SciPackDigital resources are stored online in your NSTA Library.

SciPacks are self-directed online learning experiences for teachers to enhance their understanding of a particular scientific concept and its related pedagogical implications for student learning. Unlimited expert content help via email and a final assessment both facilitate and document teacher learning.

The Rock SciPack explores different kinds and categories of rocks, the major processes through which they form and the cyclical nature of the formation and transformation of rock materials. The focus is on topics supporting Standards and Benchmarks related to the rock cycle as part of the transfer and transformation of matter and energy in Earth’s system as well as a sense of the time scales involved and how rocks provide information about their own development and the history of Earth.

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Reviews (31)
  • on Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:34 PM

The "Rocks" SciPack was extremely helpful. I have to take a geology course this summer, so I chose the "Rocks" pack to help prepare me. I truly feel that I will be able to ace my geology course because of this SciPack. I learned about the types of rock, the rock cycle, how rocks are formed, and tons more vital information. I love that it covers benchmarks, standards, and implications at the end. This is very helpful for teachers looking to use this information in the classroom, in any grade as well! The SciPack gives you plenty of opportunities to review what you have learned so that you can assess your progress and decide whether or not it is time to move on.

Sarah Merwin
Sarah Merwin

  • on Tue Mar 20, 2018 10:46 AM

I really enjoyed this SciPack. I think that it had great information, and really enhanced my understanding of the rock cycle. This would be awesome professional development for any teacher who is preparing to teach about sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rocks.

Kayla Patterson
Kayla Patterson

  • on Sun Mar 18, 2018 8:36 PM

I found this SciPack to be an excellent resource with in-depth descriptions of rocks. Some of the main topics include: the different types of rocks, the process of the rock cycle, how and where rocks are formed, how rocks can be used to determine age, the transfer of matter and energy, and much more. I felt that the short quizzes spaced throughout the unit were reflective of the material covered, reinforced the essential concepts, and prepared me for the cumulative assessment at the end of the course. One of my favorite aspects of this SciPack was the interactive pictures and virtual manipulatives that demonstrated the material in a visual manner. I really valued the connection made at the end of the SciPack from the content covered to standards and benchmarks that teachers are expected to cover in the classroom; I felt that this helped me to see the progression of material throughout the grades.

Rachel Pettross
Rachel Pettross

  • on Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:23 PM

The "Rocks" SciPack was extremely informational and gave me more of an in-depth understanding of the different rock types Earth is made up of. The SciPack went into great detail about the rock cycle and presented the information in an organized way. This was a great refresher for my future in teaching.

Macy S
Macy S

  • on Mon Oct 23, 2017 12:44 AM

This SciPack is very informative and had was packed with details about rocks. I learned alot about the rock cycle that I had no clue about before doing this SciPack. I really liked how there were quizzes after the sections to test what you had already gone over it, it was very helpful! I really enjoyed this SciPack!

Katelyn Edlin
Katelyn Edlin

  • on Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:01 PM

I liked how it provides questions to make sure you are learning the information because it makes sure you grasp the idea before moving on to the next portion. I also like that is had interactive sections that provided deeper understanding on certain concepts throughout the SciPack. I really liked the way it presented the information and even had the option to have it read to you and follow along, it has a lot of different methods to receive the information.


  • on Wed Oct 04, 2017 11:50 AM

This SciPack was very informative and I like how it keeps track of what you do. I also like how it has quiz questions after every section.

Katherine Greenhalgh
Katherine Greenhalgh

  • on Sat Mar 18, 2017 7:44 AM

This was a very informative SciPak about the rock cycle and how different types of rocks are formed. It was presented in a manner that did not lose you in the details.

Madison McMahan
Madison McMahan

  • on Wed Mar 08, 2017 8:47 AM

This was a great Scipack. I loved all the visuals that helped explain the concepts. The assessment was better than some of the other Scipacks that I have completed because it was material that was covered multiple times in the course. The material kept me engaged the whole time because it was very interesting. However, I went through the material once and then when I went to take the assessment it said that I had not completed any of the Scipack. I had to go back through and click on each section for it to allow me to take the assessment. Other than that, great Scipack.

Maggie White
Maggie White

  • on Wed Feb 01, 2017 6:11 PM

This SciPack was very informational and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I would highly recommend it. Especially if you need a refresher about Rocks and the Rock Cycle.

