You Hold the Key….to Identifying Rocks!

Rock Cycle

Today’s science lesson was all about rocks!  After briefly reviewing the different layers of the Earth, students learned all about the Rock Cycle and the three main categories of rocks (sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic).  We discussed how all the rocks on the earth are constantly changing due to weathering and changes in pressure and temperature.  By examining and identifying samples of different rock types, the students developed a greater understanding for how each rock type is formed.  In order to make these identifications, they used a tool called a dichotomous key.  They also learned the differences between minerals and rocks and were introduced to Massachusetts’ state rock, the Roxbury Puddingstone, a stone used for building in the Boston/Roxbury area.

 

Additional Information:

This YouTube video offers a fun review of the three rock types. It’ll make you hungry to learn about rocks! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pg_jKJFbA2A

Questions:

Explain how granite (a igneous rock) can be turned into gneiss ( a metamorphic rock).

How do sedimentary rocks form?

 

Author

Dr. Catherine Sukow

Dr. Sukow's interest in science education began when she was a teenager, with an extended visit to San Francisco's Exploratorium. In college, she had summer jobs in a similar, smaller, museum. She focused her Master's research at NCSU on the structure of metal silicides on silicon, and her Ph. D. work at Brandeis on the structure of crossbridged actin bundles. While volunteering in her childrens' schools, she was reminded how much fun it is to teach science, and is happy to be teaching now with Science from Scientists. In her spare time, she also enjoys yoga, choral and solo singing, and attempting a variety of international cuisines.

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