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Chapter Overview

This chapter discusses the rock cycle and each of the three major types of rocks that form on Earth. Separate lessons focus on igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks.

Online Resources

Refer to the following links for appropriate laboratory activities:

The purpose of this introductory rock lab is to observe and describe physical characteristics of a familiar model (candy bars) and apply them to rocks. This is an excellent lab activity to introduce the geological terminology used in describing rocks. Examples of all three rock types (igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic) are presented. The lab has a strong focus on observational skills.

In this online lab, students will learn how to identify sedimentary rocks based on composition, texture, and grain size.

In this inquiry lab, groups of students will collect and analyze data while simulating searching for coal deposits on Earth’s surface and under the ground. They will create sedimentary and metamorphic rock models, compare them to conglomerate and marble, and simulate how sedimentary and metamorphic rocks form.

These websites may also be helpful:

For photos of different types of rocks to share with students, see these URLs:

You may want to use the PowerPoint presentations at the following URLs when you teach your students about (1) the rock cycle and (2) the three types of rocks (igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic).

  1. http://www.science-class.net/PowerPoints/Predicting%20the%20Rock%20Cycle_files/frame.htm
  2. http://schools.paulding.k12.ga.us/ischooldistrict/teacherhome_more.php?TeacherHomePage_ID=6391&school_ID=52&user_ID=2708

This resource contains several activities for teaching students the processes of the rock cycle.

If you need a review of the three types of rocks, try this URL: http://www.jersey.uoregon.edu/~mstrick/AskGeoMan/geoQuerry13.html.

A fun way to review chapter content is by having teams of students play the “Rocks Jeopardy” game at the following URL.

Pacing the Lessons

Lesson Class Period(s) (60 min)
4.1 Types of Rocks 1.5
4.2 Igneous Rocks 1.5
4.3 Sedimentary Rocks 1.5
4.4 Metamorphic Rocks 1.5

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