Rocks and Minerals
Lesson Plans Rock vs. Mineral – Lesson #1

Rocks and Minerals Lesson Plans give students opportunities to use words to describe visual, textural, and other physical qualities of sample rock specimens. Using compare and contrast skills, students will sort and classify the specimens according to their assessments of the qualities present in each. Students will use simple symbols to create a Venn diagram for classification.


Direct Aims of Rocks and Minerals Lesson Plans #1
  • To use observation to sort and classify a group of rocks and minerals
  • Using comparisons to make groups


Indirect Aims Rocks and Minerals Lesson Plans # 1
  • Preparation for the distinction between mineral (one element or compound) and rock (composed of various minerals).
  • Preparation for types of rocks: igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic.


Materials Needed: Rocks and Minerals Lesson Plans #1
  1. A collection of rocks and minerals.
  2. A magnifying glass for each student.
  3. Chart paper for recording student observations.
  4. Small cards to write an observation for sorting.
  5. Pieces of paper with large shapes for grouping the specimens.


Rocks and Minerals Lesson Plans #1 The Lesson
  • Layout the specimens on a rug.

  • Ask the students to look closely at the specimens and to think of words or phrases that could be used to describe the specimens.

  • Record their words. (Here are a few significant observations you might want to throw in if they don’t happen to mention them: made of one “thing”, made of two or more “things”, tiny grains, no grains, pieces of other rocks (or fossils), regular shape, irregular shape)

  • Choose one of the observations. Write it on a card. Lay the card next to or inside of one of the large paper shapes.

  • Place all the specimens that fit that observation inside the shape.

  • Choose another observation. Write it on another card. Repeat the process above, laying the specimens inside the large shape.

  • Note if specimens move from one large shape to another.
    When they do, overlap the shapes like a Venn Diagram. Place the specimens that “moved” in the overlapping space.

  • Students may choose to repeat this activity on their own. If all observations are written out on cards, students will also get reading practice. Older students can record their observations using the names of the specimens.


More Rocks and Minerals Lesson Plans

Rocks Blog

What Is A Rock?

Rock Cycle

Earth's Interior

Igneous Rocks

Metamorphic Rocks

Sedimentary Rocks

Rock Gallery

Rock Shops

Rock Links

Lesson Plans

Crossword Puzzles