Tried and True: Chipping away at the rock cycle by: Debi Molina-Walters and Jill Cox

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The National Science Education Standards recommend that middle school students have a clear understanding of the history, composition, and formative processes that shape the Earth. To accomplish this goal, the authors use an engaging activity that uses candy chips to explore the rock cycle and model the different types of rocks. This is a culminating activity to reinforce the main concepts of rocks and the rock cycle that have been previously introduced. This activity, which is described here, was inspired by a lesson found on the Utah State Office of Education website entitled “A Chip off the Old Rock.”

  • Elementary
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Reviews (5)
  • on Thu Sep 08, 2016 8:32 PM

The article reiterated the rock cycle and it’s different parts. It also gave a lesson plan idea involving candy chips to make it more applicable to their students lives. I think this way makes it more real for the students and would be worth looking into and using in my own classroom.

Brooke Stehle
Brooke Stehle

  • on Tue Sep 06, 2016 11:30 PM

I appreciate how the author of this article walks the reader through each aspect of teaching this lesson. This journals presents teachers with a innovated way to kinesthetically teach a class of first grades how weathering changes rock formations. The students will use candy chips to show how different rocks for in the rock cycle. The article provides teachers with the background knowledge students need to have before doing this lab, it provides classroom management tips, it provides a list of materials and procedures to follow, and it also provides a list of follow up questions. A few flaws I noticed with this journal is that it did not provide any information on the different types of weathering. It also listed a lot of information about classroom management and making sure the students do not eat the candy, but if the experiment used crayons or something non-edible the teacher would not have to focus so much attention the rules. The concept behind this journal is great and I love the interactive part, especially with it being designed for a first grade class.

Allison VanDeventer
Allison VanDeventer

  • on Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:02 AM

This article describes what the authors call a culminating activity using candy cooking chips to simulate the processes of the rock cycle. Students have to relate each part of this activity to a process of the rock cycle. No eating is permitted and safety considerations are stressed. This is a good activity that further reinforces rock cycle processes.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Wed Oct 02, 2013 10:23 AM

This article gives an excellent background summary of what students should know about the rock cycle. Then it goes on to explain an activity to use with students to simulate the rock cycle. But the article never explains which type of rock each step of the activity is supposed to represent. It is very confusing at this point.

Betty Paulsell  (Kansas City, MO)
Betty Paulsell (Kansas City, MO)

  • on Sun Oct 24, 2010 9:37 PM

I appreciate the extension ideas, activity sheet, and assessment/journal writing tips in "Chipping Away at the Rock Cycle". I would use this activity as a home-school project, art extension, or learning center. Crayon shavings would be a huge savings over the use of baking chips. I would also tie in science journal writing focusing on rock cycle process compared to the process of shaving, melting, etc. of the chips. A rubric would also be a nice addition.

Alyce D  (Peyton, CO)
Alyce D (Peyton, CO)

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