view a plan
This section is meant to be a general Exploration of Rocks in general
Title – Rock exploration
By – Scott Dan
Subject – Science
Grade Level – 1st – 2nd
Body of Plan:
Overview Statement: In this lesson, the children will begin their exploration of rocks by first engaging in a rock-collecting hunt, and then by carefully examining their rocks. Each child will record their information about their favorite rocks on a worksheet provided by the teacher.
1. The first precaution will be given when the children are engaging in the rock-collecting hunt. The children will be asked to stay in the school yard, not to go into the street, and must be able to see the teacher at all times. When they hear a whistle, they are to come back to the door where they originally dispersed.
2. The teacher must alert the children that some of the rocks that they find may have very sharp edges. If they find a rock like this, they are to leave it on the ground.
3. A third safety precaution will be given to the children while they are washing off their rocks. They will be asked to wear safety goggles when they are cleaning their rocks. Some of the children will be using toothbrushes to clean their rocks and that might produce a spray that could go into another child’s eye.
3. Wet rags
4. Containers for water
5. Large chart paper
6. Worksheets provided by teacher
7. Zip lock bags or small boxes
9. White constructions paper
10. Several flat metal trays, and an ant farm (if available).
1. Expected Outcomes:
To support inquiry, a four-color coding system has been implemented that follows the Circle of Inquiry model. Within the lesson, those parts that are highlighted in yellow will show evidence of wondering. Those parts highlighted in green will show evidence of collecting data. Pink indicates studying data and orange indicates making connections. If more than one color is applied to any particular part, this indicates that more than one aspect of the Circle of Inquiry has been implemented.
Concept: Rocks vary in size, shape, color, and texture. We can observe these differences by using our eyes, nose, and sense of touch.
Processes: Exploring, observing, recording, representing, comparing, analyzing, predicting, communicating
NSES Content Standards:
1. K-4 Earth and Space Science Standards:
a. Properties of Earth materials concepts: The students will discuss
what a rock and will learn uses for several different kinds of
b. The students will examine the various make up rocks by
observing colors, textures, and shapes of rocks.
c. Some of the students will observe fossils in their rocks. An in
depth study of fossils may come about from the students
questions and concern over this phenomena.
1. Language Arts: The students will use writing, drawing, and other communication skills to express a learned knowledge.
a. Using the worksheet to write out observations of the rocks, drawing of their rocks to show their observations.
b. Writing the children’s responses on the chart paper to several parts of the lesson.
2. Art: Students will express a learned knowledge by using various mediums in art.
a. Creating the torn paper art project to represent one of their rocks.
1. Geometry and Special Sense:
a. Students will draw and represent shapes by using pictures and making other representational models.
1. Visual-Spatial: The students will be able to demonstrate a learned knowledge by creating pictures, models, or other representational objects.
2. Naturalist: The students will gain an increased awareness of their environment by exploring it and studying some of its parts.
3. Verbal-Linguistic: The students will use written words, when possible, to demonstrate a learned knowledge. Both stories and a working vocabulary list are another two ways in which this intelligence is being supported.
4. Bodily-Kinesthetic: Students will be allowed to move around during several parts of this lesson. For some students, this movement is necessary for them to continue learning.
5. Interpersonal: The students will work in both small and whole group discussions.
A. Prerequisite Knowledge: The children are expected to know what a rock is.
B. Introduction/Motivation: The students will have just finished a unit on ants. The teacher will bring out the ant farm that they used during this unit and will ask the following question, “If you were an ant, what would you see on the ground?” The students will give several responses, the teacher will be listening to all of these but will zone in on an answer pertaining to rocks.
C. Activity: The students will then be asked to think of what a rock would look like from an ant’s perspective, or what rocks would look like if they were as small as an ant. The teacher will write these descriptive phrases on the board or chart paper as they are said. The students will then be asked to take a rock back to their desk. The teacher will also give each student a piece of white construction paper. The students will be asked to draw what that rock would look like if they were an ant. Each of these papers will be shared later in the day.
