IMG_1454This was the last class before break and the last one on Earth science.  We started class by making sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous rocks with starbursts.  The kids started with 3 starbursts of different colors and cut or ripped them into little pieces.  IMG_1457By lumping these ‘sand’ particles together and pressing lightly they had a sedimentary rock… made of sediments.  Then the students warmed up their starbust rock in their hands and pressed it between wax paper – putting all their weight on it.  Now its a metamorphic rock.
IMG_1460Finally we took one student’s ‘rock’ and placed it on a hotplate to melt it, making ‘magma’, then let it cool into an igneous rock.  You can find lots of videos of this activity on youtube.

The kids taped a picture of the rock cycle into their notebooks along with the data table for the next activity – identifying mineralsdiagram rock cycle.

I have two  mineral sets, one small one I bought to go along with Real Science Odyssey by Pandia Press many years ago and a large one with over 75 minerals.  Both kits came with streak plates and iron nails when I bought them.  The kids worked together in small groups trying to identify the minerals I gave them.  Each mineral has a small sticker on it so we can look it up at the end of class to see if they were correct.  I took the lab straight from Real Science Odyssey Earth & Space Level 1.  IMG_1461The students wrote down a description for each mineral, color, luster, whether it was magnetic or had crystals, what color streak it made on the plates and then they tested the hardness of the mineral.  You do that by comparing it to objects with know hardness, like a fingernail which is 2.2 on the Moh Hardness scale.  So if you can scratch your fingernail with the mineral than its harder than 2.2.  If your fingernail scratches the mineral then the mineral is soft and has a hardness less than 2.2.  They compared their minerals to copper (penny), iron (nail) and a steel file.  Once they had completed the data table for each mineral they compared their results to a data table to identify their mineral.  One of the families brought donuts, so once everybody had cleaned up, we feasted on donuts.

We didn’t have time in class but I asked the kids to watch these videos at home.