Lesson Plan

Exploring Rocks and Minerals

Students will learn to classify rocks and minerals by their attributes, then report on their observations.#STEMchallenge
Susan K.
Classroom teacher
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My Grades 2, 3
My Subjects English Language Arts, English Language Learning, Math, Science, Social Studies, Arts
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Students will be able to...plan and conduct an investigation to describe and classify different kinds of rocks by their observable properties. Observations will include the attributes of color, texture, hardness, and luster.  Students will report on their observations.

Grades 2 - 5
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Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Activity: Exploring

To help engage students in the upcoming investigation, do one of the following: encourage each student to bring in one, two, or three interesting rocks to school, have each student choose a rock from the teacher's collection of rocks, or take students on a walking field trip to a nearby location to gather two or three interesting rocks each.

2 Direct Instruction

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Students watch the BrainPOP Jr. video on rocks and minerals. The key learning of this video centers on the attributes of rocks: color, texture, hardness, and luster. A quiz is available for use as a review of the video lesson. This video can be accessed by iPad or on the website. Inexpensive options for accessing a limited number of videos are available.

3 Guided Practice

Before the lesson, use the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History  Q?rius link (https://www.qrius.si.edu/fieldbook/17/recent) to sign up and then make a field book for your class. To start this lesson step,  go to the Smithsonian site's Q?rius rocks and minerals site (https://qrius.si.edu/browse/type/229). Students can look for rocks similar to those they have found or brought to class. This is an opportunity for students to discuss their observations about the attributes of their rock(s) as a whole group or in small groups.  Assist students in adding the similar rocks to the class field book on the website, then grouping them by similar attributes.

4 Independent Practice

Students can work individually or in pairs, allowing for modification of the activity. Instruct students to use Plum's Photo Hunt app to take a photo of one rock. Students can use the EasyLearn Rocks and Minerals app or the Smithsonian Q?rius rocks and minerals site to find information about the attributes of their rock.  Using Popplet, assist students as they make a graphic organizer with information about their rock on their device. Students insert the photo of the rock into the center frame. Then students fill other frames in Popplet with found information about the attributes of their rock.

5 Wrap-Up

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When completed, the popplets can be published by printing. Students can share their popplets with each other as a wrap-up activity.