MnSTEP Teaching Activity Collection > MnSTEP Activities > Investigating the Rock Cycle Through Writing and Illustrating

Investigating the Rock Cycle Through Writing and Illustrating

Leah Campbell, Central Intermediate School, Stewartville, MN, based on an original activity developed by Alissa Naymark, Rochester Public Schools
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Summary

In this writing and illustrating activity, students will be able to follow a simple rock cycle to follow the life of "Rocky the Rock". After investigating the rock cycle, students will then be able to illustrate the rock cycle, along with writing the story of "Rocky" to show their understanding.

Learning Goals

This activity is designed for students to:
1. Show understanding of the rock cycle.
2. Write fact based stories to illustrate that understanding.

Key Concepts:
1. Igneous Rock through weathering and then lithification becomes Sedimentary rock; Sedimentary rock through metamorphism becomes Metamorphic rock; Metamorphic rock through melting to magma and then crystallization becomes Igneous rock.
2. Most often the rock cycle starts with Igneous rock because everything starts as magma.
3. The rock cycle does not have to follow the predictable pattern; Metamorphic rock can change to Sediments and dissolved ions, thus becoming Sedimentary rock, etc.

Vocabulary:
magma
weathering
crystallization
metamorphism

Context for Use

This activity is designed for use in the classroom after discussion and exploration of the rock cycle. Students should already be familiar with the natural processes that cause rocks to break down and change. Class size is not important as the activity could be modified to be individual work, or a group working together to illustrate the cycle.

Subject: Geoscience:Geology:Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology, Sedimentary Geology:Weathering
Resource Type: Activities:Lab Activity, Classroom Activity
Grade Level: Intermediate (3-5)

Description and Teaching Materials

This activity is designed for use in the classroom after discussion and exploration of the rock cycle. Students should already be familiar with the natural processes that cause rocks to break down and change.

Procedure:
The teacher will give each student (or group of students) a piece of paper.
They will make a large circle and divide the paper into 8 sections.
The teacher will then go through the cycle with the students and illustrate what is happening (one event per section).
Students will then write a story about the adventures of Rocky the Rock as he/she moves through the rock cycle, breaking down and changing.
Students will be evaluated on their knowledge of the rock cycle and how their stories show this knowledge.
Students will share their stories with the class.
The rock cycle will then be reviewed with select students if needed.

Materials needed:
paper
scissors
pencils/pens
crayons/colored pencils

Teaching Notes and Tips

Assessment

The teacher will assess students on how well their stories followed the rock cycle.
Students will also be assessed in usage of key words, such as igneous rock, erosion, sediments, weathering, sedimentary rock, metamorphic rock, and magma.

Standards

Grade 5, III. Earth and Space Science, A. Earth Structure and Processess, 1. The student will recognize the natural processes that cause rocks to break down into smaller pieces and eventually into soil.

References and Resources

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