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How We Use Rocks: Part 2

Main Core Tie

Science - 2nd Grade
Standard 2 Objective 1

Time Frame

1 class periods of 30 minutes each

Group Size

Large Groups


Julie Cook
Elasha Morgan


Students explore the uses of rocks.

Background for Teachers

The first part of the lesson, How We Use Rocks: Part 1, introduces students to rocks and some of their characteristics. A follow-up assignment was to think of uses for their rocks. This lesson continues to explore rocks and their uses.

Student Prior Knowledge

Students should have completed the Creative Uses worksheet from Part 1 of this lesson.

Instructional Procedures

1. With an ordinary piece of chalk, write the title of the lesson on the chalkboard: How We Use Rocks. Have the students read the title silently.

2. Say to the students, "What I just did used rocks and minerals. Do you know how?" If they don't know, explain that chalk is made from calcite, a mineral, and some chalkboards are made from slate(at least in the good old days).

3. Tell the students: "Today we will discover lots of ways we use rocks." Give each pair of children a clipboard, a piece of paper and pencils. Before going outside to the schoolyard, set a purpose. Challenge the pairs of students to discover and write down as many different ways that they can see rocks used outside. Set a time limit of around 10 minutes (adjust as necessary).

4. Return to the classroom and have the students share their lists. Write the uses they discovered on the board (or have a student do this). Now have the students look around the classroom and see if they can discover any more uses of rocks inside the classroom. Add these to your list. Lastly, have the students refer to their homework assignment where they wrote down creative uses for their special rock. You should have quite a list now. (You may want to have your list on chart paper, rather than the chalkboard, so that it will be more permanent and can be added to during your study of rocks.)

5. Lead a class discussion about rocks and their uses. Go through the list you have made and talk about the types of rocks and how they are used. Questions to ask might include:

  • What could soft rocks be used for?
  • What could hard rocks be used for?
  • What could shiny rocks be used for?
  • What could rough rocks be used for?
  • What could smooth rocks be used for?
  • What could happen if we used soft rocks to build highways?
  • What kinds of rocks are used to create buildings?

    Strategies for Diverse Learners

    Post pictures of various uses of rocks. Invite students to record tally marks beside the uses they observe during the schoolyard or neighborhood walk. Ask them to draw or write down other uses they observe.


    Have the students write a story--"If I were a rock . . . ". Have them include what they would be used for if they were a rock.

    Choose a topic to further explore from the web sites listed under Assessment. Ask students to prepare information to share as a student report using the Big Six Information Literacy Format:

    Step 1. Task Definition- About what do I want to learn more?
    Step 2. Information Seeking Strategies - Which resources can I use?
    Step 2. Location and Access- Where can I find these resource?
    Step 3. Use of Information - What can I use from these resources?
    Step 5. Synthesis-How can I share what I learned?
    Step 6. Evaluation-How will I know I did my job well?

    Assessment Plan


    • Rocks
      This virtual tour will focus on how rocks are created, the different types of rock, characteristics of rocks, and rocks in everyday life.
    • Smithsonian Gem and Mineral Collection
      A visual collection of gems and minerals housed at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.

    Schedule a time in the computer lab when students can use the internet and complete this assessment. Using these internet sites, have the students list or draw, on a sheet of paper, two uses for rocks or minerals. Have them also list one way in which they themselves use rocks. Check for concept mastery and assignment completion.

    Use the attached web sites for a web-based assessment. For a non-web-based assessment, have the students complete the same assignment but without using the internet.

  • Created: 09/11/2002
    Updated: 02/05/2018