Let’s Rock with the Rock Cycle!

Grade level: 4th-5th grade

Subject: Physical science

Goal: Students will be able to identify the three types of rocks and how they are formed. Then they will learn how the different formation processes are connected in the rock cycle.

Introduction

Start off the lesson by sharing this Jamboard with the class. This will act as an introduction to the lesson topic, exploring the questions:

  • What are rocks?
  • What are some characteristics of rocks you have seen?
  • Where do rocks come from?

Here are some examples of student responses to these questions:

This introduction can be as brief or long as you would like. Feel free to start a class discussion on these responses if there is time available.

Video

Have students watch the video below that offers a brief description of each type of rock and explains the stages of the rock cycle.

Identifying the Stages of the Rock Cycle

After watching the video, have students work individually on this Google Drawing. Instruct students to fill in the blanks of the rock cycle by dragging the appropriate terms to the boxes.

Create a Website

After discussing the answers to the Google Drawing worksheet, place students into groups of 3. In their groups, they will be creating a website using Google Sites on one of the three types of rocks. It is up to you if you would like to assign the rock types to the groups or have them choose which one they’d like to work on. They will need to conduct research on the rock type and organize the information they find on the site. The website should include:

  • How the rock type forms
  • Common characteristics of the rock type
  • Examples of rocks in that rock type
  • Sources/Work cited page

Here is an example of a student made website:

Debrief on Technological Tools

In the beginning of the lesson, the Jamboard that was used as an introduction allows students to offer their opinions and thoughts in a more accessible and efficient way. It’s also a great way to document everyone’s opinions compared to forming a discussion based on raising hands and calling upon a limited number of individual students.

The Youtube video is helpful for explaining concepts in a concise and visual way. The teacher can also make it accessible on Google Classroom or another class resource site so students who didn’t understand the first time watching or students who were absent can go back and rewatch it.

The Google Drawing was used for students to put their knowledge to the test and label the rock cycle. Doing this digitally prevents the need for printing copies of a worksheet or handing it out during the lesson. And if students make mistakes in their answers, the Google Drawing allows them to easily make changes by simply dragging the terms into the correct boxes rather than erasing and rewriting.

The Google site is a great way for students to organize information. It allows them to add pictures and work together with ease since they can work on the site on their own computer at the same time. The site can easily be shared with others to look at whenever they want.

Featured image: Photo by Oliver Paaske on Unsplash

2 Replies to “Let’s Rock with the Rock Cycle!”

  1. Lannie, an excellent design for a learning activity. It walks the reader through each step of the lesson – moving form Jamboard, to Youtube, to Google drawing and finally to the creation of a Google website. Throughout you provide clear explanations and creative examples of each tool in use.

    The best part is your debrief at the end where you fully explain your rationale for selecting each tool. Together it incapsulates all we were trying to achieve this semester. Outstanding

  2. Hi Lannie! I loved this lesson and know that students would too. I love how many different forms of technology you use throughout this lesson. I think that this would keep students engaged and attentive. Great job!

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