Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Rockin' Good Time

Rocks, man, rocks!
How much fun does teaching about rocks sound? About as much fun as teaching about soil!
 Thanks to Reading A-Z, an Aims science project, and our iPod Touches, we managed to learn a lot about rocks and enjoy ourselves at the same time. Oh, thank Heaven!

We began with the question: What makes rocks break?
Reading A - Z has this great little book about rocks. It is a level C book, but it is totally appropriate for the lesson.
Screen shot of the book. is awesome!
I love their leveled readers.
This book is great for building background knowledge and learning the proper vocabulary on the subject. Many of my kids have never seen a "mountain" mountain (landfills don't count) in their lives, so reading the word boulder was brand new for them.
Then, we matched the vocabulary words with the proper sentences and added them to the anchor chart.

On to the science project...
The project is called Ice Breakers and it is from an Aims activity book. First, we discuss how rocks can break in nature. The kids speculate how rocks break to make boulders, stones, pebbles, sand, and dust. When one of them finally brings up water, I asked them how would water break the rocks? Do you think it will break if it was frozen?
We fill out the prediction chart:
For the project, you will need water balloons, plaster of paris, and the freezer. I prepared the water balloons ahead of time. I called the kids up one at a time and had them help me mix the plaster of paris and add it to their model rock.

We let the rocks dry in the classroom. Then, we put them in the freezer for two days. After the two days, I took the water balloons out and the kids were amazed to see that the plaster had cracked off and the balloons had broken.

We concluded the activity by using our iPod Touches.
The kids had to verbalize the activity and explain what they had learned using the app Sonic Pics.

The app has them add pictures, text, and their voices to create a little video project (like a power point.)
*I'll have to add one of their projects in another post.

Then, for some writing fun, we wrote about what we would build with a bunch of rocks. They were cute and enjoyed thinking about how we use rocks.

Here's a copy of the writing activity:



  1. I LOVE how you incorporated the I-Pods - very creative and a great authentic assessment! Great ideas!! =)

  2. Such a great activity with rocks. I love it all. Thanks for sharing.

  3. how adorable!! =)

    mrs tabb

  4. I sooooo loved rocks this year and I wish I had sen this! Let's follow each other and keep in touch!

  5. What an awesome unit! And I love the big bulletin board display. :-) I'm a new follower!

  6. Cute ideas! I love that little book from Reading A-Z and your writing idea. I used many of Chalk Talk's ideas when I taught rocks last year. She does a different activity that would go right along with your boulder-rock-pebble lesson. She has her rock unit free on her blog. I looked tonight. The document was not showing up on the blog, but it still worked to download it first.
    Just Add Clipart

  7. Thank you for sharing! This is my first year teaching rocks and this is a great activity!