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Rock and Their Properties: Days 2-4
Grade Level(s): 3–5
In this unit, entitled Rocks and Their Properties, students will engage in cooperative research projects in order to learn about the properties of the three basic rock types and the processes that form them. In order to ensure that students can express what they learned as accurately as possible, a variety of options will be available for communicating their new knowledge.This investigation of the properties of rocks should take 6–7 class periods. The UDL approach used in this unit provides the following:
- presentational options to make information accessible to all students
- varied strategies and techniques to reach all students
- motivational options to ensure that all students can be engaged
- flexible classroom management techniques that increase opportunities for all students
Lesson Description for Day
These lessons will begin with students filling-out a KWL chart (What I Know, What I Want to Learn, What I Learned) as a way to take stock of what they learned in Day 1 about rocks, and to provide a focus for their project research. Students will become familiar with the resources for conducting their research, explore project options, learn roles & responsibilities for group members, and plan and develop their products.
Over the course of the next few days, they will continue to study the resources and develop their findings into polished presentations.
Massachusetts State Standards for Science and Technology/Engineering, Strand 1: Earth and Space Science
- Massachusetts Science Standard 1.3: (Rocks and Their Properties) Identify three categories of rocks (metamorphic, igneous, and sedimentary) based on how they are formed, and explain the natural and physical processes that create these rocks.
- Massachusetts Science 1.6: (Earth's History) Describe and give examples of ways in which the Earth's surface is built up and torn down by natural processes, including deposition of sediments, rock formation, erosion, and weathering.
- Students will describe the natural and physical processes that create metamorphic, igneous, and sedimentary rocks.
- Students will successfully complete a cooperative research project that refines their basic understanding of rock formation processes.
- Students will apply their understanding of the processes that create sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rocks to making predictions about how the rock cycle could be impacted by changes in the forces that contribute to rock formation.
- Students will learn the routines, roles, and responsibilities they need to establish in order to successfully complete their research projects.
- Students will become familiar with available resources and assess what further resources they will need to acquire.
- Students will learn effective strategies for project planning.
(What I Know, What I Want to Learn, What I Learned)
Fill in the first two columns of a KWL chart with the whole class in order to summarize what everyone currently Knows about the three types of rocks, and What they still want to learn. At the end of the lesson today, what the class Learned will be discussed and entered on the chart.
1. Establish Routines and Responsibilities:
Explain that students will work in small groups to learn more in-depth information about how three basic types of rocks are formed. Each group will describe (in writing, orally, and/or visually), at least three 'big ideas' related to their investigation. Explain that a 'big idea' is a general statement that can be made about what they have studied. Big ideas should describe facts as well as contain explanations of why something happens. In addition, for each big idea students generate, they are responsible for providing at least three details that support it.
Before beginning, explain to students that even though they will work in small groups, within their groups, there will be opportunities to work individually or with partners on key elements of the project, in order to ensure that everyone has choices for how to best accomplish their goals. Also let students know that they will be evaluated on the accuracy of the information they present, the quality of their presentations, and on how well they work together as a group.Organize the class into heterogeneous, small groups of no more than 5 students, and make the following assignments:
- Group 1: Big ideas and supporting details related to how igneous rocks are formed.
- Group 2: Big ideas and supporting details related to how sedimentary rocks are formed.
- Group 3: Big ideas and supporting details related to how metamorphic rocks are formed.
- Group 4: Types of rocks that fit in each of the three basic categories.
- Fact checker: checks accuracy of all information for final product
- Scribe: writes outline as group generates it, provides polished copy of final product (based on everyone's input and work)
- Designer: does final art work, video, or PowerPoint editing, or fine-tunes any presentation features
- Presenter(s): students should designate sections of the product for different students to present
- Timeliner: Ensures that the group develops all phases of the work according to the timelines. Checks in with everyone to see if they're on track to meet deadlines for each stage of work: outline of their product, draft, revised/edited copy, and final product according to the teacher's timelines.
* (If possible, provide the above roles as a handout)
2. Preview Resources
Have the books from this lesson's materials list, rock samples, and lists of websites on hand. Provide an overview of the resources—hold up key books and discuss their features, preview one or two of the websites. (Books and websites should represent different reading levels). Point out that students' science textbooks are another resource. Finally, explain that students will need to seek additional resources for their study as needed.
3. Discuss Project Options
Each group can choose from among the following options as ways to present their Big Ideas and Supporting Details. All projects will be presented to the class. Students should also be encouraged to develop their own product ideas, as long as they meet project criteria.
- Use salt map material to construct, paint, summarize, and label a model of a rock formation process.
- Develop power point slides with illustrations, labels, and explanations.
- Develop a multi-media presentation that includes elements such as music, photographs or other illustrations, and a narrator or dramatic overview describing the steps of rock formation.
- Develop a simulated news cast that describes a volcano in process and also overviews the rocks that will be formed as a result. Include sufficient detail so viewers will have a full understanding of the process of igneous rock formation.
- Illustrate and label posters of rock types or formation processes.
- Compile a found rock collection of types of rocks that are examples of each of the rock formation processes. Mount them on presentation board, and provide accompanying labels and descriptions of how they were formed.
- Develop a photographic and text essay showing elements of nature and how they are involved in the formation of their assigned type of rock (ie. photos of rivers, oceans, volcanoes, etc.)
- Develop a book with illustrations, text, and labels of either types of rocks fitting each classification, or of the assigned rock formation process.
- Develop a mock travel brochure that provides a description of an area of the world where the assigned type of rock is found. In the brochure, provide an overview of the history of how the rock was formed.
Have small groups get together and begin planning their projects. Once they're in their small groups, share the attached Project Planning Organizer in order to facilitate students' planning and work flow. Help students work backwards from the final due date in order break their projects into smaller parts.
- facts, concepts, & information collected:
- drafts completed (both text and art):
- polished product
Rotate among the groups in order to determine whether they are developing a solid plan for their projects. Ask questions as needed in order to facilitate their planning.
Students should spend the remainder of the class time today, the next two class periods, and out-of-class time studying their resources, collecting and organizing the information they learn, and generating their products.
Have the class wrap-up by completing the L section of the KWL chart. Ask students to reflect on what they learned today about the properties of rocks and how they're formed, while previewing resources and developing project plans.
As work on the projects continues over the next few class periods, have students continue to add to the KWL chart.
As students work on their projects, maintain ongoing observations of their learning behaviors, questions they ask, and their expressions of new knowledge. Take notes and make decisions about which students need additional support based on these ongoing observations.
Evaluating the Reports:
Use the attached rubric to evaluate students' reports. Attach a copy of the rubric to each report, with each sub score highlighted, so students have a detailed analysis of their projects.