Earth Rocks! - Day 2

13 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT describe the difference betweens rocks, soils and minerals.

Big Idea

In this lesson, students gain background knowledge about the difference between rocks, soils, and minerals through direct instruction.


15 minutes

I begin this lesson by reviewing the previous lesson about rocks, minerals, and soil. I lead a brief discussion about what students remember about rocks and minerals. 

In this video, you can hear students giving their ideas about differences and similarities between rocks and minerals.  One student mentions peridot and says it's a mineral. I ask the student if peridot is a mineral or a gemstone.  The student knows that peridot is a gemstone and another student then mentions garnets.  I then asked the students if gemstones and minerals are the same.  Note: I did not know the answer to my own question, however, that didn't stop me from asking it. I model for my students that science is all about solving problems and answering questions. When presented with questions I don't know answers for, I can be a scientist and find the answer. 


Next, I pass around a sample of sulphur. (a mineral) I do not tell the student what it is. I ask them to observe the specimen and record if they think the sample is a rock or mineral.  

In this video you can hear students giving proof and reasons to support their thinking about if the sample is a rock or mineral.  The beginning of the video begins with one student expressing that the sample did not smell nice.   In this part of the lesson, I am not concerned if students do not know that the sample is a mineral, I'm more interested in their thinking and how they support their ideas.  One of the eight science practice standards is to engage in arguments from evidence. Students are expected to use argumentation to listen to, compare, and evaluate competing ideas and methods based on their merits. Scientists and engineers engage in argumentation when investigating a phenomenon, testing a design solution, resolving questions about measurements, building data models, and using evidence to evaluate claims.

Explore, Explain, and Elaborate

30 minutes

For the remainder of the lesson, students take notes by finishing the Earth Rocks book started in the previous lesson. I use this power point presentation and present information to students as the take notes in a six page book. Rocks Minerals and Soil

As I go through the slideshow, I give the students information about rocks, minerals, and soil, noting the differences, similarities, and characteristics.  Some of the information I relay to students can be found in my Earth Rocks information sheet. Earth Rocks information

As I go through the powerpoint, I stop at each slide to give further information. I also direct students to take notes, by creating a book.  See below for samples of each book page. 

   Insert book pages here 


Page 1 - What are Rocks>


Page 2 -  Types of Rocks 


Page 3 - What are Minerals?


Page 4 - How are Rocks and Minerals Different 


Page 5 - What is Soil? 





Wrap Up

10 minutes

To wrap up this lesson, I direct students to talk with their table partner about how rocks, minerals, and soil are related. As students talk, I circulate around the room to listen in on conversations. Next, I end the lesson with this short summation video.