Wk. 6: Making and Breaking Rocks

Week #6: Making and Breaking Rocks


  • Compare rock samples
  • Describe rock samples by basic properties (color, luster, hardness)
  • Use models to describe ways that rocks are formed, break down, and formed again
  • Identify common uses for rocks


  • Learners shook rocks, pebbles, and sand in a jar and observed the layering.
  • Learners discussed ways that people, animals, plants, and weather could interact with rocks.
  • Learners examined rock samples and examples of their uses.
  • Learners tested the hardness of select rock samples.
  • Learners used chalk samples to compare different methods that could break down rocks (called weathering), including:
    • Rubbing with a cotton tip
    • Chipping with a toothpick and a nail
    • Soaking in water
    • Soaking in an acid (vinegar)
    • Combining soaking and chipping
  • Learners performed an interpretive dance of the relationships between the formation of igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks.
  • Learners assembled booklets and a spinning wheel about rock classification and formation.

Questions to Discuss

  • What are three ways you can describe a rock sample?
  • What is one way that igneous rocks are formed?
  • What is one way that sedimentary rocks are formed?
  • What are three ways that plants, animals, and weather can break rocks down?
  • Which rocks do you think might be the softest or easiest to break of sedimentary, metamorphic, or igneous? Why?

Things to Try at Home

  • Write a poem or draw a story to describe how rocks can go from being igneous to sedimentary to metamorphic and back to igneous again.
  • Look at the kinds of rocks that you find around your yard or garden. Were they moved there by people or weather or have they always been there? With the help of an adult, take pictures of these rocks. Try comparing these to rocks that you find when you are out in a natural space like hiking through the woods or near a river. How do you think those rocks got there?
  • Make a list or make a picture album of rocks that you can find being used in and around your home? Interview adults about what rocks they might use. Can you find five or more examples of different ways are used?

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