Lesson Plan

Rocks in Use

This lesson introduces the idea that different properties determine different uses. In this lesson, students explore the way rocks are used to make-up objects outside and around them.

Assessment: Students will complete the FOSS assessment titled "Uses of Earth Materials" in which they circle the objects made with rocks.

Given a sentence frame in which the claim is provided, students will fill in the sentence with a piece of evidence. 

Students will utilize iPad applications and various interactive websites to strengthen their understanding of rock properties and their usages.

ISTE standards:

1. Creativity and innovation

  • Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology
    • Create original works as a means of personal or group expression

3. Research and information fluency

  • Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information
    • Locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media
    • Process data and report results

6. Technology operations and concepts

  • Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems, and operations
    • Select and use applications effectively and productively
Grades 2
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook/Attention Getter

Activity: Exploring

Ask students to gather at the carpet with a pencil. Ask students about the different types of rocks we’ve explored so far. Ask students to raise their hands and list the types of rocks we’ve explored in size order. Write the list on the board.
“We have explored so many types of rocks so far. Today, we are going to learn how rocks are used in our everyday lives. Our learning target for today and Wednesday is: I can identify how rocks are used based on their properties.
(This will be printed on a large piece of paper that I will tape to the board. I noticed that Ms. Alexander displays learning targets like a “dart target” so I will be doing the same thing here.)

Student Instructions

Students will say: pebbles, sand, silt, clay.

2 Hook/Attention Getter part 2 with tech

"Okay, now I'd like you to get into groups of 4 and go to your computer stations. I'd like you to read your task cards and then follow directions on your cards to sort the objects on the website. Use what you know about rock and mineral properties to help you. Work as a team."

Student Instructions

Students will read their task cards and work as a group to sort the household objects.

3 Eliciting Initial Ideas

Activity: Exploring

Give students adequate time on the computers. Then, call them back to the carpet.

“I have a lot planned for us today but before we can begin, let’s put on our geologist hats. I see a few of you already have yours on! Okay, so today, we’re going to go on a mini-field excursion. Excursion is word that scientists use that means the same thing as an exploration or a field trip! We’re going to go outside our classroom for a little bit and see if we can identify any rocks on our playground. But first, I have a question for you that I really need help figuring out. I want to know what rock do you think would be best to make a sidewalk? Of the types of rocks we’ve explored so far [point to the words written on the board], which do you think would be best to make a sidewalk? Go ahead and think quietly to yourself for a minute.

Review properties. Review claims and evidence with poster.

Allow students time to write.

"We're going to explore this question today! Does anybody want to share why they chose a certain rock over another and what properties they used as their evidence?"

Call on students. 

“We’re going to keep this question in our minds when we go outside today. Now, before we can go outside, we need to talk about some rules. We want to have fun while we’re being scientists but if we can’t behave properly, then we’re not going to be able to continue with our field excursion….” Go over personal space and the importance of being good listeners. Talk about everybody standing in two lines behind the teacher.
“When we go outside today, we’re going to keep out super awesome geologist eyes open. We’re going to walk as a group and see if we can point out any earth materials on our playground. We’re going to try to identify how rocks are used based on their properties.”

Student Instructions

Students will write one of the following on their sticky note: pebbles, sand, silt, clay along with two properties.
Students will raise their hands and share what they remember about properties. Students will listen as I go over the claims and evidence poster from last session.
Students will share their ideas.

4 Engaging with Phenomena/Guided Practice

Activity: Exploring

Ask students to line up. Create two lines of students standing side-by side. Have Ms. Machado and Mr. Sobo stand at the back and in the middle to monitor students.
Take students outside and stop every so often to point out the uses of rocks in gravel, brick, asphalt… Ask students to raise their hands if they see an earth material in use.
What do you see that is made of rock?
Why do you think that specific rock was used to make that? What properties does that rock have that made it okay to use as ______.
What would happen if another type of rock was used?
What properties make this rock the best type to make ______.

Then, come inside and gather at the carpet. Ask students what they noticed: Is there anything that you know is made of rock that we don’t see on our playground? Do you think roads could be made of sand? Silt? Clay?

Record on the board.
Read the story “Making things with Rocks.” Stop on every page and ask students what they notice about the pictures. Ask students to pair-share at the end of the story about whether their field excursion and the story had things in common.

