Rocks

SciGuide

SciGuides are a collection of thematically aligned lesson plans, simulations, and web-based resources for teachers to use with their students centered on standards-aligned science concepts.

This guide explores rocks, from processes that can change them (such as weathering), to what can happen to them as they move through the rock cycle. Using this guide, teachers of middle school students will focus on the tangible process of sedimentary rock formation, but will also touch on the rock cycle as a whole. Use the sites in this guide to learn about rocks through text and multimedia simulations, read about scientists’ work, develop inquiry activities that encourage students to explore rocks, and discover common misconceptions about rocks and rock formation.

Grades
  • Middle

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Reviews (27)
  • on Thu Sep 18, 2014 4:18 AM

SciGuides are really fantastic. When it's time to teach this area, I can be confident knowing I'll have the Rocks SciGuide to go to for lesson plans, simulations, and web-based resources. I'll be able to create outstanding lessons in a shorter amount of time since many resources are easily accessible in this SciGuide.

Naomi Beverly  (Marietta, GA)
Naomi Beverly (Marietta, GA)

  • on Tue Nov 13, 2012 7:21 AM

One can spend hours looking for helpful Online Resources on Rocks and the Rock Cycle or use this SciGuide. I think all teachers should review the Common Misconceptions About Rocks and Minerals, first and then go through the rest of the guide. I also really liked The VisionLearning site for those fast/more independent learners.

Tabitha Booth
Tabitha Booth

  • on Sun Nov 11, 2012 11:49 PM

The NSTA SciGuide Rocks is an excellent resource to use in a Earth Science class. It is easily divided into the sections of Formation of Rocks, History of Rocks, and Soil. It gives clear, concise sources for teachers and provides students with wonderful resources ranging from types of rocks (including their favorite "gems")to how rocks change to form soil. Included in the SciGuide are lesson such as Formation of Rocks, The History of Rocks, and The Grand Canyon of Mars. The lesson with the greatest impact on me was the Interactive Rock Cycle Animation from the Exploring Earth link. Students watched and re-watched this interactive video to better understand the rock cycle. Then they compared real life rock samples I had in class to the pictures found in the links. Students were fascinated with the different types of rocks and trying to identify them on their own. I have and will continue to use this SciGuide in my teaching by incorporating it into the units that deal with my Earth Science classes. The lessons and links provided in this Guide allow to hit all the standards from SC.8.8.1 Compare the characteristics of the three main types of rocks to SC.8.8.2 Illustrate the rock cycle and explain how igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks are formed in 8th Grade Earth Science. There were many, many other visuals and lessons helping to describe almost every aspect rocks and rock formation. In general I don’t see much that needs improving in this SciGuide. As always real world links to local information (specifically Hawaii) always brings increased interest from my students.

Nancy Iaukea  (Pahoa, HI)
Nancy Iaukea (Pahoa, HI)

  • on Tue Nov 06, 2012 1:42 PM

This SciGuide is great! It presents the material on how rocks are formed, the history of rocks, and how soil is made from rocks, in a way that it is scaffolded for the students so they can better understand it. It will take several days to teach each topic, but the results will be worth the time. There are great animations and simulations to help solidify these challenging concepts. The level of questionning is high for my third graders but it is better to expose them to higher level questionning to better prepare them for the grades to come.

Tracie  (Kahului, HI)
Tracie (Kahului, HI)

  • on Sun Sep 09, 2012 4:43 PM

This Sci guide has tons of resources! I don't see needing any other resources to plan my lesson for rocks. The sciguide is a nice companion to the scipack, rocks.

