A few days ago I shared the Rocks and Minerals Packet I made for ED (which is also free). I wanted to spend more time on the three types of rocks–igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks. The kids were SO excited when they realized this activity was going to include semi-sweet chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, heath crunch bits and flaked coconut. (No we didn’t eat it all, but we did taste test a bit along the way!) I used that as leverage to make sure the rest of their work was done for the day!
I made some worksheets for their science notebooks. Before beginning our activities, we went over the differences between the three types of rocks (the first page) and sang our song again (below). We saved the examples (the pages with the pictures of various examples of rocks) for another day. The packet includes some sample example answers for each page (such as the metamorphic rock page in the collage below). This packet also includes the activities I shared below.
Our types of rock ‘experiments’
We had different types of chips: white chocolate chips, semi-sweet chocolate chips, peanut butter chips plus shaved coconut and heath crunch bits.
Igneous Rocks: We melted some white chocolate (and red dye) on the stove. We talked about how magma/lava is melted rock. Then we took spoonfuls of the melted chocolate and let it cool on a baking sheet. These were our ‘igneous’ rocks.
Sedimentary Rocks: Before we began, we hammered the chips in a ziploc bag to make them smaller. We put spoonfuls of the different types of chips into a jar. Those were the sediments. We applied pressure to squeeze the rock/chocolate layers together to create sedimentary rocks:
Metamorphic Rocks: We put layers of chocolate chips and mini-marshmallows into a pan that could be baked in the oven. We put the pan in the oven and let it heat up for 10 or 15 minutes. We took it out, let it cool for a few minutes and then applied pressure to the top of half the mixture. This transformed the “rocks/chips” into a new concoction whereas on the other side we could see distinct layers and distinct rock forms (like sedimentary rocks).
After it cooled we cut the “rock” up and looked at the layer, noticing how on the metamorphic side the “rocks” had blended into one another.
You can do these same kinds of activities with shaved crayons. I saw that over at The Adventures of Bear they did the rock cycle with crayons and had some really great results! Be sure to check it out!
Rock Cycle Song
I’m sorry to say I can’t find the exact link to this song, so if you know who I should give credit to let me know. The kids and I have been singing this all week (to the tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”):
Has been formed in layers
Often found near water sources
With fossils from decayers
Then there’s igneous rock
Here since Earth was born
Molten Lava, cooled and hardened
That’s how it is formed
These two types of rocks
Can also be transformed
With pressure, heat and chemicals
Metamorphic they’ll become
For this unit, we used two books in particular for our hands-on activities:
We really loved Explore Rocks and Minerals!: 25 Great Projects, Activities, Experiements (affiliate link)
Geology Rocks!: 50 Hands-On Activities to Explore the Earth (affiliate link) was really great for the age of my kids. It had a lot of really fun ideas. We got it first from the library, but then I wound up purchasing it to have on hand!
We got a number of other books as guidebooks, but the one I highly recommend is Smithsonian Handbooks: Rocks & Minerals (affiliate link) because of all the beautiful photos.
And one last recommendation if you have younger kids (preschool age), my kids really liked Let’s Go Rock Collecting (Let’S-Read-And-Find-Out Science. Stage 2) (affiliate link)
We also got a rock kit with different samples of sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous rocks. We got the small version (with 15 rocks): American Educational Introductory Rock Collection (affiliate link).
The large kit with 75 rocks and minerals looked really great: Introductory Earth Science Classroom Rocks and Minerals Collection (affiliate link). For a rocks and minerals unit for older kids, I would probably got with this because it has at least 25 minerals, 6 or 7 ores, and samples of the sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous rocks.
If you missed these last week, you might also be interested in the FREE 26-page Rocks and Mineral Packet I shared. It covers things like how rocks are used, some famous rocks in the world, how minerals are used in our homes, birthstones and things like that. Pages 1-13 are for younger kids (preK or K); pages 14-26 are better suited to older kids.
You may also be interested in the free 3-part Montessori cards I made of Famous Rocks Around the World. I shared those in another post. Those cards are also free:
I shared some of our hands-on activities in these related posts:
- Igneous Rock Activities
- Sedimentary Rock Activities
- Sedimentary Rock Activity (much older post, using sand)
- Metamorphic Rock Activities
- Metamorphic Rock Activity (another older post, where we took “core samples,” excavated and examined this baked rock — a cupcake!)
- Minerals: Our Hands-On Activities and Seeing the BIGGEST Diamond in the World
- Earth-Space Science: Topographic Maps
Our 50+ Page Earth Science Packet:
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- Learning about the Solar System – Including the hands-on kit the kids loved assembling and painting.
- Earth Science: Timeline of Earth Activity – A Montessori activity that is meant to impress kids with the enormity of time on Earth.
- Earth Science: Layers of the Earth hands-on Activity
- Earth’s Geologic Timeline - How scientists divide Earth’s history into eons and eras
- Learning about Latitude and Longitude, Using a Compass
- Earth Science: Plate Movement Hands-On Activities
- Earth Science: Layers of the Atmosphere
- Free Earth Science Packet: Layers of the Atmosphere
- Hands-On Volcano Activities
- How to make a Shake Table – Earthquake Studies
- Earth Movement – How Mountains are Formed
You might also be interested in some of our other packets:
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.