Bring out chart of sandpaper textures. “Today, we’re going to explore a specific earth material that we are all familiar with: sand! But the sand we’re going to explore isn’t just sand. It’s sandpaper. Does anybody know what sandpaper is used for? Turn to a partner and talk for 30 seconds about where you’ve seen sandpaper used.”
Ask students to share their answers.
“Sandpaper is used in construction and building things. Workers use sand for smoothing things. Why do you think they use sandpaper to smooth things?”
Call on students.
“Before we explore our sandpaper, we need to learn some definitions. We’re going to learn about sandpaper textures. Thumbs up if you remember what texture means. Texture is how something feels or looks. Today, I want you to pay close attention to how different textures create different results.”
Go over the chart and explain how the sizes of the sand denote a different texture.
“You will all have three pieces of sandpaper today, just like I have up here. What you’re going to do is use your hands and feel the sandpapers. [Model] You’re going to feel how the sandpaper is different from each other and how their texture makes them different. Then, you’re going to receive a block of wood. You can use your sandpapers to rub against the wood. [Model] I want you to explore how your wood changes based on which sandpaper you use. I also want you to make some claims and support them with ? What does a claim need for it to be complete?” Review claims and evidence. Model making a claim/using evidence with the block of wood.

Review claims and evidence.

Student Instructions

Students will quietly line up and follow me outside in two lines.
Students will share their observations.
Students will pair-share that the book and their field excursion relate.

Students will discuss with a partner.
Students will share their ideas.
Call students to tables. For the rest of the time, students will explore their sandpapers.

5 Engaging with Phenomena through Technology

"Students who have finished exploring their sandpapers can go to their computer stations. I have loaded a site for you to explore. I have provided a task card on the keyboard for you to read through."

Student Instructions

Students will read through the task card and proceed to the interactive website.

6 Use Evidence to Draw Conclusions and Make Claims

Activity: Exploring

Ask students to leave all of their materials on their desk and join me on the carpet.
Ask students: What did the different textures do to the blocks of wood? Did the different sandpapers all produce the same result? Why? What is it about the size of the sand that affected our blocks of wood differently?
“What claims can we make about what we saw today? Turn to a partner and see if you can come up with a claim and a piece of evidence that supports it.” Model a claim if necessary and ask students to come up with a piece of evidence.
Call on students to share.

Student Instructions

Students will engage in a discussion of their sand exploration.
Students will turn to a partner and then share with the whole class.

7 Making Sense of the Lesson/Independent Practice

Activity: Exploring

“On Monday, we went on a field excursion just like real scientists do. We noticed that different rocks made up different things on our playground. You went home and noticed how rocks make up things around you.
“Do you think that the three different textured sandpapers we explored today could be used for the same thing? If a construction worker used fine sandpaper on half of a table and then used coarse sandpaper on the other half, would the table feel the same all the way across? Turn to a partner and share…. No, because we’ve learned that the different sandpapers do different things. What if I were to give you a piece of sandpaper but! Instead of sand, it was wet clay. Claypaper. Do you think claypaper would do anything that sandpaper does? Why? What properties does clay have that would make it unlike sandpaper?

“What about brick walls. Do you think a building made of brick would still stand up if the rocks in the bricks were replaced with silt. Why? Because silt is too wet and the bricks would not hold together.
“Do you think the properties of rocks make them suitable for different uses? Thumbs up if you agree. Thumbs down if you don’t. Why? Can I get a few hands?
“Now, remember when I asked you a question on Monday? I asked what rock do you think would be best to make a sidewalk. Thumbs up if you’ve changed your thinking. Why? Can I get some of you to share your thinking?”
“Are rocks used differently based on their different properties? Thumbs up if you think yes, thumbs down if not.”

Refer back to the learning target. Ask students to thumbs up/down if they believe they’ve reached it.
Put the summative assessment on the doc cam. Read through it and ask students if they have any questions. BE VERY CLEAR ABOUT INSTRUCTIONS. Call students to their tables and hand out the assessments.

Student Instructions

Students will engage in discussion, both in pairs and as a whole class.

Students will complete the assessment.

8 Wrap Up

"If you finish your worksheet early, you may go to the computer stations to read a book I've picked out for you. You will have a task card that tells you directions about what to do. Read the book and see if you can relate to John, the main character."

Student Instructions

Students will use the task card to find the book and read through it.