Wednesday, May 24, 2017

"Sedimentary Study" Lab

After every Geology lesson with our co-op, we have a lab, to help us identify rocks or minerals in the category we just studied.  Most recently, we learned about sedimentary rocks.  (I posted on that lesson at  So, today's lab was our "Sedimentary Study" Lab.  Each sample was a mystery to the child who received it and through the "Sedimentary Study" stations, the goal was to identify the sample correctly.  To do that, I created this lab sheet, with questions that would help the children properly identify their rocks.
The samples in the mix (in no particular order) included crinoidal limestone ...
 ... quartz sandstone ...
 ... and conglomerate.
Each sample was bagged and numbered and each child got to roll a dice to determine which mystery rock he/she would be identifying.  Maggie rolled mystery rock #1!

In this lab, we had three stations for each child to hit.  The first station was "Color Counts!"
At this station, the children drew a picture of their rocks on their lab sheets.
 Here is Mags, working away at station #1!
Station #2 required the children to study the sediments in their sedimentary rocks,
At this station, they had to answer whether or not their samples had fossils, large pebbles, rounded sediments or jagged ones, and crystals.
 Maggie noticed crystals of quartz in her sedimentary rock!  Interesting find.
The last station in this lab was "Grain Gain!"  Here, the children had to describe the size of the grains in their rocks.  Were they coarse, like sand?  Finer than sand, like silt?  Or maybe very soft, like clay?
Maggie determined the grains in her rock were coarse, like sand.
After going through each of the stations, the children returned to the main table and completed their lab sheets.  After answering all of the questions, they were asked to make an educated guess of which mystery rock they thought they had.  Maggie thought she had quartz sandstone.  (Here is her lab sheet.)
She was right!  Great job, Mags!
Only one more rock type to go (metamorphic rocks) and this year's co-op will be complete!  That means two more posts, our metamorphic lesson and our lab.  Stay tuned!

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