Saturday, March 11, 2017

Igneous Investigation

To follow our study of igneous rocks in our previous Geology lesson with our co-op (see the post at, today, we completed a lab (which I called "Igneous Investigation"), then headed out for a field trip.  To start the lesson, we reviewed our homework and then discussed the stations of our lab.  Then each child got two lab sheets which I created beforehand (below).
Station #1 of our lab I called "Color counts!"  At this station, each child was challenged to write in the color of their mystery rocks (each child got two to identify) and draw an accurate picture of it using colored pencils.
Here is Mags at that station.
Station #2 I called "Crystal Cop!"  Here, you had to use the magnifying glass to spot the crystals in your mystery rocks, determining if they were large and formed slowly (intrusive) or very small and formed quickly (extrusive).
My little crystal cop!
Here is one of our co-op friends, inspecting his sample of diorite.
Station #3 ("Hole Hound!") was intended for you to inspect your samples for holes.  Also, this was the station where you would test whether or not you had a rock that floats.
Here's Maggie, putting her sample to the test.
Once the children had gone through all of the stations, they sat back down to look over their sheets to compare the characteristics of their rock samples to the characteristics of these common igneous rocks, posted on the window for easy viewing.  From there, they went on to guess which samples they had.
Mags had vesicular basalt ...
 ... and pink granite as her samples.  (I also gave out samples of pumice, white granite, diorite, and obsidian.)
For a snack, we had "Pumice Pieces" (Rice Krispies treats shaped like rocks).
After our lab, it was time for some fresh air!  We headed to one of our local parks, Flat Rock Park, famous for its huge monadnocks.  Monadnocks are large, erosion-resistant rocks that lie above level land.  These monadnocks are granitic geniss.  Everyone loves climbing on them so the kids were really excited when I told them this was where their field trip was.
On the field trip, I asked them to look for three things.  (This is a poor scan of the list I gave them.)  I asked them to first spot the igneous intrusions in the metamorphic monadnocks (streaks of granite in the gneiss).
Here's Mags, on the search on top of the monadnocks!
You can see the igneous intrusions everywhere!
Next, I challenged them to find this plant, diamorpha, found in the little pools around the monadnocks.  This plant is on the endangered species list and yet it blooms every March at this park.  I thought it was a very special find so it got added to today's list.
Diamorpha spotted!  Great work, Mags!
There are so many interesting geological finds at Flat Rock!
More diamorpha!
The third thing that I asked the children to find on their field trip was an igneous rock.  Though it's hard to see the pink in this picture, Maggie grabbed up two pieces of pink granite.  Did you know that this is the stuff that the inner walls of the great pyramids were made of?  Geology is so neat!
After we explored, we had a picnic and played.  The children took their homework home to return at our next Geology co-op.  The first assignment was to complete a field trip report ...
 ... and the second was to complete this little page I put together about the Blarney Stone (since St. Patrick's Day is next week).  It simply challenges them to do some research to find out what kind of rock the Blarney Stone is (limestone) and what type (sedimentary).  This was a great way to introduce our next study on sedimentary rocks.
Check back for more geology lesson plans coming soon!

No comments:

Post a Comment