In this activity students will observe and investigate rocks in order to classify them in terms of color, shape, texture and size.

Kathleen Oliver
Webster Magnet Elementary School
St. Paul, MN 55104

Summary

In this activity students will observe and investigate rocks in order to classify them in terms of color, shape, texture and size.

Learning Goals

This lesson is designed for students to develop investigational skills using observation and touch. The students will determine the characteristics they wish to use to catagorize the rock samples. Because the students are working in small groups they will need to cooperate to decide on the criteria for sorting. Vocabulary words to be used include color, shape, texture, size, group and belong.

Context for Use

This lesson for small groups of first graders will be one of many that are used to help children learn that Earth materials include solid rocks. These materials have different observable physical properties.

Subject: Geoscience
Resource Type: Activities:Classroom Activity
Grade Level: Primary (K-2)
Theme: Teach the Earth:Enhancing your Teaching:Problem Solving, Teach the Earth:Teaching Environments:K12

Description and Teaching Materials

Teaching Materials
Assorted rocks
Egg cartons
18 x 24 paper (as a sorting mat)
writing paper
pencils, crayons, colored pencils
hand held lens
Description
Students will complete this activity with a partner or small group.
1. Each pair/group of students is given a sorting mat and an egg carton containing at least 12 assorted rocks.
2. After examining the rocks for a short while the students determine the criteria by which they will sort the rocks.
3. The students write the criteria on the sorting mat and place the rocks into the appropriate piles.
4. Following the sort the children write a paragraph describing the criteria and noting the number of rocks that fit into each category.

Teaching Notes and Tips

Prior math lessons have included attributes and sorting objects (blocks, buttons, etc) so the children have experience with these concepts.

Assessment

Children will write/draw about their sorting mat using adjectives to describe the attributes and draw conclusions about the groups.

Standards

First Grade
Earth Structure and Processes
Earth materials include solid rocks, sand, soil and water. These materials have different observable physical properties that make them useful.

1.3.1.3.1
Group or classify rocks in terms of color, shape and size.

References and Resources