Thursday, October 27, 2016

Rocks Change: The Rock Cycle

This week, we had our second lesson of our Geology co-op, entitled, "Rocks Change: The Rock Cycle," about weathering, erosion, deposition, the three rock types, and, of course, the rock cycle.  Before we started the lesson, though, we went over our homework from our last lesson (you can find that material at  After everyone shared their completed homework with one another, we added those assignments to our lapbooks and got into weathering, erosion, and deposition.
We discussed what these three terms meant and looked at different photographs that showed weathering, including this one of Providence Canyon ("Little Grand Canyon") in our very own state.  (We will visit Providence Canyon tomorrow on a field trip with our group, to see this drastic weathering of rock for ourselves.)  It is amazing that this is what just two hundred years of weathering can do to rock.  (Providence Canyon was the result of poor farming practices in the early 1800s.)
After we better understood these three terms, we added them to our lapbooks, using the download from  (Very inexpensively, I downloaded this resource and I can use it all year with our co-op.)
 (I had given them slips of paper with the definitions on them and they had to place the correct definition under its word.)
After we finished with that concept, it was time for a snack!  I bought the "Beach" and "Oreo Dirt" cups JELL-O Creations kits at the grocery store and decided I'd put them together and call them "Sand" and "Soil" cups for our lesson.
Mags chose a "Sand" cup!
While the kids snacked, I read Hello, Rock by Roger Bradfield.
Next, we learned about the three rock types (igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic) and added those to our lapbook, too, using another printable from 
Finally, it was time to learn all about the rock cycle.
After some discussion, we added the printable of the rock cycle from (another inexpensive download that I will use all year) to our lapbooks.
It looks great!
Next, to demonstrate the rock cycle (and for some fun), we set out to complete the Starburst candy rock cycle experiment that is all over the internet.  I liked the simple description that this YouTuber gives ( and I followed his direction when leading the kids through the same.
First, I instructed them to unwrap their four Starburst candies.  (I was sure to give them four different colors so each candy could represent a different rock.)
Next, I instructed them to "weather" their rocks into tiny pieces ("sediments") using some scissors.
After they had "weathered," we "eroded" the "sediments" into one area of the plate, accumulating them in their "site of deposition."
Once accumulated, I challenged them to "compact the sediments and cement them together" to make a "sedimentary rock."
One of our "sedimentary rocks!"
Next, it was time to turn our "sedimentary rock" into a "metamorphic rock."  We placed each in a Ziploc bag and kneaded it in our hands to add heat.  Next, we used our plate to press on the Ziploc bag to add the necessary pressure to change our "rocks."  We did this for a few minutes, removing the "rock" at one point to fold it in half before placing it back into the bag for more heat and pressure upon it.
Finally, we had "metamorphic rocks."  It was time to change them again, this time into "igneous rocks" with extreme heat to melt them.  We made simple bowls out of tin foil and placed our "rocks" inside.
Then, we placed them on a hot plate to let them heat slowly.
It didn't take long before our "rocks" started to melt.
Soon, it was hot, bubbling "magma beneath the Earth's surface."  We turned off our heat source and removed the bowls to allow the "lava" to cool and harden.

Once cool and hard, we peeled away the foil bowls to reveal our new "igneous rocks!"  So neat!  (They loved this activity and it was really simple.)
To be sure we understood everything we had learned today, I had them complete a simple worksheet with a word bank (I can't remember where I got it from), which we then placed in our lapbooks, too.
To finish our review, we all watched the fun rock cycle video at  (I have attached it, below.)
Then, it was time for homework assignments.  First, I challenged them to watch The Magic School Bus's "Rocks and Rolls" episode at, then write about their favorite part from the video in a complete sentence
Second, I assigned them another mineral coloring page from Dover's Rocks and Minerals Coloring Book by T. D. Burns.  (They each get a coloring page with the name of a specific mineral on it and then have to go research that mineral to find out how it should be colored.)
This time, Maggie got Sphalerite.  This is her representation of it.
The third part of our homework will be completed after tomorrow's field trip to Providence Canyon, a simple field trip report.
Finally, we wrapped up our lesson with a couple of parting gifts: a bookmark with the three rock types listed on it (I can't remember where I got these from now) ... 
... and some Pop Rocks!
Happy studying!

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