Sunday, May 13, 2012

SNS: Rock Cycle Rap and Lab

If you are a regular visitor to my blog, I am sure you know how much I love to use YouTube in the classroom.  This week I taught about the Rock Cycle (I love Earth Science), and played this song for my kids and printed out the lyrics.
After we listened to it and had fun laughing and singing along (even during the 1st time it played), I gave them a sheet of the lyrics and went through each line.  Mr. Lee (rap teacher) uses great vocabulary- compaction, cementation, elusive, intrusive, extrusive... and we used context clues within the rap to determine the meaning of some of the words we didn't know.

Then came the labs.... get ready....

To engage the students I supplied each table with a set of rocks that I asked them to classify based on any physical property.  They had to journal how they classified the rocks and draw a picture.  My rock set had numbers on each rock which helped soooo much this week.  Then we took a "Rock Tour" around the classroom looking at how each group classified their rocks and the students talked about whether they agreed with the placement or not.  
Then we really got hands on... and created rocks.

Created rocks?!?!?!  WHAT??

Yes... out of crayons... and it was messy.... but my psycho anal organized behavior did detour some of the mess.
First we made a fortune teller with 4 flaps labeled as sediment, sedimentary rock, metamorphic rock, and igneous rock.

Now it was time to make some rocks. It  started with me buying 5 boxes of crayons (I bought the cheap stuff...this summer I am going to stock up when the back to school sale starts), 20 pencil sharpeners (0.47 each), and going to Lowe's (love them) and having them cut a huge board into 10 eight inch x eight inch squares.  I know its a little expensive, but the learning experience is totally worth it.

1. Each student sharpens 1 of 4 crayons (red, yellow, green, blue) down to nothing and put into a cup.

2. Students then used their fingers to make the shavings into fine crumbs.  This is important!!!
3. Place a small sample under the sediment flap of the foldable and place a piece of tape on top.
 4. Pass out 2 pieces of wax paper. You can cut a 12 inch sheet in half and give it to each table.  I had my
     students draw a 10 cm x 10 cm square on the wax paper with a permanent marker.  They then placed
     all their crayon crumbs on the wax paper square.

Crayon Sediments placed together before pressure is added

 5. Place the 2nd sheet of wax paper on top of the crumbs (wax paper crayon sandwich) and place it
     between 2 of the square boards.
  6.  Now have the kids step on top of the boards trying hard not to get the shavings on the floor.  Keep
      having them press on it for a few minutes.  Do not hammer it unless you want a headache, or press with
      their hands (I did this with my morning group and it did not turn out very well).
  7. The pressure has made the shavings stick together... now you have a sedimentary rock.  Have each
     student take a small sample from their crayon sedimentary rock and tape it in their journal.  They also
     wrote that pressure formed the rock on the top flap.

  8.  Now take the remaining sedimentary crayon rock and put it back in between the wax paper, and the wax paper in between the boards.  Using a C-clamp, apply even greater pressure to the crayon sandwich for a new minutes.

 9.  While the clamp was as tight as it could go, I had my students press their hands together as hard as they could.  I asked them what they felt.... they responded with heat.  I explained that while pressure increases so does heat.  What is going to happen to the crayon sandwich now?  The heat is going to melt some of the crayon making it stick together even better.  BOOYAH!

Metamorphic crayon rock
10.  Using a plastic knife, we cut small samples to go under the metamorphic rock flap in our journal and placed a piece of tape on it.  Then the journaling of how it was formed.
11.  The last rock is igneous, and I totally forgot to take pictures of it.  Sorry!!!  But you give each group a piece of aluminum foil and have them make a flat bottom bowl not much bigger than the left over piece of crayon sandwich.

12.  Using a wooden clothespin, attach it to the side of the bowl.  This is the handle.

13.  Carefully using a hot plate, have the students melt the crayon sandwich (metamorphic rock)- be careful that someone is holding the handle of the bowl the entire time.

14.  Using one of your boards as a trivet, place the bowl on it to cool down.  Have students observe what happens and journal about it.

15.  When it completely cools, have the students take a small sample and tape it into their journal.
Igneous crayon rock
The finished foldable
 The next day, we drew the rock cycle, and because we had already done the lab, they really understood the process and what the diagram meant.
Hope you all have a great last few weeks of school.  ROCK ON!!! (corny I know....) :)


  1. Oh em genius!! I love, love, love this! Here's praying I will remember to come back to this post next fall when I start teaching rocks!?? (Hopefully I will be still teaching 5th...)

  2. Thanks Lynn!!! Do you have a pinterest account?? If you pin the pic to your Science board it might help you remember if you want :) If you dont have an account and want one, let me know your email address and I'll send you an invite! :)

  3. Amazing!!! Thank you so much for the detailed plan. This is a great lesson from start to end. I'm wondering what you do for an End of Unit Assessment?