Earth Science

S3E1. Students will investigate the physical attributes of rocks and soils.

a. Explain the difference between a rock and a mineral.

b. Recognize the physical attributes of rocks and minerals using observation (shape, color, texture), measurement, and simple tests (hardness).

c. Use observation to compare the similarities and differences of texture, particle size, and color in top soils (such as clay, loam or potting soil, and sand).

d. Determine how water and wind can change rocks and soil over time using observation and research.

Hands-on Investigations

Effects of Water & Weathering - Student will investigate the effects of erosion on different types of soils (S3E1d).


OneGeology for Kids – Rocks and Minerals – great visual resource for teaching basics about rocks and minerals (S3E1)

Rock Cycle - Rock Cycle is an interactive Web site where students can learn all about rocks and geology, the science of rocks. They will learn how rocks can be identified, how they are formed, and how they change over time. Students will identify the three major kinds of rocks and learn how to tell them apart. They will also discover how the different types of rocks are formed. Students will learn what kind of changes can happen to rocks, and about the processes that cause these changes. (S3E1.b)

Rock Hound – The Rock Cycle – graphic showing the rock cycle; links to much more are available on the site. (S3E1.b)

Rock Around Park – This interactive helps students see how rocks can change over time due to erosion. (S3E1.d)

Exploring Earth Visualizations – Interactives to show how the three different types of rocks are formed. (S3E1.b)

The Great Plant Escape – Soil Types – great visual to help students distinguish between the particle size in different types of soil. (S3E1.c)

Trade books to check out:
Let's Go Rock Collecting by Roma Gans (Houghton Mifflin, 1999)
Everybody Needs a Rock by Byrd Baylor (Aladdin Books, 1985)
The Big Rock by Bruce Hiscock (Aladdin Books, 1999)