D. Anticipated Questions: At this point, the children may have few questions. It is expected that the majority of the questions will be related to their drawing and perspectives.
A. Exploration Phase: The exploration phase of this lesson is three-fold. First, the students will engage in a rock-hunt. Here, the students will be able to explore the land, looking for 10 specimens for them to bring back inside the classroom. The second part of the exploration phase takes place when the children are cleaning off their rocks. Here the students will be asked to observe how their rocks have changed, if at all, once they are cleaned. The final part of the exploration phase is when the students will be using magnifying glasses to observe their rocks in detail. Each rock will get a worksheet. Each worksheet has three parts. The first part is for the students to draw their rock without using the magnifying glass. The second part is for the students to draw what they see when they do look through the magnifying glass. The final part is for the students to write down any descriptive words about their rock or colors that they see in their rock. For example: rough, pointy, red, blue, gold, etc.
B. Teacher’s Role: When the children come back into the room from their rock hunt, the will all gather for a whole group discussion. The teacher will ask what their rocks look like, feel like, and smell like. Next, the teacher will ask what the students expect to see after they wash off their rocks and look through a magnifying glass. The teacher will write these down on the board or chart paper under the heading, “What I expect to see.” The teacher will then give the students directions and safety precautions for washing off their rocks. (it is most likely that the observation part of the lesson will be on a second day.)
C. Expected Comments or Actions by Students: It is expected that the students will be very excited about this lesson. During the initial discussion of what the students believe they will see when they are observing their rocks, it is expected that the students will comment of things such as the color, possible rare minerals (gold, diamonds), the shape, or even comment on all the mud that will come off their rock when it is being washed. While the students are working on observing their rocks in detail and recording their information on their worksheets, it is expected that several students will ask about how to spell certain descriptive words. It is expected that the students will be able to do this fairly easily. They may ask how to draw certain items that they see on their rock. The teacher’s expectation of what they are to draw is fairly simple. They will be told to just do as best as they can, they are not being graded on their drawings. Just draw exactly what you see, and use the right colored crayon to show what you are looking at.
D. Expected Learning: It is expected that many students will see things in rocks that they never have seen before. This will open the floor for many new investigative questions and paths for the class to take. Many students will learn that recording their observations is not necessarily difficult and they are capable of doing the task. Students are forming a working knowledge of how people collect and record information.
E. Teacher Interaction: While the children are working on their worksheets, the teacher will be walking from table to table asking the children what they see, and to make sure that all the children are progressing in the lesson. Many children may simply be content to just look at the rocks and to never write anything down, that is why the teacher must walk around.
F. Work Sheets: The children will receive one worksheet for each of their 3 favorite rocks. Each worksheet has three parts. The first part is for the students to draw their rock without using the magnifying glass. The second part is for the students to draw what they see when they do look through the magnifying glass. The final part is for the students to write down any descriptive words about their rock or colors that they see in their rock. For example: rough, pointy, red, blue, gold, etc.
A. Sharing: After the students have finished observing and recording their information on their favorite three rocks (most likely the next day), then the students will be asked to share their information. This will first be done in small groups, where the students are grouped together from different tables around the room and will share their results with 4 others. After they have finished sharing in small groups, where each person shared about all three of their rocks, then they will share about one of their rocks in a whole group setting.
B. Open-Ended Questions:
a. Tell us about anything you saw that you didn’t think that you were going to see.
b. Tell us about anything that you didn’t see that you thought you were going to see.
c. What was your favorite rock and what made it your favorite rock?
d. What made one rock better than another?
e. Why do you think this rock had . and the other didn’t?
f. Were any of your rocks really different from the rest? How?
