Rocks and Minerals Project Ideas

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

Most students have some experience with rocks and minerals, but may not have considered variations in traits or how different types of rocks were formed. These projects engage students in collaborative demonstrations of learning.

Rocks and Minerals

Geologists observe and explain how different types of rock are formed as they are exposed to heat, pressure, and other changes that occur within the rock cycle. Students can find out more about these processes and more with the projects listed below. The projects provide students with kinesthetic and visual means to describe what they are learning about rocks and minerals.

Rocks and Minerals Projects

Edible Rock Types... Yum!

Grade Level: 3-8

Length: 60-120 minutes

Materials needed: bowls, self-hardening chocolate sauce, ice cream, graham crackers, marshmallow cream, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, peanut butter, plastic utensils, hot plate, waxed paper, oven mitts

Divide students into small groups.

Provide each group with a set of materials.

Have students create demonstrations that explain how igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks are formed using the materials provided.

  • Igneous Rocks: When melted rock (magma/lava) cools, it becomes igneous rock. This can be demonstrated with self-hardening chocolate sauce poured over ice cream.
  • Sedimentary Rocks: Sedimentary rocks are formed when small pieces of gravel, dirt, and sand stick together. These are often found in layers of rock that were formed at different times, but ended up together. These can be demonstrated by layering graham crackers, marshmallow cream, baking chips, and peanut butter.
  • Metamorphic Rocks: When other types of rocks are exposed to a great deal of heat and pressure, they can change into metamorphic rocks. This can be demonstrated by mixing together baking chips, melting them on the hot plate, wrapping in waxed paper, and applying pressure to form a new type of candy.

Have students plan and perform these demonstrations, and then explain in writing how each of the demonstrations is related to rock formation. After the project is completed, students can enjoy their newly created snacks.

Mineral Identification Flow Chart

Grade level: 3-12

Length: 60-120 minutes

Materials needed: chart paper, markers, mineral samples

Divide students into small groups. Provide each group with a set of materials.

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