Kellee Kelly  (Ewa Beach, HI)
Kellee Kelly (Ewa Beach, HI)

  • on Sun Apr 08, 2012 7:38 PM

Rocks: SciGuide focuses on themes: Formation of Rocks, History of Rocks, and Soil. The lesson plans and resources can easily be adapted for fourth grade. I found this guide helpful because each major theme not only had sample lesson plans, audio clips, sample work and case studies; but it also included additional sources of information. The SciGuide provides supplemental information in addition to our classroom text. Although lesson plans target middle school students, it can easily be adapted to Elementary standards. Links/suggestions to audio clips support auditorial and visual learners. Having multiple selections of audio clips imbedded in the SciGuide may increase efficiency. Overall, this SciGuide was well written, planned, and provided an excellent amount of information.

Gary
Gary

  • on Sun Mar 11, 2012 7:04 AM

Rocks SciGuide has three major themes: 1) Formation of Rocks, 2) History of Rocks, and Soil. This SciGuide is targeted for middle school students, but what I found most helpful are various resources for primary elementary school students, since I teach 2nd grade. Reader of Rocks is a great introduction of what a geologist does. Common Misconceptions About Rocks and Minerals under Formation of Rocks is a must read for teachers to understand misconceptions that their students may be coming in with and the truth behind each misconception. The website, http://www.annenbergmedia.org/interactives/rockcycle/index.html , is an interactive website that provides simple activities for students to observe types of rocks, how rocks change, the rock cycle, as well a test at the end (useful for upper elementary). Interactive Rock cycle Animation from Exploring Earth http://www.classzone.com/books/earth_science/terc/content/investigations/es0602/es0602page02.cfm helps students to easily envision the process of the rock cycle. The website, http://geologyonline.museum.state.il.us/tools/lessons/2.1/lesson.html, has a well-developed lesson for second grade looking at the properties of rocks. This website has ISM Geology Online GeoGallery which provides a database of information and photographs for 101 selected rocks from the museum’s collection. I will use School Yard Geology in my class and go on a rock hunt, then take the rocks/clasts back to observe their physical properties. Rocks Made to Order, http://www.mnh.si.edu/earth/main_frames.html, helps students to see how rocks are mined and our uses for rocks. This website holds wonderful video clips and information varying from the solar system, plate tectonics and volcanoes, rocks and mining, and gems and minerals. I highly recommend this site…A great resource for teachers to refer to.

Kelly
Kelly

  • on Sat Jan 28, 2012 2:33 PM

This SciGuide covers the themes of Formation of Rocks, History of Rocks and Soil. The guide provides excellent web resources and activities that can be incorporated into the standards based classroom. I love how it is organized and laid out with a map. As a Technology Coordinator I teach multiple grades. This SciGuide is wonderful because it includes numerous resources. My suggestion would be to focus on one theme and identify what you can use from that theme and build from there so you aren't overwhelmed. This SciGuide includes lessons and case studies geared towards grade 5 and above. I found that many of the resources can be used in the lower grade either as a teacher resource or something that you share with your students rather than having them go out to explore it on their own. For example, I plan on using this resource for some of my grade 3 lessons but I know that some of the material is beyond what we will be studying. The student misconception resources included in the SciGuide (and SciPack by the same name) are helpful in identifying where the students are at so you can appropriately challenge them at their level and according to the standards for your particular grade level. Overall, this SciGuide Rocks!

Rena Roybal
Rena Roybal

  • on Sat Nov 19, 2011 3:16 PM

THis SciGuide on the formation of rocks, rock history and soil provided terrific rock cycle links. The Common Misconceptions about Rocks and Minerals listed geological misconceptions that students and teachers frequently hold. The site also offered several activities and formative assessments to Uncover Students Ideas in Science. "Is it a Rock?" is multisensory and helps assess students' prior knowledge. The Guide also hold many video clips and interactive sorting games. My students found the BBC video informative and were able to retain a lot of information from the video for their unit assessment. I appreciate this one-stop place for numerous resources and creative ideas. I wish I had even more time to spend on this unit so that I could try out the Mars Student Imaging Project. Overall, a great set of classroom resources!

