Young learners benefit from discovery-based activities in science. You’ll be surprised what they will learn about rocks when given the time and materials needed to really observe them. This lesson plan on rocks for first grade is a great introduction to a unit about earth science.
- Rocks of different shapes, sizes and textures, 10-20 rocks per table
- Hand lenses, one per child
- Balance scales, one per table
- Paper or science journals for each child
- Pencils, crayons
- Chart paper and markers
Set up the rocks and other materials at each table. Gather your students around you on the carpet and tell that today they are going to be observing rocks. Tell them that their job is to find out as much as they can abouts rocks, using the materials available at their tables. Show them how to use the scales and hand lenses if they are not familiar with them. Encourage your first graders to use all of their senses, except taste, to learn about the rocks and to record what they observe in their science notebooks or on the paper you provide.
Send students to the tables to begin working. While they work, rotate to the different tables, listening to their observations and asking questions to keep the students thinking and learning. What do they notice about the rocks? Which ones are the heaviest? the lightest? Are the rocks shiny or dull? Rough or smooth?
After they have had adequate time to observe, tell the students to choose one rock from the table. Then on a new sheet of paper, they need to draw the rock and tell everything they can about it.
Finally, call the class back together and discuss what they have learned. You may want to show their observations on large chart paper, so that you can add to it throughout your rocks unit.
Read through the students’ rock observations. What kinds of things did they notice? Did they observe different properties like rough and smooth or shiny and dull? How many different observations did they record?
- On another day, provide the students with rocks, water and hand lenses. Let them observe what happens when they are washed in the water.
- Allow students to practice sorting the rocks into groups based on their properties. Then they can play a game where one partner sorts the rocks and the other guesses the sorting rule.
- Talk about the different uses we have for rocks.
This first grade lesson plan on rocks is a great way to get your first grade students interested in learning about earth science. Try these other fun activities about rocks, too.