This unit will be taught to a class of about 20-25 eighth grade students at Betsy Ross Arts Magnet School in New Haven, CT. The students in this science class are very diverse, coming from different backgrounds because it is an interdistrict magnet school. About twenty-five percent of the students come from surrounding suburban schools, another twenty-five percent live in the inner city neighborhood, and the other fifty percent come from other areas in the city.
To introduce students to rocks and the rock cycle the teacher will present information about the layers of the Earth and plate tectonics. Next, students will be organized into small groups to research basic information about rocks. There will be a variety of igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks that they can choose from and research. They will also learn what makes up their rock and where we can find these other minerals that make up these rocks. Eighth graders connect to factual information better when they can relate to it in a personal way, so they will be encouraged to find out how these rocks or minerals that make up their rocks are used and seen in their everyday lives. It is important for students to be hands-on with the different types of rocks, so if the classroom is not equipped with groups of rocks that the students can look at in class then Frey Scientific has a large variety of boxed rocks that can be purchased for the classroom.
Students will be prompted with suggestive websites to use that the teacher provides them and research they will do will take place in the school's technology lab since many students do not have access to computers at home. The teacher will work with each group to be sure that they are finding the necessary facts about their rock. At the culmination of the research each group will present their info to the class. Since the school is an arts magnet school the rubric presenting their specific rock will include an artistic component such as visual arts, music, or theater.