Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Metamorphic Rocks

Today, we studied metamorphic rocks with our Geology co-op, our third and final rock type.  This will be followed by our last lab (to cover metamorphic rocks) in a few weeks.
All year, we have been working on a lapbook for Geology, which we have added to with each new lesson.  (We will finish our lapbooks and fill in any gaps of space at our last lesson.  Stay tuned.)
 We have been learning so much!  (Check my "Geology" tab for links to the posts on each lesson and to find the resources I used for all these great printables (
(All of our homework and lab sheets are behind these colored sheets.)
Today's study helped us fill up our last section.
For each lesson, I like to give the children some fun additions for their lapbooks to go with their work.  For today's, I printed this image off of a Google search for metamorphic rocks, which they added.
I also found this adorable gneiss sticker (below) for their lapbooks at Redbubble (  (They loved this one!)
After we talked about the general definition for metamorphic rocks, we put this printable in our lapbooks (purchased from which opens to reveal the answers to the tabs.
When we discussed the formation of metamorphic rocks, and how tectonic plates work to push into mountains, we used the blankets idea we found at  However, in our demonstration, we used small towels.  On the top layer (the paper towel), I wrote "Tectonic Plate A" and "Tectonic Plate B," with a clear line separating the two, to help them better understand.
Pushed together, we formed a "mountain!"
To demonstrate this concept further, I used the tectonic plates activity using graham crackers, found at  (In the picture below, the graham cracker was broken into two so each piece could represent a separate tectonic plate.
We added a little water to the plate, which made the crackers soggy, and then pushed the two together.
Immediately, we had folding!  This is how mountains are made!  And metamorphic rocks are formed from the heat and pressure that occurs during this process!
(The children loved creating their own!)
Today, we focused on four metamorphic rocks: slate, marble, gneiss, and schist.
The first we discussed was gneiss.  It makes up most of the earth's lower crust.

Next, we moved onto marble.  It can be many colors.
For today's snack, I made "Marble Munch," or "Metamorphic Munch," just white and regular chocolate chips, melted and poured together to create the marbling effect you see below.
 Once it cooled, I broke it into pieces.  Yum!
After our snack, we talked about some of the different marbles.  First, we discussed white marble.  It has been used for centuries to create works of fine art, like the statue of Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial.  It was made of white marble found in our state, the state of Georgia!
Here is my sample of white marble that we passed around.
 Next, we discussed red marble.  It gets its reddish colors from mineral impurities (like iron oxides).
 The next marble we passed around was serpentine marble, so named for its greenish markings and its scaly appearance.  (There are many samples that are much better (greener) than mine.)
The final marble we discussed was dolomite marble.  It is used often as building material.
The next metamorphic rock we learned about was slate.  Slate is metamorphosed shale and mudstone, both sedimentary rocks with very fine sediments.  This is why slate is so smooth.  You have more than likely seen it used for walkways.
 I passed around this sample of green slate.  Any ideas what this was once used for?
Green slate was used for chalkboards!
Our last metamorphic rock to discuss was schist.  It is flaky and has a shiny luster because of the presence of mica in it.

 My schist sample is biotite schist.
After we finished passing around our samples, we put together our metamorphic rocks pocket (also from  In it, we put the printed paddles for the samples we discussed, as well as stickers for some of these rocks that we got out of ...
...our Learning About Rocks sticker book from Dover (purchased online).  (These kids get such a thrill out of filling up those pockets!)

It's the end of the school year and their batteries need recharging, so for homework, I only assigned one thing.  I asked the students to take home their lapbooks, look through them carefully, then answer the two questions on the sheet I made, below.  I can't wait to hear their answers!  (I will update this post with Maggie's sheet once she completes her homework assignment.)
That wrapped up our metamorphic rocks lesson.  As I said, the next time we meet, we will have our metamorphic rocks lab (with mystery metamorphic rocks that each child will have to identify), and we will complete our lapbooks with some fun, final additions I purchased from Red Bubble.  To end our co-op, we are having a pool party to celebrate!  Check back soon for our final Geology post!

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