Lesson Plan

Test for Hardness

Students will learn about the Moh's Scale of Hardness and identify the number of hardness on Moh's scale for a variety of minerals
Anna P.
Classroom teacher
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My Grades 4
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies

Students will be able to...

Determine the place on the hardness scale for a variety of minerals. 

Grades 4
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Activity: Conversing

Teacher will remind students that at the beginning of the unit they discussed physical properties that can describe minerals. There was one that was said would be used later in the unit. The teacher will ask students if they remember which one it was. Teacher will guide students to the term hardness

"Can we just test something's hardness by squeezing it? Teacher will have a student squeeze the mineral and ask if they feel any different. Students will continue to think of ways they could test for hardness.

2 Direct Instruction

Activity: Exploring

Teacher will introduce students to a person named Friedrich Moh's. He created the Moh's Hardness Scale. Students will access a link to the hardness scale on Schoology. The link is also here: http://library.thinkquest.org/J002289/mohs.html

After students explore the scale, they will watch a video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-bw7_u3gSQ to explain how to test for hardness.

The teacher will spark a discussion with students about how they could test sample minerals for hardness. The class will come up with a technique that follows the video.  

3 Guided Practice

Activity: Investigating

In groups, students will be given a set of three minerals (Quartz, Flourite, and Gypsum). They will test them for hardness and give them a number based on Moh's scale. After all groups have finished, the teacher will go over where each of the minerals falls on the scale. Then he/she will give a description of each of the minerals so students can name them: 

Gypsum could almost be substituted for chalk

Quartz is harder than Fourite

With that, students will be able to identify which mineral is which. 

4 Independent Practice

Activity: Broadcasting

Now that students understand the process, they will each individually get a mineral (calcite). Their job will be to test it for hardness and determine where it belongs on the scale. They will then have to research it (according to its Moh's Hardness Number) and determine what the name o fthe mineral is. They will record themselves as they conduct the experiment. The directions for this assessment will be accessed in Schoology, but they are also listed below: 

Directions for Hardness Experiment

Individually, you will take your sample mineral and determine its hardness on the Moh’s Scale of Hardness.

Video yourself conducting the experiment, talking through it, and determining the number on the Moh’s scale of hardness.

Email your video to the teacher.

After you determine its hardness, research the mineral and determine its name.

Once you know the name, write it in the Schoology discussion titled “What’s My Name? How Do You Know?” and explain how you know.

You will be assessed on the following:


4- You followed the correct procedure when testing the hardness test.

3- You followed the correct procedure when testing the hardness test.

2- You followed most of the procedure when testing the hardness.

1- You did not follow the procedure when testing the hardness.


4- Your voice was easy to hear and you explained the experiment correctly.

3- Your voice could be heard and you explained the experiment.

2- Your voice could not be easily heard and you did not explain the experiment all of the way.

1- Your voice could not be heard and you did not explain the experiment.

5 Wrap-Up

Activity: Reading

Students will read pages 14-16 in their Earth Materials Stories book. These stories are about different minerals. This will extend what they have learned about minerals. After they read, they will post three things they learned in the Schoology discussion titled "Minerals Reading."