics of some common rocks.
Rocks are combinations of minerals found naturally on or in Earth. Rocks record the history of Earth in their structure. Earth materials can change over time from one form to another. Rocks can be identified by properties such as color, crystal size or texture, banding patterns, presence of pores, and other characteristics. Color is an easy one for students but not all that helpful. The size and shape of the particles that make up rock or lack of them, are more meaningful. Characteristics of the three categories of rocks are used to help students identify rocks found in Utah.
Eroded materials, dissolved mineral, and the remains of living things are moved by water and wind and deposited as sediments. Sedimentary rock is formed when these sediments become solid material. Most were formed of sediments deposited by ancient shallow seas. Sedimentary rocks include having rounded fragments of a variety of sizes, occurring in thick layers, andin the case of water deposited mineralsa very smooth texture. The sediments are held together by mineral cements which have testable properties. If calcite is the cement it will fizz with acid. Most limestone, some sandstone, and some conglomerates will fizz.
All igneous rocks were once molten rock. Their locations in Earths crust controlled the rate at which they cooled. When magma cools before reaching the surface it cools slowly and tends to have large crystals. This is called intrusive rock, like granite. Other igneous rocks form on Earths surface, cooling more quickly. The crystals formed are often microscopically small. These are called extrusive rock, like basalt or obsidian.
Metamorphic rocks have been changed by heat and pressure over time, but not enough to melt them. These rocks may have been buried under Earths surface or have been near a heat source. They form from igneous, sedimentary or other metamorphic rocks. They are recognized by the occurrence of thin banks or layers which form as minerals in the rock rearrange themselves.
Lesson sequence: This lesson should be taught after students have knowledge of the three types of rocks.
1. Use Science Process and Thinking Skills
2. Understand Science Concepts and Principles
Invitation to Learn
Look at the items or pictures. What type of rock do you think the items were made from, metamorphic, sedimentary, or igneous? Mark you answer on the tally sheet.
Children have a natural excitement and interest in rocks. They see them everywhere. Use this connection and take advantage of students travels throughout the state, as well as in their own community to advance their motivation to learn and discover.
This is a discovery lesson. Students will use the inquiry method, participate in learning activities, and then restructure their learning as they go. Be careful not to give in to the urge to provide all the answers before they have a chance to think and process the discussion. You will be assessing their understanding as you go. Every time you see REVISE IDEAS , students are experiencing things that can change their ideas about what they are learning. These are good opportunities to bring the class back for some discussion.
*Remember, it is important for them to come up with their idea of this process so they can revise as they learn more about it. No right or wrong on this activity. REVISE IDEAS .
*Students should have gained a good understanding of the processes that make rocks, and the characteristics of common rocks of Utah using the discovery/inquiry method.
Woods, Robin, (1994). A close-up look at how children learn science. Educational Leadership. Feb.1994, pgs.33-35.Building on her desire to understand how children learn science, the author designed a science lesson that uses the Conceptual Change idea. It was that the students will revise their theories of the natural world, once they see and learn new evidence, based on their investigations.
Champagne, A.B., R.F. Gunstone, & L.E. Klopfer, (1985). Instructional consequences of students; Knowledge about physical phenomena. Cognitive Structure and Conceptual Change. edited by L.H.T. West and A.L. Pines .Orlando, Fla.: Academic Press.
The constructivist model of learning contends that each student must build his or her understanding. In such a process, understanding can never be completed. Each student must work through his or her path toward deeper and deeper understanding and skills. Research for these learning strategies focuses on students being engaged in open-ended activities in which they try using their previous knowledge, participate in new learning experiences, and then restructure their beliefs.