Tori Hooten
Tori Hooten

  • on Thu Dec 08, 2016 6:34 PM

I thought this scipak was very beneficial in refreshing my knowledge about rocks and how to present information about rocks to my students! As I was doing this scipak, I was thinking of different experiments and observations that my students could take part in with this content.


  • on Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:07 PM

I think this scipack was very helpful when learning information about rocks. I feel as if it taught many lots of information about rocks that I now feel confident enough to teach the topic to my students. I liked how it broke down the topic but then connecting all aspects of the topic back together at the end.


  • on Sat Oct 01, 2016 8:36 PM

The scipack on rocks was AWESOME. I thought that the scipack presented the information in a way that made it very easy for me to absorb and understand it. I chose to do this scipack because I have a love for rocks and rocks can be used to hit a lot of different standards in many grades. Rocks are talked about a lot in 3rd grade, but you can also use rocks to separate living from nonliving things. I recommend this scipack for any elementary teacher.


  • on Tue Sep 27, 2016 6:35 PM

This Scipack is a great way to learn about or to refresh on rocks before teaching them to the students. The Scipack is very easy to follow. It would be a great course to take to farther your learning.


  • on Tue Jul 19, 2016 8:02 PM

I really enjoy the SciPack format for learning. I can go back and review material if I did not fully understand the concept. This particular SciPack gives the teacher a much better understanding of rocks and the processes used to change them from one type to another. A worth while activity for those who teach Earth Science.

John Philpot
John Philpot

  • on Sat May 30, 2015 11:59 AM

I was impressed with this sci-pack and the use of many analogies I could use in the classroom to help my students understand hard to visualize concepts in Geology! Well Done!

Chris Taylor  (Boise, ID)
Chris Taylor (Boise, ID)

  • on Mon Dec 08, 2014 4:45 PM

If you know nothing about rocks or just need a refresher, this is what you are looking for. It covers teh basics from rock types to how we understnd the age of the earth.

David G  (Anchorage, AK)
David G (Anchorage, AK)

  • on Wed Aug 27, 2014 12:37 PM

The structure of the SciPacks really help me understand the underlying concepts that surround each topic. I had a lot of fear of science before learning about the NSTA Learning Center, and Initially, I was unsure of how well I'd grasp scientific concepts in a self-paced, online format. However, the carefully sequenced topics, interactive activities and simulations, in addition to the voice-over explanations work well together to help deepen my understanding in the content area. Especially valuable are the pedagogical implications and common student misconceptions. I feel a lot more knowledgeable about a subject after using a SciPack, and I highly recommend the Rocks SciPack to anyone needing to learn more about this topic or review key concepts.

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

  • on Sat Dec 22, 2012 2:50 PM

I really liked this SciPack. The information was excellent and entertaining at the same time and the assessment was straightforward, aligned with the text and study questions and had no trick questions.

James Johnson  (Custer City, PA)
James Johnson (Custer City, PA)

  • on Sun Sep 09, 2012 4:00 PM

Rocks was well written! It starts off slow and works its way up to complex geological theories. They use comparisons to to other things that helps make sense of what is being described. The message was simple and easy to grasp. The questions were relevant to what was being taught and reflected what was being learned. The most interesting thing is that I thought rocks had nothing to do with me and started rocks with no real interest. However, as I read through I found that rocks has everything to do with me and the formation of the environment around me. I did not realize it initially, but I have rocks all over my house, even on my desk at school. Overall, a great resource, I would highly recommend rocks especially if you have little to no geological content experiences.

Kellee K  (Ewa Beach, HI)
Kellee K (Ewa Beach, HI)

  • on Thu Jun 28, 2012 12:58 AM

Very good information on rocks. I will definitely use it in my classroom.

