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Rock Cycle

Name of Corresponding Unit Plan: Natural History & Geology

Grade Level: 5-12

Common Core Standards:

RI5. 9. Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.
W4.8. Recall information from experiences or gather information from print and digital sources; take brief notes on sources and sort evidence into provided categories.
SL4. 1. Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
SL4.4. Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.
RS9-10. 3. Follow precisely a complex multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks, attending to special cases or exceptions defined in the text.
RS9-10. 4. Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context.

Content Areas: Science

Recommended Length/Duration: 50 minutes

Learning Goals: Students will learn about the Rock Cycle and the three categories by which rocks are typically identified.


  1. Remind students that the Earth is very old and although it seems to change little over a human life time, it is in constant change in “Earth Time.” Earthquakes, volcanoes, continental shifts, and the weathering of rocks are all occurring, but at a pace we rarely notice.
  2. Distribute Rock Cycle articles and worksheets.
  3. Have students read the article and take notes as they work.
  4. Discuss student responses clarifying and adding as needed. Emphasize the three types of rock: igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic as the way scientists classify rocks.

Assessments: Informal Assessment of participation and understanding of key ideas.

Materials/Resources: Hand Lenses, Rock samples, Rock Cycle Worksheet (pdf)

Special Considerations: Discuss safety in handling the rocks in case there are any sharp or otherwise dangerous samples in the collection.