Rocks & Minerals Lesson Plan

Instructor: Kerry Gray

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

Teachers should use these lesson plans to teach students about rocks and minerals. Students will understand the differences between rocks and minerals and the classification system that scientists use for each.

Learning Objectives

After completing this lesson on rocks and minerals, students will be able to:

  • Compare the characteristics of rocks and minerals.
  • Classify rocks and minerals.
  • Use content-specific vocabulary when discussing rocks and minerals.


60 minutes

Common Core Curriculum Standards


Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts.


Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; provide an accurate summary of the text distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.


Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 6-8 texts and topics.


  • chemical classes
  • crystal habit
  • crystalline
  • geologic process
  • igneous
  • inorganic
  • metamorphic
  • mineral
  • properties
  • rock

Video & Discussion

  • Pass out copies of Rocks and Minerals: Definitions and Differences to the students so that they can follow along and take notes while watching the video.
  • Watch the video. Pause at 2:40 to discuss the following:
    • What is a mineral?
  • Continue watching the video until 4:06. Pause to ask students the following questions:
    • How is a rock different from a mineral?
  • Watch the remainder of the video. Then, ask students the following:
    • How are rocks classified?
    • What are the three main categories of rocks?
    • How are minerals classified?
    • What are the chemical classes of minerals?
    • What are the properties of minerals?
    • Turn and talk: What did you learn from this lesson?
  • Have students identify each of the vocabulary words in the lesson. Discuss how each word is used.
  • Pass out the printable worksheet
  • Have students complete the worksheet independently to check for understanding. Grade as a class and discuss answers.


Classifying Rocks and Minerals

Materials needed: copies of lesson, access to computer/internet, pens, paper, photos or samples of rocks and minerals

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