Grade 2: Rocks

Lessons at a Glance


Lesson 1: What Is a Rock?

Big Idea: What makes a rock a rock?

Children are introduced to the topics of rocks and geology as they sort a collection of rocks and non-rock objects, some of which may be difficult to classify. They discuss what makes a rock a rock and begin a class list of things they know and want to learn about rocks.

 

Lesson 2: Properties of Rocks

Big Idea: You can learn a lot about an object (a rock or a mineral) by carefully observing and describing its properties.

Children generate a list of rock properties and then describe and record the properties of a single rock. They sort rocks according to different properties, noting similarities and differences among the collection. They use field guides to identify rocks and find out more about their properties.

 

Lesson 3: Where Do Rocks Come From?

Big Idea: The earth forms and changes rocks. Some of a rock's properties are a result of how it was formed.

Children are introduced to the three main groups of rocks -- igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic -- and learn about the processes that formed them. They visit three stations, one devoted to each group, and look for rocks that display typical characteristics of that type of rock.

 

Lesson 4: Rocks Are Made of Minerals

Big Idea: Rocks are made of minerals. Some of a rock's properties are a result of the properties of the minerals it is made of.

Children learn that all rocks are made of minerals. They examine a piece of granite and identify the minerals commonly found in it. They consider how a rock's minerals affect its properties.

 

Lesson 5: Properties of Minerals

Big Idea: You can learn a lot about an object (a rock or a mineral) by carefully observing and describing its properties. Rocks are made of minerals. Some of a rock's properties are a result of the properties of the minerals it is made of.

Children separate rocks from minerals and begin to explore mineral properties. Each child describes and records some of the properties of a single mineral.

 

Lesson 6: More Properties of Minerals

Big Idea: You can learn a lot about an object (a rock or a mineral) by carefully observing and describing its properties. Rocks are made of minerals. Some of a rock's properties are a result of the properties of the minerals it is made of.

Children continue exploring the properties of their minerals by trying some tests to determine mineral hardness and streak.

 

Lesson 7: Minerals as Resources

Big Idea: Minerals provide many of the resources we use.

Children play a game to set the stage for realizing that many objects are made from minerals or mineral products. They conduct a mineral scavenger hunt that reinforces the idea that minerals are important resources.

 

Lesson 8: Introduction to Fossils

Big Idea: Fossils are rocks that contain evidence of ancient life.

Children examine several fossils and compare them to similar present-day objects. They learn that nearly all fossils are rocks that preserve the shapes and textures of former plants and animals, but generally don't contain any original organic material.

 

Lesson 9: Mold and Cast Fossils

Big Idea: Fossils are rocks that contain evidence of ancient life. Different types of fossils form in different ways.

Children examine and compare mold and cast fossils. They make models of fossils using small objects, "rock dough," and "rock goo" to learn about how each type of fossil forms in nature.

 

Lesson 10: Petrified Fossils

Big Idea: Fossils are rocks that contain evidence of ancient life. Different types of fossils form in different ways.

Children discuss how petrified fossils form. They use a mineral-rich solution and sponges to make models of petrified "bones." They excavate their model fossils and compare them with control "bones" treated with plain water.

 

Lesson 11: A Rock of My Own

Big Idea: You can learn a lot about an object (a rock or a mineral) by carefully observing and describing its properties.

Children culminate their study of rocks and minerals by choosing a rock and creating a book to describe the characteristics that make their rock special.

 

Skill Building Activity 1: Using Magnifiers

Big Idea: A magnifying lens makes things look larger than they really are. You can use a magnifying lens to examine objects closely and to see details that you might not see without it.

Children learn how to use a magnifying lens, like the ones supplied in the Science Companion kit. There is also an extension in which children learn how to use a jeweler's loupe.

 

Skill Building Activity 2: Observing and Describing

Big Idea: Observation is a powerful tool for learning about something, and detailed and accurate descriptions help you communicate your observations.

Children practice making accurate and detailed descriptions before and after observing an object.

 

Skill Building Activity 3: Using Field Guides

Big Idea: You can use a field guide to learn about and identify things in the natural world.

Children learn how to use a field guide to identify and learn about a specimen. This lesson can be done with any type of field guide or specimen.