Sunday, February 17, 2013

Observing Rocks

Observing rocks and what makes rocks. 
Rocks are everywhere. There are few students that do not love to play with rocks, look at rocks and even make things out of rocks. Rocks are everywhere you look, but do we know why we have so many different types of rocks? Do we know where rocks even come from? Does every place on Earth even have rocks? These are some of the questions we seek to answer with our unit on rocks. 
Taking the rock apart by identifying the minerals in granite. 
Our rock unit is a hard unit for third graders to grasp all of the concepts. I find that exposing them to rocks as much as I can helps students see the properties that rocks have. We use the rocks several ways. We look at them for different reasons each time we get the rock specimens out.We use different tools to take this sample of granite apart. We have granite sand from the Upper Peninsula of the great state of Michigan. We have feldspar, mica, quartz and hornblende that make up this rock we call granite. We have magnifying glasses, tweezers and toothpicks to observe and separate the rocks. 

Using tools to separate the minerals into categories. 
Finding the pieces of mica in this sand sample. 

Sorting the rock samples. 
In this activity the students are identifying the minerals that are in the sand. These minerals are also what makes up the granite that was weathered and eroded on the shores of Lake Superior. This is a way for students to see that rocks really are made up of different minerals and that they are weathered and eroded. The students are starting to see that minerals make up rocks, much like eggs, sugar, and flour are needed to make a cookie. Separate they are just eggs, sugar and flour, but together they make a yummy cookie. Just like mica, feldspar, hornblende, and quartz make this beautiful multicolored rock when they are put together.