Rocks and Minerals

Our nature lesson for the month of February was on rocks and minerals! Although we didn’t have a lot of time to read and study the history and science, I hope that parents will be able to find these resources helpful in learning more about geology!

We first studied the rock cycle in 2016 with a trip to our local Natural History Museum in Murfreesboro http://www.theearthexperience.org/ – seeing the display of metamorphic, igneous, and sedimentary rocks was interesting, but actually being able to hold them and observe was the best! I highly recommend a trip!

It was during that trip that I bought a mineral crystal study activity that has students cut and assemble the 6 different shapes a mineral can form into. You can download and print at home to do this activity!

Thinking about what activities I would want to do during our Notes in Nature class, I got excited about the idea of having students “mine” their own gems! It’s really not as hard as it seems!

*Purchase a variety of gems that have an identification chart (I bought these)

*Assemble a bucket with sand, plaster of paris, and water – mix and pour into dollar store tins and drop in your gems! (Here is the recipe I used!)

*Give adequate amount of time to have students dig and clean! I gave them each a paper cup that I sprayed water on to wash away some of the sand mixture and then they used their chart to identify their rocks!

Although the identification sheet above isn’t available outside of buying one of their kits, you can download an ebook for free by going to this website!

A book resource that I recommend is the “How and Why Wonder Book” series. The Rock and Mineral book is written so well and our discussion on minerals and shapes was helpful during our lesson today! In fact, Mrs. Lara told us a story of how homemade salt dough left untouched for a year will develop large salt crystals! We were able to identify the “cubic” shape of salt from the cut and assemble sheets as part of the six main shapes talked about in the book! For a visual extension, you can show your children this video!

I got so excited about the actual project of our lesson that I left the “music” component out until I was getting ready to pack everything in the car! I found a wonderful circle singing game that everyone loved! You can learn “Rock, rock, how you wander…” from this YouTube video!

Gathering Song
*Hike to the hilltop!
*Introduce the shapes of crystals through the story in the book and visual of the cut and assemble boxes.
*Dig out our gems!!! (This took a long time to dig, clean, and identify)
*Rock, Rock song
*Hike back to the parking lot
* Thanksgiving Song

I am looking forward to next month! If you have a theme request let me know!

To see the rest of our nature dates and sign up to attend click here!

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