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Name: Eric
Status: Educator
Age: 30s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
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 d├ęcor). 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 on).

Have fun!
Pat Rowe

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