Erin
Erin

  • on Wed Nov 09, 2011 1:09 PM

The SciGuide connected me to resources that are supported in my text. I have used class zone in the past but this reinforced what we had been working on. The SciGuide had reminded me about multiple ways for students to see the information and this supports the Annenberg media site we use. This collection of resources is one of the most comprehensive for helping teachers to plan an in-depth look at the rock cycle and how its formation and continuous interactions are dynamic. There is little I would add to improve this collection unless more Smart Board activities were added or created.

Andrea Medrano  (Keaau, HI)
Andrea Medrano (Keaau, HI)

  • on Sun Oct 30, 2011 7:55 PM

The Rocks sciquide is a comprehensive guide to rocks and the study of rocks. It has a variety of activities and resources for students in grades 5-8. The sciguide has three main components: Formation of Rocks, History of Rocks and Soil. I will start my review with the Soil section as this section had the most appropriate resources for my younger students and I found quite a number of lesson plan ideas in this section. The soil section of the rocks sciguide provided some excellent discussions and insights on types of soils, compositions of soils, weathered rocks and weathering processes and the progression of soil development over time. The guide provided a very interesting lesson plan about the soil of Mars. I enjoyed the student sample which provided some good insight into what a product of the lesson plan might be. The science object that was part of the lesson plan on rocks gave me some great ideas and some solid content knowledge on the subject of soil and rocks. Another section of the sciguide was the History of Rocks. This section provided fascinating discussions and content on the topics related to the age of rocks, how rocks are dated, what they tell us about the earth and the age of the earth and how the process of recycling of rocks occurs over time. There are some great interactive sections for students that provide excellent information in a media filled and interesting forum. The third section was the Formation of Rocks and covers the process of the rock cycle in an interesting and fun manner. There are a number of flash simulations that make this section very interesting and engaging. All of the lessons are appropriate for an older elementary and a middle school group of students, however, I found a number of ideas that I could modify as I start my earth science unit. My students are in a compare and contrast unit and in one of the sciguide resources there was an excellent lesson plan on taking two rocks and using a Venn Diagram to compare and contrast rocks. Students get hands on experience of observations and also of looking at rocks closely to determine the different properties and characteristics they see. I found this sciguide to be very useful even if it was meant for an older age group. It certainly provided me with some excellent content knowledge.

Catherine Hawkins
Catherine Hawkins

  • on Mon Oct 24, 2011 2:46 AM

The Rocks sciguide is a comprehensive guide to rocks and the study of rocks. It has a variety of activities and resources for students in grades 5-8. The sciguide has three main components: Formation of Rocks, History of Rocks and Soil. I will start my review with the Soil section as this section had the most appropriate resources for my younger students and I found quite a number of lesson plan ideas in this section. The soil section of the rocks sciguide provided some excellent discussions and insights on types of soils, compositions of soils, weathered rocks and weathering processes and the progression of soil development over time. The guide provided a very interesting lesson plan about the soil of Mars. I enjoyed the student sample which provided some good insight into what a product of the lesson plan might be. The science object that was part of the lesson plan on rocks gave me some great ideas and some solid content knowledge on the subject of soil and rocks. Another section of the sciguide was the History of Rocks. This section provided fascinating discussions and content on the topics related to the age of rocks, how rocks are dated, what they tell us about the earth and the age of the earth and how the process of recycling of rocks occurs over time. There are some great interactive sections for students that provide excellent information in a media filled and interesting forum. The third section was the Formation of Rocks and covers the process of the rock cycle in an interesting and fun manner. There are a number of flash simulations that make this section very interesting and engaging. All of the lessons are appropriate for an older elementary and a middle school group of students, however, I found a number of ideas that I could modify as I start my earth science unit. My students are in a compare and contrast unit and in one of the sciguide resources there was an excellent lesson plan on taking two rocks and using a Venn Diagram to compare and contrast rocks. Students get hands on experience of observations and also of looking at rocks closely to determine the different properties and characteristics they see. I found this sciguide to be very useful even if it was meant for an older age group. It certainly provided me with some excellent content knowledge.

