rocks & minerals

Grades k-5

Grade K-2: Properties of Rocks

This lesson centers on students making detailed observations of rocks. Through their observations, students will begin to develop an understanding there are many types of rocks with a multitude of different attributes. Although students in the K-2 level are not yet ready to learn about the names of different kinds of rocks or the geological reasons for different rock formations, they are ready to understand there are many sizes and shapes of rocks in our environment. They are able to recognize that our earth has sand, which is very small particles of rock; pebbles and small rocks that they may find in the dirt; and large mountains.


Activity 1: Students will bring in their own rocks and make observation about size, shapes, and characteristics.

Activity 2: Using their rock collection from Activity 1, the students will sort the rocks into groups with common characteristics and differences.

Activity 3: Using a rock from Activity 2, the students will describe in detail the characteristics of their rock, measure it using a paperclip ruler, and compare its weight to other students’ rocks.


Lesson 1: The students will explore and know the uses by identifying a rock from clues generated by class members and creating different uses for their rocks.

Lesson 2: Students will write a story called “If I were a rock…” including what the rock would be used for if the student were a rock. In this lesson, they will explore different characteristics which determine the uses of a rock.

Grade 3-5: Rock Cycle and Rock Testing

Basic: Using inquiry/discovery, the students will be able to identify the three different types of rocks by looking at rock characteristics and processes of formation. They will observe rock samples and categorize them according to their common characteristics.

Advanced: The students will use the Mohs Scale of Mineral Hardness to determine the hardness of various minerals provided in the kit.


4. 2: Describe and measure the physical properties of the Earth’s basic materials (including soil, rock, water, and gases) and the resources they provide.

  1. Identify that soil is made from rocks

  2. Identify that different rocks exist (color, texture)

  3. Compare and classify rocks based on color and texture

Equipment Provided in the Kit

  • Nails

  • 25 Pennies

  • 20 Handheld lens (plastic covers on)

  • 6 Toothbrushes

  • Sand Bucket

  • Chalk

  • 8 Red cans

  • Student Balance

  • “Everybody Needs a Rock” by Byrd Baylor

  • Strawberry “weigh” basket

  • Collection of Rocks – larger kit

  • Fluorescent Long and Short Wave – small kit

  • UV lamp – black bag

  • Adapter for UV light

  • 4 Small Hardness Rock kits

  • “Using Rocks” by Sharon Katz Cooper

  • Rock Cycle Model Activity Set

  • Rock and Minerals Name Game

  • Rock Cycle 3-D Model display


Rocks and Minerals Lesson Plan Grades K-1
Rocks and Minerals Lesson Plan Grades 2-3
Rocks and Minerals Lesson Plan Grades 4-5

KWL Chart
Rocks Let’s Take a Closer Look
Sorting Challenge
My Rock
Rock Interview Worksheet
Creative Uses For My Rock
Rock Vocabulary
Rock Formations
What is this Rock – Reference Sheet
What is this Rock Activity
What is this Rock – Cards
Mohs Scale #1
Mohs scale #2

for more information:

Lauren Rivers, STEM Enrichment Director