Sandra Johnson  (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Sandra Johnson (Cincinnati, Ohio)

  • on Thu Mar 08, 2012 12:32 AM

This was a great SciPack for me. I knew very little about geology and the fundamental concepts that define the field. I was worried before I took this SciPack that I would be expected to learn all sorts of classifications and rock names, but none of that is expected of you. Instead, there is a focus on fundamentals, such as how rocks are formed, how you can tell what environment a rock is formed in, and information as to how to classify rocks. Armed with the information of how geologists make their classifications, I feel that I could possibly learn now the names of a variety of different rocks and have it mean something. There are a few typos to work out in the system. In some of the questions, there was a repeat of a multiple choice option. Also, I think there was a mistake in a questions where you compare the glass cycle to the rock cycle--two of the pictures were identical. Finally, and this is a comment on ALL SciPacks I have done, it would be nice if they had more "radio buttons" on the categorize style questions. It's not the end of the world to uncheck a box if you change your mind, but why make it so that you ever have to? I don't want to end on a negative note, so I'll say that I enjoyed this SciPack far more than I thought I would.

Eric Carlson  (Royal City, WA)
Eric Carlson (Royal City, WA)

  • on Thu Feb 16, 2012 9:33 PM

Awesome SciPack. This experience takes you on a journey of the processes of the rock cycle, and clearly and concisely explains the differences among igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rock. It was very engaging and many of the resources can be used with scholars.

Lorrie Armfield  (Laurel, MD)
Lorrie Armfield (Laurel, MD)

  • on Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:49 PM

This SciPack offers educators an in-depth review/introduction to the rock we call Earth! Clarity, completeness and continuity are the keynotes in formulating the concepts in this PD! Thanks again, NSTA!

Duane Little  (Washington, DC)
Duane Little (Washington, DC)

  • on Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:19 PM

I really enjoyed completing this SciPack. It gave me a lot of background information that I can use to answer student questions that come up during our rock unit. I found the info on the age of rocks and Earth very interesting. I also enjoyed the analogy between the rock cycle and recycling.

Jessica N
Jessica N

  • on Wed Apr 20, 2011 8:33 AM

What a thoroughly enjoyable SciPack experience! The content was perfect for deepening my understanding and is a great precursor to Earth’s Changing Surface SciPack. I was completely fascinated by the Earth Mars Comparisons and plan to share these with my students.

Donna W  (Erie, PA)
Donna W (Erie, PA)

  • on Tue Mar 20, 2018 10:15 PM

This SciPack was packed with interesting information! I really liked learning more in depth about the rocks under my feet. The questions throughout the packet really prepared me for the assessment at the end, however, I gave it a 4 because I felt that at times the packet was too lengthy and tend to repeat itself. Besides that, I really enjoyed this learning experience!

Sarah Rose
Sarah Rose

  • on Sun Aug 11, 2013 2:10 PM

Material is presented in a clear and easy to follow manner. I did come away with ideas on how I can change up my lessons to get students thinking more. The comparisons to Mars were interesting.

Karen  (Pleasanton, CA)
Karen (Pleasanton, CA)

  • on Thu May 10, 2012 11:15 AM

This SciPack was very helpful in demonstrating not only the different types of rocks found on our planet, but their origin and composition. The information in this resource ranged from review (there are 3 main types of rocks) to advanced (the crust is primarily granodiorite, the mantle is primarily peridotite). There are also a number of excellent activities presented in this SciPack that can be used in the classroom to illustrate many concepts.

Erik  (Bountiful, UT)
Erik (Bountiful, UT)

  • on Wed Sep 21, 2011 6:22 AM

This SciPack described the process of rock cycling with a focus on the rock categories, formation and the geologic record that can be extracted from rocks through observation. One Science Object is devoted to each of the following areas: Categories by Process, Environments of Formation, Cycling, and Earth’s Autobiography. I am math certified and trying to get science certified, so I found many things that I had forgotten or never become fluent with. The content that had the biggest impact for me was the material in the Science Objects “Environments of Formation” and “Cycling” which describes the processes by which rocks form, transform and break down. It kind of reminded me of the water cycle. Even though the processes are very different, I could take the water cycle which I do understand and put my new learning on a similar hook in my mind so that I retain more of the new knowledge, and I needed the hook. Not as bad as paint drying. I want to help my students build a frame work for storing new knowledge that connects to things they already are familiar with. Since this content targets rocks and we live on a rock making factory (Big Island of Hawaii), I would like to tap into local resources for examples and for things in their environment with which they are already familiar.

Floyd  (Honolulu, HI)
Floyd (Honolulu, HI)

  • on Thu Jan 13, 2011 3:38 PM

This SciPack has great ideas on how to present concepts in an interesting way to students. It also does a great job teaching about rocks and the rock cycle

LeRoy A
LeRoy A

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