Date: October 20, 2004
I wanted to show my students (please keep in mind they are 9) the
transformation of specific minerals during the rock cycle.
I found this web site for you. It looks like a good site for kids. Scroll
down to find a link to a nice rock cycle with an explanation that looks about
right for nine-year olds. There is also a short rock cycle song--maybe too
cute, but have a look. The teacher link there did not work, but you can find
lots of other sites if you need more info yourself.
You have a good idea already to show examples of parts of the rock cycle. I
think I would go with an igneous rock, like granite, to sand (sediment), to
sandstone (sedimentary rock), to gneiss (metamorphic), then melting back to
magma to create igneous granite again. While the coal idea is a good one,
there are grades of coal ranging from sedimentary to metamorphic, and
diamonds are actually metamorphic minerals found in igneous environments.
That analogy is good for tracing how material can change through the rock
cycle, but not really a good one for getting the rock cycle idea across. The
granite cycle is classic and simple. You can then also introduce sandstone
and gneiss going back to sediment across the middle of the rock cycle, to
form other rocks (do the simple cycle first, then introduce this one). You
can probably find samples of granite, sand, sandstone and gneiss in places
like pet stores (fish tanks)or home centers (these materials are used in
gardens and home décor). There are other examples of rocks that you can
trace through the rock cycle, but this one is probably the easiest for you to
do, and shows it SO clearly.
If you want to bring in fossils involved in the rock cycle, I would suggest
limestone (sedimentary) with marble as the metamorphic material. It is
difficult to show the igneous part of this one though, as the limestone comes
from sea life and lime muds, not directly from igneous.
If you look around on the Internet, you may find some activities. For
kinesthetic learners, you can do a "rock cycle walk" where kids "become" the
rock or sediment as they walk station to station to look at the rock types
and sediment you have placed around the room and for which you have written a
story with facts (e.g. something like: Igneous Rock. It is really hot here,
and it is getting hotter. If it gets much hotter, you will melt... and so
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