Learning Experience 3: Rock Identification

TEACHER’S GUIDE

Materials:

For each group of three students:

3 Student Activity Sheets for Learning Experience 3 (Please see PDF)

Set of rock and mineral samples

Rock Samples

1. Shale

2. Granite

3. Pink Sandstone

4. White Marble

5. Pumice

6. Obsidian

7. Limestone

8. Slate

9. Fossil Sandstone

10. Anthracite

Mineral Samples

11. Graphite

12. Galena

13. Magnetite

14. Hematite

15. Talc

16. Gypsum

17. Biotite

18. Calcite

19. Pink Feltspar

20. Quartz

21. Garnet

Eyewitness Rocks & Minerals Book

Golden Guide Rocks & Minerals Book

Double lens magnifier

Jar gram centimeter cubes

Preparation:

Study the Eyewitness Rocks & Minerals Book and the Golden Guide Rocks and Minerals before starting the Learning Experience. Read the background information in the Rocks, Minerals, and Landforms Teacher’s Manual. (Please see PDF)

Basic Skills Development:

Observation

Describing

Discussing

Gathering and Organizing Data

Evaluation Strategy:

Students will describe various rock characteristics.

Vocabulary:

texture

fine-grained

coarse-grained

pattern

sedimentary

igneous

metamorphic

Objective: Students will observe various characteristics used to identify rocks.

What are the properties of various rocks?

Session 1

Have groups of students focus on one sample of each rock and discuss their observations. Specifically, students are to focus on the color and texture of the rocks. First, students can record the color of each rock on the chart on their activity sheet for Learning Experience #3 in their Rocks and Minerals and Landforms Student Activity Book. (Please see PDF) Students can then use their double lens magnifiers to observe the grain of the rock and to list on their activity sheet whether the rocks are fine-grained rocks, coarse-grained rocks, or if there is no visible grain to the rock. Students can also make observations on the rock’s grain shape and a pattern. If there is no visible grain to the rock, then students would not be able to comment on grain pattern or shape.

Discussion Questions:

What things do you see that make each rock different?

What things do you see that make each rock similar?

What rocks are fine-grained or coarse-grained?

Do the rocks have a rounded grain or a jagged appearance to their grain?

Do any of the rocks have patterns to their grain?

Session 2

There are three major types of categories of rocks: igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic. Samples of each rock should be included. In the following table, the percentage of each type of rock is listed. Student groups should model the percentage of each rock type using the gram cubes. Percentage should be rounded to the nearest whole percent for sedimentary, metamorphosis, and igneous.

Students are to create a model to show the make-up of the crust with a square grid paper.

Students are to choose a color for each type of category of rock and color in the number of squares that represent each percentage. The percentages are as follows:

SEDIMENTARY ROCK (Sedimentary rocks often exhibit layering that is easily seen)

Total = 7.9%


METAMORPHIC ROCK

Total = 27.4%


IGNEOUS ROCK

Total = 64.7%


As a second activity, students are to choose a color for each type of rock within each category of rock and color in the number of squares that represent each percentage. The percentages are as follows:


SEDIMENTARY ROCK

Limestone = 2.0%

Sandstone = 1.7%

Shale = 4.2%

Total = 7.9%


METAMORPHIC ROCK

Gneiss = 21.4%

Marble = 00.9%

Schist = 05.1%

Total = 27.4%


IGNEOUS ROCK

Basalt = 42.7%

Granite = 22.0%

Total = 64.7%


For the accompanying Rocks, Minerals, and Landforms Student Activity Book, please refer to the PDF found here. (Please see PDF)

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