Catherine Hawkins
Catherine Hawkins

  • on Sun Sep 18, 2011 5:29 AM

This was an awesome Guide! I am glad I chose this one. I am teaching Earth Science for the first time, and am spending alot of time searching for information. This week I am teaching Rocks and Minerals. This site had it all - The lesson plan included complete instructions with the rock cycle diagram, student work sheets, web resources, and my favorite part - a game. There were interactive activities and easy to understand information about rocks. I would highly recommend this Science Guide. It's complete and easy enough to follow for teachers without an extensive science background.

Cheri A
Cheri A

  • on Thu Mar 07, 2013 12:39 PM

This SciGuide had a lot of resources that I actually used in class. Along with a rock lab that gave the students an opportunity to have a hands on experience and with our microscopes, they were also able to analyze each rock and its characteristics. The simulations provided them with the background information needed to understand where and how the major rock types were made and the endless cycle that can and has occurred throughout our planets history. The only negative reaction my students had was that the simulations grouped up a lot of information and it was very difficult for them to break down the main points and to paraphrase each section on their own.

Mitchell M
Mitchell M

  • on Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:40 AM

Rocks SciGuide for middle school is an excellent source for beginning as well as expert teachers. I like how it provides three themes: Formation of Rocks, History of Rocks and Soil. Each theme is provided with additional resources that includes multi-media interactive flashes for the teacher and/or student. As a lower elementary teacher, would use the interactive rock animation to help teach weathering and erosion. I really like how the animation breaks down the information and has real pictures along with the animated ones to show the process with great descriptions. The only suggestion that I would have is for the SciGuide is that they come up with another one geared toward the lower grades.

Trisha Okamura
Trisha Okamura

  • on Thu Nov 22, 2012 1:05 AM

This SciGuide about Rocks has many of the NSTA resources (media/simulations) found in the Rocks SciPack. This is both reassuring and a little disappointing. There are however many other web resources which are quite interesting and useful. I particularly like the sections on "misconceptions" and clarifying points about what rocks are not and how they are not classified. This SciGuide is broken down into three comprehensive sections: Formation of Rocks, History of Rocks, and Soil. Each section is full of useful teacher resources as well as resources for students. There is a nice mix of "hands-on" activities, reading, and some virtual media; sources from around the globe as well as information on a collaborative project with NASA and AZ. State's Mars Education program. This SciGuide is worth checking out.

Saba Polakovic
Saba Polakovic

  • on Mon Nov 05, 2012 9:44 PM

The importance behind this SciGuide is to give the readers the opportunity to explore the world of rocks and where they came from. Although rocks are non-living they have many stories to tell and rocks helps scientists understand the world millions of years ago. The guide is broken down into 3 important sections: Formation of Rocks, History of Rocks & Soil. The reader is able to learn about the rock cycle and what happens to rocks which cause them to change. Rocks help us to compare our planet to other planets because it helps us to see what materials are in each rock and what organisms may have possibly lived there. Finally there are great activities, videos and interactive websites that encourage students to explore rocks and answers some of the misconceptions about rocks.

Eve Nishikawa
Eve Nishikawa

  • on Fri Jul 13, 2012 5:50 PM

The Rocks SciPack is filled with great activities for middle school students, however, I see many ways to customize the lessons for my fourth grade class. There are links to text, multimedia simulations, inquiry activities, and games that can be used with upper elementary school students. I especially like the link "Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears" that has science stories for students listed by grade level. I also find that I can easily use some of the interactive website links, specifically "Bitesize", the BBC KS3 Revision on the Rock Cycle. The flash simulations are useful to supplement lessons discussing sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rock formations. In the Additional Sources section there are grade-appropriate links to assessment probes and reading activities for teachers and students alike. Overall, I find that this SciGuide is a useful tool in beginning a learning cycle on Rocks.

