Geology: The Environment “ROCKS”! (SOL 2.3, 2.7, 3.3, 3.8, 4.8 & 5.7)

Teacher Name: Gemma Griffin
Grade Level: 2-5
Subject: Science
Time Frame: 1 hour 45 minutes
Concept: Earth Patterns, Cycles, and Change
Topic: Rocks


The identification of rocks is fundamental to the Earth Sciences and their study is the key to understanding the processes that have shaped the earth’s crustal evolution over the past 4500 million years and the physical world in which we live today. Given that young children are naturally curious about the world around them, studying rocks gives them a natural vehicle in which to explore and learn new things to satisfy their curiosity. Rocks easily provide a chance for young children to closely observe, record, describe, and compare the world around them, skills that such young children should be developing, according to the National Science Standards.


The student will practice and expand their observing and classifying skills through the exploration of rocks.

The student will gain a deeper understanding of the physical earth around them.

SOL: Science:

2.3 Processes involved with changes in matter from one state to another: melting, freezing, expanding, and contracting.

2.7 Weathering and erosion of the land surface.

3.3 The student will investigate and understand that objects can be described in terms of the materials they are made of and their physical properties.

3.8 Rocks are components of soils.

4.8 The student will investigate and understand important natural resources: rocks.

5.7 The student will investigate and understand how the Earth’s surface is constantly changing: the rock cycle including the identification of rock types.



The student will be able to verify their understanding of relative time through creation of a sandwich and labeled drawing, in which they must label and relate the idea of relative time to the layers of the sandwich and the earth’s layers. See rubric for rock journal.

The student will be able to identify igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks, evidenced by their ability to match a type of candy/cookie with the rock it resembles, demonstrating their knowledge of the properties of the type of rock and how it was formed. See rubric for rock journal.


The student will be able to personalize and gain deeper understandings into the formation and properties of a rock, evidenced by a short written story from a rock’s point of view.


The students will be able to participate, in groups, using scientific investigation skills of observing, recording, analyzing, classifying, and discussing the properties of rocks, evidenced by successful completion of rock activities and written journal. See rubric for rock journal.


Everybody Needs a Rock
sandwich bread
sandwich ingredients
plastic knifes
Rock description fact sheet (Integrating Science and L.A. p.118)
Rock Journal for students
Sandwich baggies
kit kat/sugar wafers, rice krispee treats, peanut brittle/hard candy

Advanced Organizer: (10 minutes)

Everybody Needs a Rock by Byrd Baylor

Procedures & Activities:

I. Sandwich Layers and Relative Time (15-20 minutes)

1. Divide students into small groups of 4.

2. Give each group necessary ingredients to make a sandwich. Students should record in their journals the procedure used in making the sandwich.

3. Discuss as a class that the sandwiches were made in layers.

4. Explain to students that geologists are able to tell which rock layers are oldest and youngest by looking at how they are layered. This method of telling time is known as relative time. Looking at the sandwich and using notes, have students draw a simple, side-view sketch of the sandwich and number each layer in the order in which it was made. Have students discuss relative time as it relates to their sandwiches layers.

5. Have students divide their sandwiches into fractions of 4 equal parts (math connection) and they may eat their fraction.

II. Presentation of 3 rock types (Sedimentary, igneous, metamorphic) (10 minutes)

*15 minute scheduled break ROCK HUNT

III. Identification of Rocks through desserts! (25-30 minutes)

Given descriptions of 3 different types of rocks, students will be able to use observation and classification skills to match the description of the rock to the type of food shown.

1. Put students into groups of three and give each student a journal, to record their observations, and a “rock” sample. Each child in the group should have a different type of “rock” so that all 3 students are able to observe all 3 types of rock samples.

2. Using description of sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rocks they just learned about, have students apply this knowledge to try and identify what type of “rock” the food is.

3. Have students draw their rock specimen that is in the back, and describe it, using NON-RELATED food words. Instruct students that they are not to remove the samples from the baggies.

4. Have students rotate their baggies until all students have had an opportunity to sketch and describe each “rock”.

5. In groups, have students see if they can label the rocks “Sedimentary, igneous, metamorphic” based on their descriptions and what they already know about these rocks.

6. Have the class discuss what samples they thought were what rocks, and vote on a consensus for each. Review with students again how these types of rocks were formed, and why the food resembles the type of rock.

Students may eat their “rock” sample they end up with, or swap, as long as it doesn’t cause problems.

Sedimentary Rocks: (Kit Kat, Sugar wafers) Formed when different sediments accumulate for several thousand years and then are cemented together, forming layers.

Igneous Rocks: (peanut brittle, hard candy) Formed from fire. Liquefied molten magma, that then cools very quickly and hardens, forming a very glassy, or fine crystal appearance.

Metamorphic Rock: (Rice Krispee Treat (have them flatten it) Changes in form. Metamorphic rocks are rocks that have “morphed” into another kind of rock. These rocks were once igneous or sedimentary rocks. How do sedimentary and igneous rocks change? The rocks are under tons and tons of pressure, which fosters heat build up, and this causes them to change. If you exam metamorphic rock samples closely, you’ll discover how flattened some of the grains in the rock are.

Closure: (25-35 minutes)

Have students make their rocks found earlier into pet rocks!

If time or for homework: Have students write and illustrate a short paragraph about their rock, from the rock’s point of view.


Rock Journal Rubric