Uses of Rocks and Minerals

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SWBAT describe the uses of rocks and minerals in every day life.

Big Idea

We eat them, bathe with them, and build with and minerals are everywhere!

Teacher Preparation

In this lesson, students will learn about the ways that rocks and minerals are used in our every day lives. This lesson aligns to Essential Standard 1.E.2.1, "Summarize the physical properties of Earth materials, including rocks, minerals, soils and water that make them useful in different ways." Each day, I post an essential question for the lesson. Today's question is "How are rocks and minerals useful to humans?" Click here to listen to my Explanation of Essential Standards and Essential Question.


*Internet/Youtube access

*Science journals

*Anchor chart paper/markers

Warm Up

10 minutes

To begin this lesson, I start an anchor chart titled "Uses of Rocks and Minerals" and ask my students to begin a list in their science journals. I say,

"Geologists study rocks and minerals, including where they are found and their properties, just like we have. We know that scientist also ask lots of questions. Let's make a list of questions we have about rocks and minerals".

I write down the questions that students ask on chart paper, and if nobody asks about how rocks and minerals are used then I ask it, to make sure it is on the list. Asking scientific questions supports Science and Engineering Practice 1.

"Now, we are going to watch a video. During the video, if you see a way that rocks and minerals are used, add it to your list".

Then we watch this video that reviews what rocks and minerals are and then gives some examples of ways that we use them.

Recording information (observations, thoughts, and ideas) supports Science and Engineering Practice 4.

Learning from media supports Science and Engineering Practice 8 as students "Read grade-appropriate texts and/or use media to obtain scientific and/or technical information to determine patterns in and/or evidence about the natural and designed world(s)" and also as they communicate about the information in written or oral forms.


20 minutes

After my students have started their list and I have added to the anchor chart, I say,

"Today, we are going on a rock hunt to find rocks and minerals that are being used in our school!"

As I lead my students around the school, I already have in mind some places that I know we will find rocks and minerals, so I make sure to stop in those places. We have stone steps, a granite dedication marker, and a little garden area surrounded by a rock wall.

When we return, we meet back on the carpet again.


Wrap Up

5 minutes

To end the lesson, I ask students to share things that they found on their list. Then I say,

"When you get home, look around your house and see what you can find, too - then we can add those things to our anchor chart as well! Now, who can answer the question for today  -how do humans use rocks and minerals?"

Using the essential question to wrap up a lesson brings the focus back to the objective for today and gives me one more chance to make sure students understand the focus for the day's lesson.