Paula Roknick-Evans
Paula Roknick-Evans

  • on Sat Apr 07, 2012 7:01 AM

Although listed for grades 5-8, this SciGuide is appropriate for 9th grade earth science class. This is an excellent collection of resources. I especially liked the interactive included in the sciguide where students generate conclusions from simulations. Some of the simulations are: “Sedimentary rocks”, “Metamorphic pressure cooker” where students “cook” their rocks thus changing the type of rock throughout the experiment, “the rock cycle”, and the “Geologic Adventure” where students figure out the sequence of events of plate movements. I could use the many interactive animations to teach concepts, or as review before a quiz or test, or simply to add interest to engage our internet-savvy students. A suggestion for improvement would be to add more 10th grade+ level resources would be helpful to high school geology or environmental science teachers.

Sharon
Sharon

  • on Sun Apr 01, 2012 6:47 PM

This SciGuide has resources for grades 5-8 on rocks. There is a link for students to “Ride the Rock Cycle.” It appears to be a template for a game that students play in the classroom. I liked the format they used for the comic book that can help students reflect on their learning. It seems like at those stations the students would need to complete a lot of independent learning. There was also a link for the “Rock Cycle Gizmo” but you need a subscription to have the students play. There is also a link for students to discover where to dig up their own dinosaur. They have to know the various types of rocks in order to find where the fossils would be found. My favorite site that is on this SciGuide is the link called “Windows to the Universe”. Here there are directions for students to make their own sedimentary rocks. I think that activity would be very useful to my third graders.

Shawna Fischer
Shawna Fischer

  • on Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:59 PM

The Rocks SciGuide provides resources that would better help a teacher communicate information about rock formation, the rock cycle, and about possible misconceptions students may have about the subject. This SciGuide focuses on three themes: 1) Formation of Rocks, 2) History of Rocks, and 3) Soil. The Web site connections to Windows to the Universe (even though the site had a “busy appearance” and the animations from the classroomzone.com sites were especially helpful in providing visualizations of real rock formation types. Among the most effectively interactive, was the BBC2 KS3 interactive. While it was extremely text-heavy, the animations and interactive nature of that example was very helpful. Ideally, the SciGuide is still intended for instruction of students at the secondary level. Most of the more accessible content is targeted for grades 5-8 students. I think it is adaptable for students at the elementary level (I am in grade 3), with scaffolding and teacher-lead discussion through grade 4. The middle level lesson on sedimentary rocks can be adapted with a change to minimized materials. The content of rocks might work well with the other science objects relating to processes of earth and possibly plate tectonics. I did appreciate that the SciGuide referred to the on-site NSTA K-4 resources, but what I really appreciated were the flash simulations (as could be found in the SciPacks). The flash simulation that built the rock cycle garnered those “oh, oh, OHs!” with my students. They really enjoyed seeing the reinforcement of these concepts as we teachers (always so short on time) don’t have millions of years to teach about rocks!

Lori Towata
Lori Towata

  • on Sat Nov 12, 2011 1:39 PM

The key point that made an impression on me in this SciGuide was that students have many misconceptions about rocks and how they form. It is important to address those misconceptions early on so they do not impede student learning. This SciGuide has many useful interactive Rock Cycle links that can be used to let students explore the formation of rocks. One of the sites, Arizona State University’s Rock Around the World Program, lets students send in a rock to be analyzed using the same technology scientists use to analyze materials on Mars. My class sent in a rock and is eagerly awaiting the results. My only suggestions for this SciGuide are maybe more ready to use inquiry ideas on rocks and suggestions for adapting the lessons to younger grades.

Alayna
Alayna

  • on Tue Oct 18, 2011 8:50 PM

I teach an inclusion science class that consists of 10 special education students and 12 regular education students. Our class is also grouped homogeneously. I am currently teaching Earth and Space Science and also covering Physics. Although the Rocks SciGuide was geared to middle school, I am still able to use the lessons, materials, and ideas but modify them to my standards. The Rocks SciGuide was a very useful tool for me. I like how it gave me resources to content, hand on investigations, lesson ideas, and assessments for teaching about the rocks There were three sections: 1) Formation of Rocks 2) History of Rocks. When you click on either one of them, they give you specific lesson plans, hands on activities, and all sorts of valuable materials that you can use in the classrooms. I was able to use those lesson plans and modify them to the needs of my students. But having the lessons there to use as a model really helps.

