Students begin by exploring three rock samples and identifying different properties. Then student teams sort 12 rock samples on the basis of the properties the class identified. Reading selections introduce students to the properties and origins of the three basic rock groups: igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic.
Students then observe mineral specimens and carefully reexamine the rocks, seeing firsthand that minerals are the "building blocks" of rocks. Then student pairs get 12 mineral specimens and conduct a series of tests to identify or quantify several properties:
- Streak color
- Crystal shape
As students progress through the hands-on activities, they systematically record their observations and results. By integrating their research data with information acquired from reading selections and class discussions, students identify the 12 minerals by name.
Students then create their own field guides by combining profile sheets and field guide cards they have completed throughout the unit. Finally, you challenge them to use their knowledge to identify three "mystery minerals." In addition, students research uses of rocks and minerals and report their findings.
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