Have you ever emptied the pockets of a child before throwing them in the washing machine? Chances are there have been times when you have found a handful of rocks. Rocks seem to fascinate kids. Use that interest as a springboard to learning about rocks.
A Rock is Lively by Dianna Hutts Aston
- Zip-top bags or envelopes
- Paper, pencil, crayons
- Magnifying glass
- Bowl of water
- Empty egg carton to display special rocks
Begin by reading the beautifully illustrated book A Rock is Lively, which provides simple information about rocks:
- Rocks are made of a mix of ingredients called minerals.
- Outer space has rocks called meteoroids, comets and asteroids
- Rocks were formed billions of years ago.
- Rocks can be huge or tiny
- Rocks can be helpful. Even some animals use rocks. Humans long ago used rocks to make tools and today rocks are used to make things like glass, bricks and cement.
- Some rocks need to be broken open to show amazing colors. (Geodes)
- Petroglyphs are rocks with pictures made by ancient people.
- Many famous attractions are made of rocks such as the pyramids, Mt. Rushmore and Stonehenge.
Now that your child has an overview of the amazing qualities of rocks, it is time to explore! Encourage the search for rocks with unusual qualities such as ones with layers, colors or unique shapes. Place special rocks in baggies and label the bag with the location of where the rock was found.
- Begin in your own backyard. You may see rocks on the surface or it may be necessary to dig in the dirt to find some.
- Search for rocks in the park or the neighborhood. It gives you and your child a chance to take a casual walk!
- Going on a vacation? Remember to look for rocks! Beaches, mountain areas, lakes, rivers and deserts are great places to find special rocks.
- Look for rocks with shells or fossils in the rocks. You may be lucky enough to find an arrowhead!
- Take pictures of rocks that are unusual, colorful and too big to bring home!
When your child has a variety of rocks, it is time to look at them more closely. Use a magnifying glass, bowl of water and magnet. Record your findings on paper. Color a picture of your rock next to the findings.
- With the magnifying glass check closely for any tiny shells in the rock, any layers (bands), sparkles or colors.
- Place the rock in water. Does it float or sink?
- Does a magnet attract your rock or pebble?
Kinds of Rocks
- Igneous: most of the Earth’s crust, may see crystals in this rock
- Metamorphic: deep in the earth, rocks have heat and pressure that builds up and squeezes the rock forming bands or layers of color
- Sedimentary: animals, seashells, pebbles, plants, which sink to the bottom of bodies of water, are covered with layers that press together over time. You may find fossils or feel a sandy texture to this rock.
- National Geographic Kids: Rocks
- Bredeson, Carmen. Weird But True Rocks. Enslow Publishers, 2012.
- Kids Love Rocks
- Oxlade, Chris. Rock On: Rocks. Heinemann-Raintree, 2016.
- Aston, Dianna Hutts. A Rock is Lively. Chronicle Books, 2012.
- Brown, Cynthia Light and Brown, Nick. Explore Rocks and Minerals. Nomad Press, 2010.