Cori Lyn Shikuma
Cori Lyn Shikuma

  • on Tue Sep 13, 2011 12:33 AM

This was a great resource for teachers to use if they are implementing lessons on rocks. This sciguide is comprised of three sections: formation of rocks, history of rocks, and soil. So it’s really good to see lessons and websites that can link you from the very beginning of how rocks were formed to what we use the rocks for. I was really interested in the rock cycle links because this relates to a standard that students in third grade need to know. Luckily for our school, our reading program focuses on a story about rocks. So before reading this story, I can use these links to frontload the students. Although these links are a little more advanced for my students to understand, the graphics that the links use are very helpful in allowing me to scaffold. This sciguide was very helpful and definitely a resource that I would share with my coworkers.

Nohelani K
Nohelani K

  • on Wed May 08, 2013 2:37 PM

The rock cycle interactive web sites are an excellent way to reinforce a lecture. While I was navigating the sites, I noticed a few hiccups on the java script end, but not really anything that would deter a student from attaining the overall message with the interactive. I gave it 3 stars because of the hiccups in java script.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth

  • on Fri Oct 19, 2012 12:42 AM

The Rock SciGuide is a quick resource to learn about the topic of rocks with lesson ideas primarily for grades 5-8. The Rock SciGuide is divided into three sections: Formation of Rocks, History of Rocks, and Soil, which can be found in the Rocks SciGuide Map. Also in this SciGuide Map, one can find the links used for each of these sections. For instance under the Theme: History of Rocks, there will be links for History of Rocks and Movement of Elements. Clicking on any of these links will navigate you to a new website with more ideas and lessons. This SciGuide Map is a very quick resource to see what is available for this topic. After you click any one of the themes and under the NSTA Resource Collection heading, there are many more resources for grade levels above and below this intended SciGuide. This is where I found the K-4 resources, which were mainly book and journal articles. From several of these journal articles, sprung ideas for incorporating these ideas into my own classroom using the resources and books that I already have. One of the ideas from one of the journal articles was to have the students bring in their own rocks from the community. In my classroom, the students will be asked to bring in their own collection of rocks. Using their group’s rocks, they will use their observational skills to create a bubble map of the general characteristics of rocks. This will enable the introduction of scientific terms (texture, composition, luster, etc.) Later, the class will create a tree map by categorizing their observations from their bubble maps under the headings of texture, size, shape, color, etc. As we read informational texts about rocks, the students will add more characteristics to the class tree map using a different color sticky notes or colors to show . The use of different colors in our note taking will demonstrate the addition of knew knowledge to our schema. As a concluding assignment, the students could choose one rock in particular to create a “Missing Pet Rock”. Students will choose their rock then while using their knew found skills in making more scientific observations of their rock, the students will create a “Missing Rock” Flyer. Students will then try and match the “Missing Rock” flyer to the rock sample. As for suggestions for improvement to this particular SciGuide, I would have liked to see a SciGuide for lower elementary. Otherwise, the ideas from the journal articles was terrific!

Melelani Dycus
Melelani Dycus

  • on Sun Apr 15, 2012 10:11 PM

This SciGuide is separated into three themes: Formation of Rocks, History of Rocks, and Soil. Unfortunately, I felt that this SciGuide did not have very many resources to browse through. I do feel that the flash simulations under "Additional Resources" would be great to use in a lesson. The "Metamorphic Pressure Cooker" flash does a great job at showing what happens to rocks when they are put under pressure and heat. Although some resources in this SciGuide are useful, I feel it needs more resources.

Juliet K
Juliet K


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