Metamorphic Rocks II

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SWBAT interpret the ‘Scheme of Metamorphic Rock Identification’ chart on the ESRT

Big Idea

Students use scientific data to determine the features of metamorphic rocks, including information on their composition, physical features, and texture


This is a continuation of lesson 1.10, in that it similarly examines the 'Scheme for Metamorphic Rock Identification' on page 7 of the ESRT (attached). There are numerous opportunities for students to practice using the table, both in teams and individually in this lesson, and it also features some information relating to regional metamorphism (an important component of how metamorphic rocks form). 

[Note: This lesson has embedded comments, directions, and CFUs contained in the attached Word document at the bottom of this webpage. Please refer to that resource for additional information and context]

Do Now & Objective(s)

10 minutes

Students come in silently and complete the (attached) Do Now. After time expires (anywhere from 2-4 minutes depending on the type of Do Now and number of questions, although this one takes about 2 minutes), we collectively go over the responses (usually involving a series of cold calls and/or volunteers), before I call on a student and ask them to read the objective out loud to start the lesson.

As a general note, the Do Now serves a few purposes:

  1. It serves as a general review of the previous day's material;
  2. It is a re-activation of student knowledge to get them back into "student mode" and get them thinking about science after transitioning from another content area or alternate class;
  3. as a strategy for reviewing material students have struggled with (for example, using this as a focused review for material that they have struggled with on unit assessments or recent quizzes); and,
  4. It is an efficient and established routine for entering the classroom that is repeated each day with fidelity (I never let students enter the classroom talking. While it may seem potentially severe to have students enter silently each day, this is both a school wide expectation and a key component of my classroom. In many respects, I find that students readily enjoy the focus that starting with a quiet classrooms brings each day).

Regional Metamorphism & Chart

20 minutes

After reading the objective, students are prompted to begin thinking about the problem on Regional Metamorpism & Chart resource in groups. The problem itself involves the increasing degrees of metamorphism as heat and pressure ultimately change the chemical composition of the rock. As rocks get deeper, they change with increasing heat and pressure (if the rocks get deep enough, they melt into magma).

After examining this problem and soliciting responses, students move onto the functional definition of regional metamorphism, which is the wide-scale metamorphism produced by crustal plate movement. 

I also have them focus on the image (on page 3 of the Regional Metamorpism & Chart resource) for a minute, nothing the left side column that has shale through gneiss as rocks. I usually ask them to indicate how or why the rocks are "stacked" in that order, and give them some additional time to think about it as a turn and talk.


20 minutes

In this section, I usually try to get a variety of student responses in as we start this together. Once it's clear that students have a basic understanding of how to interpret the information in the chart (including the symbols of the metamorphic rocks), they're given a time limit to work in pairs, after which they're asked to work individually. When there are about 6-8 minutes remaining, they're asked to stop their work as we collectively go over the material.

Exit Ticket & Closing

10 minutes

In the last few minutes of class, I have students complete the daily Exit Ticket. For the sake of time, I have students grade them communally, with a key emphasis on particular questions and items that hit on the key ideas of the lesson (Note: This usually manifests as students self-grading, or having students do a "trade and grade" with their table partners). After students grade their exit tickets, they usually pass them in (so that I can analyze them) and track their exit ticket scores on a unit Exit Ticket Tracker. 

After students take a few seconds to track their scores, we usually wrap up in a similar way. I give students time to pack up their belongings, and I end the class at the objective, which is posted on the whiteboard, and ask students two questions:

  1. Do you feel that you mastered the objective for the day?
  2. Can you reiterate one thing you learned about ____________ (in this case, basic questions like the definition of radioactivity or half-life, etc.)