This rocks unit study is the perfect addition to your science lesson plans. From the rock cycle to the different types found beneath our feet, you’ll have exciting information just a scroll away. This unit study also pairs perfectly with my free resource, Printable Rocks Activity Set.
All About Rocks Unit Study
The Rock Cycle
The rock cycle is a geological term that helps describe what happens to rocks over a period of time. The three main rock types are sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous. The rock cycle explains how the three rock types are related to each other, and how processes change from one type to another over time. Science shows that different environmental factors contribute to the breaking down and changes of rocks.
When rocks are pushed deep under the Earth’s surface, they may melt into magma. When the conditions no longer exist for the magma to stay in its liquid state, it cools and solidifies into an igneous rock. Rocks that are exposed to high temperatures and pressures form a different rock, called metamorphic. Sedimentary rocks are formed from deposits of pre-existing rocks or pieces of once-living organisms that accumulate on the Earth’s surface.
Types of Rocks
We’ve already talked about the three main rock types, but there are more types that fall within each of these categories. Organic sedimentary rocks, like coal, form from hard, biological materials like plants, shells, and bones that are compressed into rock. Chemical sedimentary rocks, like limestone, halite, and flint, form from chemical precipitation.
Metamorphic rocks have two classes: foliated and non-foliated. Foliation is the aligning of elongated or platy minerals perpendicular to the direction of pressure that is applied. Nonfoliated rocks are formed the same way; however, they do not contain the minerals that line up under pressure. Since that doesn’t occur, they do not have a layered appearance like foliated rocks.
Igneous rocks can also be made in a couple of different ways. When they are formed on the inside of the earth, they are considered intrusive (or plutonic) igneous rocks. If they are formed on the outside or on top of Earth’s crust, they are called extrusive (or volcanic) igneous rocks. Granite and diorite are examples of common intrusive rocks.
Videos About Rocks
Types of Rocks
Science Experiments with Rocks
Using hands-on science experiments helps put depth into what kids are learning. There are lots of fun and innovative experiments can be done in the comfort of your own home. Don’t forget to take a journey outside to see what types of rocks can be found around your house. Here are a few experiments to try:
- Make a Rock
- Baking Soda Rocks
- Floating Rock Experiment
- Sorting and Classifying Rocks
- Igneous Rock Science Experiment
Books about Rocks
Having several good books on hand is always a plus. For younger kids, consider reading books that have lots of colorful (and real) pictures of rocks. There are also touch-and-feel types of books so they can see what different types of rocks would feel like. Older kids would benefit from these too, but you can also incorporate books with more words.
Below are several books I highly recommend adding to your rocks unit study:
- Learning About Rocks (Science Builders)
- My Book of Rocks and Minerals
- Rocks and Minerals Field Guide (National Geographic Kids)
- Let’s Go Rock Collecting
- Geology for Kids
As I mentioned before, I have a free rocks activity set for you. This pack is just the pack you need for teaching your kids about rocks. Activities included in this pack:
- the rock cycle
- types of rocks sorting chart
- types of rock Q&A
- rock definitions
- my rock report template
- matching rock types
Simply download, print, and go!