Rocks

Science Year 3 Rocks and Fossils

Create an amazing rock and fossil museum to which you can invite other classes, parents and family, or even members of your local community like the Natural History or Geology Society! Each session you will build up your knowledge to become expert museum curators and make exhibits, quizzes and activities for your exciting pop-up museum.

Session 1 Become rock stars!

Objectives

Begin your quest to become rock and fossil experts and start to build up exhibits for your Amazing Rock and Fossil Museum by observing, grouping, drawing, describing and naming rock samples.

Science Objectives
i) Compare and group together different kinds of rocks on the basis of appearance and simple physical properties.

Working Scientifically

  1. Ask relevant questions and use different types of scientific enquiries to answer them.
  2. Make systematic and careful observations.
  3. Record findings using simple scientific language, drawings and labelled diagrams.

You Will Need

Provided Resources

  • S1 Task sheet
  • Task prompt sheet
  • Rock labels with descriptions sheet
  • Rock star template

Additional Resources

  • Small rock samples of: chalk, slate, sandstone, granite, limestone, marble (& flint, basalt & pumice if available)
  • Tambourine
  • Paper plates
  • Magnifying lenses
  • Pastel crayons (or wax crayons)
  • A strong cloth drawstring bag

Teaching and Activities

Teaching

  • Observe rocks closely and discover that they have different qualities and features.
  • Group rocks in different ways according to their observable features.
  • Be able to name 6 common rocks.

Activities

  1. Collectively make a list of questions on rocks that can be answered through a range of scientific enquiries during the course of the topic.
  2. Undertake The Hard Rock Challenge – a game that requires them to begin to observe rocks carefully and group them in different ways according to their features.
  3. Make detailed labelled drawings of 6 common rocks and write descriptions of their observable features.
  4. Learn the names of 6 common rocks whilst playing an active game – Rock Stars!

Investigation - exploring, classifying and identifying
Explore a variety of rocks and group them in different ways according to their observable features and attributes.

Vocabulary
Rock, sandstone, limestone, chalk, granite, slate, marble, classification, observation

Session 2 Rock detectives

Objectives

Discover how different rocks were made by Planet Earth. Design your own fair test for rocks to check their hardness and permeability. Use a rock identification key to learn which type of rock our samples are.

Science Objectives
i) Compare and group together different kinds of rocks on the basis of appearance and simple physical properties.

Working Scientifically

  1. Set up simple practical enquiries and comparative and fair tests.
  2. Make systematic and careful observations.
  3. Use results to draw simple conclusions, make predictions for new values, suggest improvements and raise further questions.

You Will Need

Provided Resources

  • Two task sheets
  • Rock Identification Key

Additional Resources

  • Rock samples - marble, chalk, limestone, slate, granite, sandstone (essential), pumice, basalt, shale, conglomerate (desirable)
  • Magnifying lenses & microscopes
  • Vinegar
  • Plastic beakers, protective goggles & pipettes
  • Water
  • A selection of items to test hardness, e.g. lolly sticks, plastic spoons, nails, sandpaper, small rock labels, compartment trays
  • Paper plates & plastic gloves

Teaching and Activities

Teaching

  • Understand that rocks are formed in 3 different ways.
  • Devise comparative tests for rocks, record and evaluate observations and results.

Activities

  1. Devise their own fair test for the hardness of rocks and put a group of samples in rank order of hardness.
  2. Devise a fair test for permeability and record results and observations in tabular form.
  3. Test rocks with acid (vinegar) to discover if they are made of the shells of dead creatures.
  4. Use a rock identification key to discover what type of rock each sample is.

Investigation - exploring, fair testing, classifying and identifying
Investigate the properties of different rocks with fair testing e.g. permeability, hardness and an acid test for the presence of calcium carbonate. Use a rock identification key.

Vocabulary
Petrologist, man-made rocks, brick, tile, concrete, igneous, sedimentary, metamorphic, permeable, impermeable, acid, erosion, marble, chalk, limestone, slate, granite, sandstone, identification key

Session 3 Rock survey

Objectives

Help Dr Sarah Stone from the British Rock Society to gather important rock data from your area by going out on a Rock Survey! Gather evidence and discover the bedrock in your area and the variety of other rocks used to do different jobs.

Science Objectives
i) Compare and group together different kinds of rocks on the basis of appearance and simple physical properties.

Working Scientifically

  1. Make systematic and careful observations and, where appropriate, take accurate measurements using standard units, using a range of equipment.
  2. Gather, record, classify and present data in a variety of ways to help answer questions.

Extended Writing Opportunities
Recount and letter: Write a letter to Dr Sarah Stone from the British Rock Society about the information you learnt during your rock survey of the local area.

You Will Need

Provided Resources

  • Survey sheet

Additional Resources

  • Mobile phone or portable phone (to make a dummy call)
  • Digital cameras
  • One clipboard between 2 children
  • Pencils or pens
  • Any equipment needed to take children out and about your local area, e.g. high visibility vests, first aid kit

Teaching and Activities

Teaching

  • Collect evidence of the local bedrock and other rocks in the local area by doing a rock survey.
  • Use knowledge of the properties of rocks to determine why particular rocks were selected for different tasks.

Activities

  1. Take part in an active quiz game to assess and reinforce prior learning on rocks.
  2. Undertake a rock survey of the local area to answer questions on the local bedrock and other rocks seen.
  3. Determine why particular rocks and man-made rocks were used for particular purposes.

Investigation - classifying and identifying
Go on a rock walk in the local vicinity to identify different rocks for different purposes. Record findings.

Vocabulary
Survey, petrologist, data, database

Session 4 Fantastic fossils

Objectives

Meet the great fossil hunter Mary, Anning, ask questions and discover fascinating facts about her life and work. Learn how fossils are made and make your own one from plaster of Paris.

Science Objectives
i) Describe in simple terms how fossils are formed when things that have lived are trapped within rock.

Working Scientifically

  1. