GEMS- Stories in Stone
Field of Science or Math
4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Ah, if rock walls could talk; and in a way, they can. The essence of much of life and geologic history is embedded in the Earth's crust and in forms of stone we encounter every day.
Stories in Stone is an earth-science unit that deepens understanding of the processes that lead to the formation of igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks. This is not a field guide (although it recommends some); Stories in Stone helps students demystify the dramatic, inexorable processes that cycle through the visible and hidden geology of our planet.
Working with sets of ten samples, groups of students learn the distinction between rocks and minerals, classify the samples, and attempt to identify "mystery rocks." They observe formation of salt crystals and make models of crystal shapes. An experiment using salol crystals at different temperatures models processes in the formation of igneous rocks. Unique clay modeling activities with geological narratives provide students with "hands-on" insight into the rock cycle and plate tectonics.
This unit requires a sample of real rocks and minerals for each student group; it is designed around common, readily available samples, and recommendations are included for where to purchase them. Once in hand, these sets can be used class after class, or shared among teachers.