New Teachers

Integrating Minerals in the Classroom

Hello Everyone,

I am a current teacher candidate in an elementary school and through observation, I have noticed that science is not integrated within the classroom although there are science standards for the grade level that should be met. I am planning to teach a lesson on rocks with a 3rd grade class in the upcoming fall, but I am unaware as of where to find inexpensive rock/mineral kits to allow my students to explore the various rocks. Where could I find inexpensive rock/mineral kits and what is your experience with those rock/mineral kits (if you have had any)?

I would like to integrate the standard:

Standard - 3.3.3.A2

Identify the physical properties of minerals and demonstrate how minerals can be tested for these different physical properties.

Are there curriculum constraints that are relating to the lack of science integration in schools? Has anyone done a science project/activity dealing with mineral properties? How did you teach the lesson in a way that engaged the students or how would you teach the lesson if you have not already taught mineral properties? Thank you in advance. I cannot wait to read the various ways of instruction that everyone may provide!

Alexis Imler
Alexis Imler
310 Activity Points

Alexis, I don't know if I can answer all of your very valid questions. I would google free rock and mineral samples for the classroom/teachers. I got my rocks free at an NSTA conference. You could ask to borrow a set from a local middle school if there aren't any on your campus. 

When elementary schools move away from self contained classrooms and have teachers specialize in one or two subjects, then the sad truth is, the teachers don't plan for integration of subjects. It's a loss for students who aren't able to see a connection in the content. Another reason this is happening is because of the pressure of ELA and math being the core subjects and where scores are closely monitored. As you have seen, many times science and social studies are pushed to the side to the detriment of our students. 

Search lessons in the Learning Center under Explore All Resources and check out ngss.nsta.org for even more classroom resources. 

Pamela Dupre
Pamela Dupre
90454 Activity Points

Hello Alexis,

I think you can have a real blast with rocks at grade 3.  It seems like a natural subject for kids to immerse themselves into. I remember my sons always filling their pockets with all kinds of rocks in elementary school!  

There are mineral-related organizations that have kits/resources/lessons for you.  I found a couple:

Studying rocks is such a great, hands-on unit that can combine all other subjects!  Once you get some kits students can test the samples on several of the properties: hardness, streak, lustre, colour, specific gravity, maybe even flourescence under UV light (you can find cheap, 'black light' pens to do this - make sure to give safety instructions.)

Having students bring in their own rocks to identify and test is a definite engagement activity.  Resource maps that show where significant deposits of minerals occur in your state is not only a bridge to social studies but can lead to discussions on where communities popped up, conservation issues, pros and cons of mining, and so on. Finding out where we use solid minerals in our homes, consumer products, etc. links what they learn to their everyday lives.  Just think 'silicon' and how it affects us!  Research projects and presentations on specific minerals are great for writing and communication. Designing mines for the least environmental impact brings in engineering practices.  

Hope this helps,

Gabe Kraljevic

 

 

 

 

Gabe Kraljevic
Gabe Kraljevic
3478 Activity Points

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