Rock Cycle - Minerals (2A)
Post Lab 

  • Discovering rocks or minerals near school.
  • Exploring a variety of rocks.
  • asphalt
  • gravel
  • mineral
  • rock
  • stone
  • rock specimens from school or home

Students look at rocks that are near their homes or school.


We have found that when you do units on rocks and minerals, students will naturally bring specimens to class that they have found at home or in their neighborhoods. This assignment extends this opportunity.

Most of the samples that children find are landscape or building rocks. These materials may have a variety of names that may reflect historical usage, geography, or commercial appeal more than their scientific classification. It is important that students observe the world around them. In addition, the samples may be from local bedrock, or "imported" from other areas. For background, you may wish to consult a geologic map of your local area. A local landscaping store may be able to tell you some of the common rocks in your area. If you have trouble identifying some of the specimens, you may wish to contact the geology department of a local college.

  1. Ask students to collect some rock specimens from their home or near school. Remind the students not to take large or valuable samples. You may want parents to help the students search for rocks. Have the students record where they found the samples, i.e., on the street, in the garden, or from the ground.
  2. Have the students bring their samples to class. On the board make a list of samples where they were found. Classify the rocks as accurately as you can, but do not be afraid to call an unidentifiable rock "a rock." You can use the locations of the samples as clues to their origins. Again, what is important at this point is getting the students to observe the world around them. Specific names are merely aids to communication.
  3. You can conduct this session as a "show and tell." The students will likely bring in a wide range of specimens. Some will pick up asphalt, cement, or gravel. Remember that a rock must be naturally made. Asphalt and other hardened substances are not considered rocks but are "man-made" rocks. Make sure your students understand the difference. Some students may bring real specimens that their parents have at home; these provide a good opportunity to teach students the correct names of minerals.
  4. If your school has a rock landscape, go outside and have the students observe the rocks around the building. Remember that "concrete" is actually a man-made rock, so many schools are just one big man-made rock! 

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