This is a lesson that I used for the first time this year and the kids loved it. It really showed how 3-D objects can be represented using a 2-D map. I also showed some examples of topo maps and how they may use one if they go camping, hiking, geocaching, etc… I gave each student a canister of Play Doh and a thin craft stick. They created their own mountain and then made about 5-8 sections, depending on the height, and used either the craft stick or their pinky to determine the intervals for each section. I demonstrated the whole process and stressed the importance of having a center mark and a notch down the side so that they can line up each section correctly when they trace it.
Once they were done, I collected their maps and gave them someones elses map and they had to try to create the mountain using only the topo map. I had bought a box of 24 Play Doh canisters, but didn’t realize (until I opened the box) that they were about 3/4th the size of a full size Play Doh canister. Luckily, it was enough for them to work with. For the same price, I should have bought 6 -4 packs ($2.49 each) and got the bigger size.
Please see the pics below of the activity.
Notebook and links:
pg. 158 – Playdoh Mountains/Topo Maps , great teacher resource with handouts that I hung up as a visual aid
pg. 159 – Practice: Topo Maps
This was the first time I tried a core sample activity and it worked out really well. I used bite sized Milky Way Regular and Midnight bars. I cut a regular sized straw into thirds since you don’t need the whole length. I also placed them in the fridge to make them a little firmer, showed the kids how to twist and gently push down. It takes some patience to avoid the candy bar from caving in.
Needless to say the kids enjoyed the sweet treat and we learned a little bit more about core samples and why they are used, where they are used, and what type of information they provide for us. Core samples are not only used for rocks and mining, but ice cores, trees cores, and soil samples to name a few.
pg. 156 – Core Samples- Candy Bar Activity
pg. 157 – Practice: Core Samples
As part of our Rocks Unit, I set up a stations lab where the students learn more about the three different types of rocks and research 4 of each kind. The kids work at their own pace and can look at the rocks in any order they want, as well as travel with a partner or small group of 3. For two class periods, the kids learn about each rock and ways to remember how to identify them. At each station, I have a rocks and minerals identification book to help with their research for each rock.
When they are done, they practice naming the rocks and categorizing them into igneous, sedimentary, or metamorphic. I set up a couple of practice stations with index cards and have 12 samples at each station. The students have to place the correct rock onto the index card. Then they have to place the rocks into the three groups by sliding the index cards and rocks around. I leave this set up so that students can come in and practice identifying the rocks until our rocks test.
On the third day, we go over what we learned about each rock with a power point that I made up.
pg. 141 – Types of Rocks Power Point and notes
pg. 142 – Types of Rocks Power Point and notes
pg. 143 - Types of Rocks Power Point and notes
pg. 144 – BrainPOP Rocks – Graphic Organizer
pg. 145 – Rocks Vocabulary Cut ‘n Paste
pg. 146 – Color the Rock Cycle Notes & ppt
pg. 147 – Ride the Rock Cycle Activity, Comic to hand in
pg. 148 – Igneous Rocks, ppt
pg. 149 – Metamorphic Rocks, ppt
pg. 150 – Sedimentary Rocks, ppt
pg. 124 – What is a mineral? Notes & PPT
pg. 125 – Practice: Minerals in your home, Link
pg. 126 – Crystal Shapes Handout
pg. 127 – Graphic Organizer: Crystal Forms
pg. 128 – Graphic Organizer: Silicate Minerals, ppt
pg. 129 – Graphic Organizer: Nonsilicate Minerals
pg. 130 – Minerals Vocab pg. 1
pg. 131 – Minerals Vocab pg. 2
pg. 132 – Mineral Identification Outline
pg. 133 – Practice: Mineral Groups
pg. 134 – Mineral Identification Lab
pg. 135 – Practice: Mohs Scale of Hardness (pg. 17)
pg. 136 – What is mining? PPT, Notes
pg. 137 – Mining in NJ – color code map (pg 2)
folder: Cookie Mining Lab
pg. 138-139 – Little Miners ppt & questions, video
Mineral Poster Research Links
- Geology.com: Minerals
- Minerals: listed by name
- Minerals: A to Z
- Commons Minerals and their uses
- Minerals: Photos
- Minerals: Image Gallery
- Mineral Groups
- USGS: type in the name of your mineral