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Observing and Describing Rocks

Observing and Describing Rocks

TEKS Objective

The student is expected to observe and describe rocks by size, texture, and color.

Essential Understanding

The student knows that the natural world includes earth materials.

Science Background

Rocks and Minerals: US Geological Survey (website) - Introductory information about rocks and minerals, with a glossary of commonly used geological terms.

Rocks and Minerals
US Geological Survey,

Rocks: (website) - Texture, in geology, is used to describe how the rock looks. The most noticeable textural feature of many rocks is grain size, which refers to the size of the individual mineral crystals. The minerals that are present also determine color.

by Calvin & Rosanna Hamilton,

Resources for Teachers and Students of Geoscience in Texas: Bureau of Economic Geology (website) - Numerous resources related to geology and Earth science, including links to publications, a virtual rock kit, Earthview Texas, and more.

Resources for Teachers and Students of Geoscience in Texas
Bureau of Economic Geology,

Signature Lesson

All Sorts of Rocks: Utah Education Network (website) - Students learn about the concepts of mineral color, hardness, texture, layering and particle size while observing, describing and sorting rocks.

All Sorts of Rocks
Utah Education Network,

Supporting Lessons

Rock Hunters: Science NetLinks (website) - Students observe rocks of various types, colors and sizes, and record their observations through drawings. Includes interactive information on common rocks.

Rock Hunters
Science NetLinks,

Rock Critters: The Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration, Inc. (PDF) - Students observe and compare different rocks while designing and building their own “pet rocks.”

Rock Critters
The Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration, Inc. and Kentucky Coal Education,

Elaboration Lessons and Extensions

Mystery Rocks: Utah Education Network (website) - This lesson will get students thinking about the many uses of rocks in their everyday world as they observe and describe five different kinds of rock.

Mystery Rocks
Utah Education Network,

Assessment Ideas

Rock Hunters: Science NetLinks (website) - See assessment portion of this activity.

Rock Hunters
Science NetLinks,

Literature Connections

The Big Rock. Hiscock, Bruce (ISBN: 0-689-82958-2)

If You Find A Rock. Christian, Peggy (ISBN: 0-152-39339-0)

It Could Still Be A Rock. Fowler, Allan (ISBN: 0-516-06010-4)

Let's Go Rock Collecting. Gans, Roma (ISBN: 0-064-45170-4)

Let's Look at Rocks. Cipriano, Jeri (ISBN: 0-7368-2938-5)

Rock. Firestone, Mary (ISBN: 0-736-82651-3)

Rocks and Minerals. Squire, Ann and Jenner, Jan (ISBN: 0-516-22505-7)

Rocks: Hard, Soft, Smooth, and Rough. Rosinsky, Natalie (ISBN: 1-404-80015-8)

Everybody Needs a Rock. Baylor, Byrd (ISBN: 0-689-71051-8)

Rocks in His Head. Hurst, Carol, Otis (ISBN: 0-060-29403-5)

Related Science TEKS

(2.7B) Natural Sources of Water
The student is expected to identify and compare the properties of natural sources of freshwater and saltwater.

(2.7C) Natural and Manmade Resources
The student is expected to distinguish between natural and manmade resources.

Related Math TEKS

2.12D  The student is expected to use tools such as real objects, manipulatives, and technology to solve problems.

Additional Resources

Rocks: Oregon State (website) - Information about different types of rocks and how they form.

Oregon State University,

Collecting Rocks: US Geological Survey (website) - Learn about different varieties of rock and how to identify and collect them.

Collecting Rocks
by Rachel M. Barker, US Geological Survey,

Rock and Mineral Activities for Kids: How Stuff Works (website) - This site offers a variety of creative projects involving rock and minerals, including gold panning and sandstone carving.

Rock and Mineral Activities for Kids
How Stuff Works,

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