Marcia's Science Teaching Ideas
Marcia's Science Teaching Ideas

Teaching the Rock Cycle by MJ Krech
First of all let me just say how much I love your lessons. I just finished Rocks and your rock cycle simulation with crayons was the best way I have ever found to teach the Rock Cycle. My kids actually get it, even my special ed students. -- From an Indiana Teacher
The rock cycle unit was a ton of fun! - From a teacher in Bath, ME.
Teaching the Rock Cycle by MJ Krech

Teaching the Rock Cycle Teaching Packet is available here. Over 100 PDF pages of ready-to-run materials covering the Rock Cycle, Sedimentary Rocks, Metamorphic Rocks, and Igneous Rocks. Click here for the Table of Contents. The Packet includes: objectives and strategies, detailed lesson plans & ideas, bellwork and journal suggestions, labs and worksheets with answers, tests & quizzes with answers, active learning suggestions including Rock Cycle Foldable©, and many game suggestions you can run off on colored paper. Includes: Rock Cycle and Rock Types PowerPoints! Can be purchased as a Download or a CD. Several items from this Packet are also available below at NO CHARGE!
You are welcome to use these ideas in your classroom, within your science department, within your school district, or to distribute to any teacher who may find these lessons useful. I only ask that:
1. You cannot sell these lessons or make a profit on them in any way.
2. You cite the lessons original source, and do not white-out the copyright footer on the pdf files
3. Do not copy and paste lessons onto your website. A link to the original is to be used.
4. Do not claim these lessons as your own work.
NOTE: This disclaimer is modeled after a couple of my favorite websites: The Science Spot and Middle School Science. Thanks, teachers!

Rock Cycle Simulation
-Deposition of Crayon Shavings-

This is THE BEST WAY I know to teach the rock cycle. When I added this lab to my classes, test scores soared! Have students bring wax crayons from home, which are your building blocks for a great simulation of the entire rock cycle! CAPSULE: Weathering: shave crayons, Erosion: pick up crayons and move them, Deposition: drop crayon shavings onto aluminum foil & fold into packet. Compaction to form Sedimentary Rocks: put packet into vise & apply light pressure. Heat & Pressure to form Metamorphic Rocks: put packet into vise & apply heavy pressure. Melting and Cooling to form Igneous Rocks: melt crayon shavings, pour over ice cubes to form "pumice," into ice water to form "obsidian," and over warm/hot water to form intrusive rocks, such as "diorite" and granite."

Cut & Paste
Rock Cycle Vocab

Click here for a nice cut & paste vocabulary review. Remember: "Big" kids get a lot out of this kind of "little" kids exercise.

Rock Cycle Puzzle

Make flashcards showing names of different formation processes, arrows, types of rocks, characteristics of different rock types. OR Put on one piece of paper and enlarge on "Poster Machine" & cut out. Give to teams of students. They assemble into Rock Cycle Diagram with arrows showing formation processes and characteristics matched to proper rock types. Have each team assemble on a desk top and/or paste to newsprint.

Rock Cycle Lab

A traditional rock cycle lab can acquire a new "spin" after the Rock Cycle Simulation. Give the students a tray with 12 rocks, four from each rock type. Don't give them the names! Give them a key instead. By using a Rock Cycle Key and what they already know about rock characteristics produced by the different formation processes, they can figure them out! I don't make them memorize rock names, because I'm more interested in the students learning the formation processes and rock type characteristics.

Ride the Rock Cycle From the Illinois State Museum - Geology Online. For this activity students roll a die and travel through different stations to learn about the rock cycle. After their journey, they use the information from the "trip" to create a comic strip. Click here.
"Show Me the Rock!" Game After both Rock Cycle Labs in which your students have learned the three rock types and their formation processes, review with this game. Each team listens carefully to your clue, such as: "Show me the rock that is made of rounded pebbles cemented by sand and clay (Conglomerate)," or, "Show me the rock that is formed by heat and pressure and has medium to coarse texture (Gneiss)." Each team picks out the rock from their lab tray that they think answers the question, sends a member up to the teacher, while hiding their rock in their hand, then reveals the rock when the teacher says, "Show me the Rock!" Point for each team that picks the correct mineral.
 ©Copyright 2016.  M. J. Krech. All rights reserved. 

Created by MJKrech