Learning Rocks!

Anyone else have a rock collection as a kid? I know I did, and now my littles are starting their own (mainly by stealing all of our landscaping rocks and hiding them in their rooms! LoL) For some reason kids love rocks, and honestly the variety and beauty of the types of rocks and minerals you can find in nature is astounding- so I knew we had to do a rock week! Dive in with us as we count, sort, paint on and write about these cool things that make up so much of Earth’s crust! Rock on y’all!

Literacy:

-r- and -ock word families: I split the word “rock” into its beginning and ending sounds, then had my littles think of words that went with each family.

-Rockin’ ABC recognition: I wrote the alphabet with sidewalk chalk, then called out letters in a random order and had my littles find them and mark them with rocks.

-Pet rock writing: Have your little find a rock outside, then complete this Pet Rock worksheet from Teachers Pay Teachers.

-Read and retell “Stone Soup”: We read this retelling of “Stone Soup”, then I had my littles retell the story.

-All About Rocks nonfiction writing: Each day this week, I had my little write a fact he knew about rocks and illustrate it. By day 4, we had a book!

-Rocks book list: The Magic School Bus and nonfiction rock book are a bit long, so we split them into two days each.

Math:

-Subtraction rocks: I printed a “rock” subtraction page (they’re really just circles, but it worked!) where the first number was shown with the “rocks”, then you crossed off the amount of the second number to solve.

-Rock number ordering: I wrote the numbers 1-10 on rocks and then wrote 1-10 in order on the ground and had my three-year-old match them as we identified each number together. Then my five-year-old added rocks with 11-20 written on them afterwards.

-Stone soup recipe: After reading and retelling “Stone Soup” for literacy, we followed this recipe and made stone soup (minus the stone) for lunch! I had my little find all the fractions on our measuring cups for adding the ingredients and I had them help me count the cups of water we poured in. You can substitute ingredients as you wish- we actually didn’t have potatoes, so we used 1/2 cup of rice instead. Also the pepper was a tad spicy after simmering if your kids don’t care for spicy food!

-Rock pile counting: Give your little a pile of rocks and have them count them. Younger preschoolers can start with smaller piles of 10 to 20, older preschoolers can count larger groups up to 100. I had my little count two groups. Before he counted the second group, I had him estimate how many were in it based on the first group he counted. After counting I had him tell which one was greater.

-Rock, paper, scissors graphing: I downloaded and printed this rock, paper, scissors graphing activity from Teachers Pay Teachers. Then my little and I played 20 times. He tallied his wins, losses, and draws- then graphed them. I also asked him the questions on the question page about his graph when he was done.

Science/Social studies:

-Volcano diagram labeling: I drew a volcano on chart paper, then wrote all the parts on sticky notes. We defined all of the parts, then I had my littles take turns labeling them.

-Weathering experiment: We discussed what weathering is and what things in nature may weather rocks (wind, rain, waves, river water, other rocks, people, animals). Then we discussed how some rocks are harder than others and tested it out by trying to scratch or scrape off pieces of different rocks we found with a screwdriver (a nail would work too if you’re careful). After testing each rock you could also sort them from harder to softer.

-Rock sorting: You can use rocks in your yard for this one, but I have a collection of pretty ones from my classroom that made it a little more fun! (You can snag some on Amazon for a little over $10) You just give your little a pile of rocks and ask them to sort them however they like, then tell you how they’re sorting. Then have them sort the rocks in a different way. We also brainstormed like 5 more ways we could sort them.

-Sedimentary rock in a jar: This is such a cool demonstration (and one I used to do in my 2nd grade classroom!) You have your little fill a jar randomly with sand, dirt and rocks (we just used stuff from our yard) and talk about how rivers wear different rocks away, and how some of the pieces are bigger, some are smaller, some are lighter, some are heavier. Then you add in your “river water” and give your jar a shake- all the sediments will be mixed up and muddy, but if you let it sit for a few hours, they’ll settle into layers (usually sand and rocks at the bottom, and topsoil on top). You can use the jar to discuss how sedimentary rocks are formed when different layers of sand and dirt compress over time and turn back into rock.

-STEM rock stacking: Give your little the challenge of stacking 6 rocks they find outside (or 5…6 was pretty tricky!)

Art:

-Grow a crystal: Many rocks contain crystals because the minerals in them organize themselves as the rock cools or metamorphosizes. You can grow your own crystals in a few hours with Borax! Just boil some water and stir in Borax (a mineral based cleaning detergent) until no more will dissolve (the water won’t turn clear anymore, but remain cloudy). This is called a saturated solution. Let the water cool a bit (so it’s warm but not too hot), then carefully pour it into a plastic cup so that it’s 3/4 or so full. Tie a string to a pencil and carefully suspend it in the center of the cup (don’t let it touch the bottom). Check on it every 30 minutes or so and watch crystals form before your eyes!

-Candy rock mandala: I bought some candy rocks on Amazon so my littles would be able to do this with some fun colors. You just give them the rocks and have them place one in the center of a paper plate, then make concentric circles around the center stone to create a mandala.

-Make a picture with rocks: I had my littles use rocks to create a picture outside… this one is a magnifying glass!

-Rock painting: I had my littles each choose a rock from outside, then paint it however they liked.

-Make a “rock”: Give your little some natural colored playdough (if you’ve been following me the chocolate or vanilla playdough from Baking Week work great!), have them make a rock shape, then leave it out to dry!

Extras:

-Letter of the week: Ww, each day we do a different activity focused on our letter- introduction/have your little practice it on the chalkboard (or white board), think of words that start with the letter and make a list, workbook letter writing practice, workbook word writing practice.

-Word of the week: her, each day we do a different activity focused on our word- introduction/sound the word out/have your little practice writing it on the chalkboard or whiteboard, word family list- think of other words that rhyme with your word of the week, use the word in a sentence (have your little come up with the sentence and write it for them) then have your little illustrate the sentence, and workpage practice.

-Bible verse: This month’s Bible verse is “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility, consider others as more important than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3 I write each word in the verse on a post-it, stick them to the wall then have my little point to each word and read it each day all month.

-Character trait of the month: consideration…this word is reviewed and posted at the start of the month then each time one of my littles freely demonstrates generosity I use the word to specifically praise what they’re doing and encourage the trait in them. (ie. “That was very considerate of you to split your cookie with me!”)

Supply/shopping list:

  • the book “Stone Soup”
  • 26 rocks
  • sidewalk chalk
  • stone soup recipe ingredients
  • nail
  • mason or other clear jar
  • dirt
  • sand
  • small rocks
  • several fun/polished rocks (or just plain ones)
  • playdough (brown or grey or black)
  • borax
  • pencil
  • string or pipe cleaner
  • cup
  • rock jelly beans

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