Rock Cycle - Minerals (K)

  • Distinguishing different colors of minerals.
  • Determining a color for specific minerals.
  • black
  • clear
  • color
  • copper
  • gold
  • green
  • mineral
  • white

Students identify the colors of minerals.

Green is malachite and blue is azurite. 


A mineral is defined as an inorganic solid material with specific physical and chemical properties and a stable internal structure. Minerals maybe composed of one or more elements or compounds. Minerals have to be naturally created or else they are classified as man-made substances.

Rocks are combinations of minerals. Minerals are important for several reasons. Some groups of minerals indicate the temperatures and pressures at which they were created, and can be used to interpret the history of the rocks. Minerals are economically important as gems, metals, abrasives, fertilizers, and many other commodities. Historically, minerals have played an important part in the settling of the western United States as well as other nations. Finally, minerals are one of the building blocks of the bones in our bodies.

  1. Review minerals with the students. Explain that minerals have different shapes and colors. Some minerals grow into pretty crystals, while others do not. All mineral crystals have definite shapes.

    Give each student or each student group a set of the following minerals:
    GREEN - ADVENTURINE (a type of quartz)
    - crystal

  2. Review the colors with the children. Ask them to repeat the words several times and find the crayons that are the appropriate color for each of the words. If the children have many crayons, they will notice that there are many different shades of a particular color. In nature, many of the colors they see are not pure colors.
  3. Allow the students time to trace the word with the correct color (with the word "clear" have children outline the word). The students are then to find the minerals that best fit the indicated colors. Students may have trouble determining the exact colors of the minerals. Usually if a student picks a different color than you did, he or she had a good reason. A child's eye sometimes picks up shades adults don't see! You may want them write the name again in the appropriate color.
  4. Ask the students to put the mineral next to the correct color. Monitor their work by moving about the classroom.
  5. After the students examine each of the specimens you can discuss with them if any of the minerals were crystals. Hopefully, they can distinguish quartz and pyrite as crystals. Some of the samples are broken pieces and therefore their crystalline structure may be difficult to see.

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