Activities to enhance students learning will be a variety of different activities that include hands on labs. Students will make their own "rock cycle" fudge mixing ingredients together creating their own edible "rocks". Students will also recreate the rock cycle by acting out different parts of it while using a variety of chocolate chips.
The final lab activity for this unit will have students look at a variety of different cookies and rocks and compare and contrast them. They will work in groups on their activity and when finished all students will present their findings to the class.
Rock Research Activity
To introduce students to rocks they will pick one rock from any group, and learn basic information about that rock. Make sure that the rocks they research are common and have enough information about them. Good examples are slate (found in chalkboards), pumice (used in salons), granite (found in buildings and monuments), and marble (famous statues and monuments). They will work in groups of 2 or 3 and make an 11X15 poster board of their rock. They will have to find out what makes up the rock, where we can find this rock, and what can actually be done with this rock. Especially relating it to their lives so that they can make a connection to what they are researching Students will do all their research in the school's technology lab and design their poster board in class. Some good websites for students to research can be found at the end of the unit. This activity should take 1 class period of 45 minutes to research, and then another class period to design and finish their poster. Students will present their findings to the class and the rubric (found at the end of the unit) will include basic facts about their rock, name, shape, texture, colors, where it is found on Earth, what can be done with it, etc.
After students learn and become familiar with the rocks they will be able to explain how all rocks are linked together by the rock cycle. They will be able to physically make their own "rocks" using everyday kitchen items that they are familiar with and then be able to eat them. Also, students will perform a hands-on activity in which they re-enact the rock cycle using a variety of chocolate chips and manipulate them so they coincide with each part of the rock cycle.
Igneous Rock Activity
Lesson Objective: Students will be able to explain what happens to igneous rocks inside the Earth through a teacher demonstration.
Students will be introduced to igneous rock and the different types. The teacher will bring in some strawberries and some chocolate fruit dip. The dip can be found in the produce department in your local supermarket. The fruit dip actually is pieces of chocolate, which the teacher will show the students. These bits of chocolate will be parts of rocks and when placed under extreme heat can change forms. The chocolate can be placed on a hot plate while the teacher mixes or can be placed in a microwave. When it is taken off of the heat source the teacher will ask the students what happened to the rocks? Why? The teacher will ask students to dip a strawberry in the now hot, liquid chocolate and place their strawberry on a piece of wax paper. Let the strawberry sit until the end of class and have the students see what happened to the chocolate. Ask them what did the pieces of "rock" turn into when heated? When they cooled what happened? Students will be able to understand that when magma or lava cools (chocolate), it forms igneous rocks (chocolate covered strawberry). At the end of class the students can then enjoy their chocolate strawberry "igneous" rock!
Sedimentary Rock Activity
Lesson Objective: Students will be able to explain what happens when sediments get glued and compressed together to form a sedimentary rock. An example of a good recipe to use in the class can be found at the end of the unit.
Most students are familiar with puffed rice cereal and heated marshmallows and what happens when they are combined. Students will already know that sedimentary rocks are formed through a process of sediments breaking down, moving, depositing themselves somewhere else and being compressed to form a rock. The teacher will use different colors of puffed rice as the sediments. The marshmallows will be heated and before combining them ask the students what will happen when these ingredients are mixed and compressed together into a pan. They will be able to see that these treats are made just like sedimentary rocks are made on Earth. Except these sediments are delicious and can be made in their own kitchen!
Chocolate Chipping Away at the Rock Cycle Activity
Lesson Objective: This lesson will reinforce the main concepts of rocks and the rock cycle by giving students a hands-on, visual reinforcement of the intricacies of the rock cycle.
Initiation: Before the investigation begins, assess student's prior knowledge about the rocks and the rock cycle. Give each group a large piece of chart paper and ask students to record in words or pictures what they know from our current study of rocks and the rock cycle. After about 5 minutes, each group is given an opportunity to share two pieces of information they have recorded, such as the three types of rocks, their origins, or the processes that form them.
After all the groups have shared their information, students review the questions on the Activity worksheet (provided at the end of the Unit). Students should be collaborating within their teams in order to get the answers to the questions, but each student will have their own worksheet to fill out.
Materials: hot plates (1 per group), coffee mug (1 per group), a 2 X 4 block of wood(1 per group), 4 different colors of candy baking chips, such as milk chocolate, white chocolate, peanut butter, and butterscotch(place about 50ml in a small cup or bag for easy distribution), wax paper, aluminum foil, aluminum tray, plastic knives, plastic cups, oven mitts, aprons, and goggles.
Procedure: Have students cover their work area with wax paper. Gloves and aprons should be put on. Chocolate chips will be divided into piles and the students will carefully shave off pieces of them but keep them separated by color. They will then make an aluminum foil tray and place one color of chips in the tray. They will press down the shavings with their block of wood until their chips turn into a flat pancake. When it is flattened they will then place their foil on the floor and place a large book on top of it, and then have a group member stand on the book for about 2 minutes. After 2 minutes they will answer their questions, and then repeat the process for the other colored chips. Students will then have a layered pancake when finished with all their chips. They will take their layered pancake and place it carefully into another aluminum tray where it will be melted by the hot plate. They will have some other questions to answer (refer to Appendix B), and then take their patty off when their chips have melted and let them cool.
Once groups have finished their investigation and cleaned their work areas, groups spend three to five minutes discussing their findings. Students can address what concepts were reinforced by the activity, such as how one or more minerals form a rock, the processes of weathering and erosion, and the three types of rocks. An entire class discussion on these concepts can be done; also the answers to the activity worksheet can be shared and discussed. The goal for the three investigation questions is for students to transfer their prior knowledge of rocks and the rock cycle to the steps in the activity by identifying what represents the different types of rock, the steps of the rock cycle, and the processes and Earth forces that are involved.
Rock Cycle Fudge Activity
Lesson Objective: Students will be able to identify the different processes of the rock cycle while making rock cycle fudge. This is to be an enjoyable activity done when their unit on rocks is complete!
Initiation: Teacher will begin by asking students how weathering and erosion affect rocks. All answers will be accepted (about 4-5) and recorded on the chalkboard or overhead to refer to during lesson closure.
Materials: Microwave, microwave-safe bowls, plastic baggie, large spoons, wax paper, a few sets of measuring spoons and cups, evaporated milk, sugar, margarine, mini-marshmallows, pecans or walnuts, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and vanilla extract
Procedure: Assign students to groups of two or three to work together. Read directions aloud (refer to Appendix) to the class. Ask students if there are any questions about the procedure.
Students will measure and add the evaporated milk, sugar, and margarine to their bowl. They will mix them with their spoon. After mixing well they will give to the teacher to have it placed in the microwave for about 30-45 seconds, then stir it again. This part will be repeated about 3-4 more times, re-heating and mixing. While one student is mixing, the other student can get prepared for the rest of the activity. The nuts (if used) can be broken down into small pieces while in a plastic bag. The chocolate chips, and marshmallows will be measured and added to their bowl with the rest of their ingredients, the vanilla extract being last. Each student can take turns mixing until their fudge has combined. While this is occurring the teacher can check for understanding by asking the groups what is exactly occurring now? Or how is this similar to the rock cycle? While a student holds the bowl another uses the spoon to scrape their "magma" onto their wax paper. Another sheet of the wax paper will be added on top of their cooling rocks and then will be labeled with students' names and their class period. Finally they will carry their sheet of igneous rocks to a cooling area, like the refrigerator in the science prep room. The rocks will need to set for 24 hours on a nice flat spot in the refrigerator. Then the fudge can be sliced and divided among the group members the next day in class.