C. New Scientific Language to be Introduced:
1. Each of the following words will be written on a large piece of chart paper. The teacher will ask the students to describe what these words mean. Next to each word, the teacher will write down the students comments (or guesses). In between each word, the teacher is to leave a lot of space for additional comments. Since the teacher is not going to tell the students whether they are right or wrong, he will handle it like this. Have these words available for the children to see at all times. Ask the children to keep these words on the top of their minds, for they must be active listeners and observers to help find out if they have the right definitions for them. During the rest of their study of rocks, the teacher will read books that have the word in context, or give the definition to them. The teacher will also use the words in context (without giving an exact definition). As the children hear something that might give a better definition to one of their words, then they must call it to the class’s attention. The teacher and students will stop what they are doing, and review what was just said. If the class agrees that what was said helps us understand the word better, then they will either add that part or change it completely to the vocabulary list they started earlier.
a. Rock Query: A place that has a lot of rocks.
a. Minerals: Smaller parts within rocks that make up the rock.
b. Rock: a piece of the earth
c. Soft: Easily broken or changed
d. Hard: Not easily broken or changed
A. Applying the Knowledge: Have the children create a rock using “torn paper.” The children simply tear construction paper into the shapes that they want and glue them down on top of each other to illustrate what an ant would see if it were looking at a rock. The teacher could ask the children to use one of their rocks as a model for them follow and recreate.
B. Questions to Investigate: Create an “I wonder.” chart about rocks. This should be done on a large piece of chart paper and will be hung up for the children to see. This chart will then be used to assist the teacher in setting up the following lessons.
C. Follow-up learning: Lessons that follow will be chosen because of the following three reasons: First, the student’s express an interest in learning about the subject matter. Secondly, the lesson is needed to fully enrich the children’s knowledge of the previous lesson. Finally, the lesson follows a natural progression towards a greater understanding of the concept at hand.
A. Lesson Conclusion Phase: The students will be turning in their worksheets for their three favorite rocks along with their torn paper art project. The students will not be asked to investigate anything specific before the next lesson, however, they will be asked to keep an eye out for any really neat rocks that they would like to share with the class.
B. Assessment: The teacher will be looking for two things. Did the students do the assignment? Did the students put effort into the assignment? The second question will be based on the student’s ability and past performance. If a student normally adds a lot of details on their assignments, but only put down two items on each of their worksheet, then the teacher will need to speak to the child. The children are only getting credit if they did it, or no credit if they did not do it. This is not an assignment were the children are being graded on their observation or artistic skills.
A. Adjust Plan for 1 Special Needs Student:
Scenario: Child is unable to write words, but is capable of drawing pictures. The child is still gaining control of their fine motor skills. The child is capable of expressing himself verbally to others. The child is mobile on his own.
Plan: During the second day, allow the student to work with another classmate. After the child has finished his two drawings, then allow him to verbally express what he sees to another student. That student will then write down what the child is saying onto his rock worksheet.
ii. Internet URLs
The following URLs were not used in the construction of the
lesson plan, however, they may serve as a tool for students to
continue their observations of various rocks.
The following software products were not used in the construction
of the lesson plan, however, they may serve as a tool for students
to continue their observations of various rocks.
1. Science Court Exploration: Fossils. Tom Snyder Productions. 1998.
2. Earth Quest – DK Multimedia 1997
3. A Field Trip to the Earth – Sunburst 1999
C. Alternate Activities:
i. Have children ponder why different rocks have different colors. Explore this concept by breaking up rocks into smaller pieces and growing rocks in the classroom.
ii. Have the children create an ant’s eye view of the world diorama with a shoebox.
iii. Have the children create a class diorama on the floor with some ant figurines and other materials they have found outside. This may be done by laying plastic on the floor or using a plastic swimming pool. Bring in sand to put on the floor covering and invite children to develop the rest.
iv. Bring in an ant farm into the class (if one has not already been
D. Multicultural, Diversity, & Equity Issues:
During a couple parts of this lesson, students may be called upon to search for rocks around their home. Thoughtful consideration should be taken by the teacher for those students who may not live in a place where a lot of rocks would be found, or if their home life does not leave time or support school work. This is why the teacher will always have rocks available in the classroom for the students to use for their assignments. No student will be punished for something that is obviously out of his or her control. The teacher will, as always, make certain that he is supporting both racial and gender equity in the room. Diversity of thought and student is always welcome in the classroom, as it can only add to the learning experience.
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