Rock Cycle - Understanding the Earth's Crust
by J.R. Blueford, Ph.D.









(1 week)

States of Matter

Characteristics of Solids


Mineral Composition


New Compounds from Old

Movement of Molecules

(2 weeks)

Describing Minerals
*(1 week)*

Minerals are Pure
*(1 week)*

Mineral Growth

Molecules, Minerals, & Cleavage

Key Characteristics & Shapes

Properties & Uses of Minerals

Predicting Mineral Properties

(2 weeks)


Characteristics of Rocks

Classifying Rocks
*(1 week)*

Identifying Rocks & Sand

Three Types of Rocks

Environments that create Rocks

Analyzing the Rock Cycle

Past Life
(1 week)

Discovering Dinosaurs
*(2 weeks)*

Dinosaur Fossils
*(2 weeks)*

Making & Observing Fossils
*(2 weeks)*

Preservation of Fossils

Deriving Information from Fossils

Meaning of Fossils

Importance of Fossils

The building blocks of the Rock Cycle are the elements and compounds that are the ingredients of minerals. Minerals make up three different types of rocks including igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic. The Rock Cycle highlights the methods by which the Earth recycles rock material through the mechanisms of Plate Tectonics. The primary rock type, igneous is formed in two ways. Extrusive rocks (volcanic) implies that liquid (molten rock) usually reached the surface of the Earth through volcanic eruptions. Intrusive rocks (plutonic) refers to molten rock that does not reach the surface of the Earth, cools beneath the surface. Agents of erosion such as wind, rain, ice, and gravity will break down rock that will be cemented later. These rocks are called sedimentary. Increase of pressure and temperature mainly within the lithosphere cause metamorphic rocks to form. Past life refers to the fossils that are preserved for us to interpret past environments.

In the Rock Cycle, chemistry comes alive as students are taught the elements by using the periodic table and how elements combine to form minerals. Throughout this cycle, emphasis is placed on the connection between Plate Tectonic Cycle and the Rock Cycle. Learning about fossils revolve around the present is the key to the past and why evolution is important in helping geologists time events on Earth.

Chemistry - Students learn to appreciate the periodic table of elements. They learn about the different characteristics of elements.

Minerals - Minerals are an expression of elements and compounds that students can touch and hold. They learn that minerals have characteristics that identify them.

Rocks - Students learn that rocks are not just names, but clues of an Earthly history. They learn to distinguish where rocks were formed.

Past Life - Fossils are a child's delight. It allows them to use their imagination in understanding the lives that preceded humans.

Water Cycle - The Earth's Gift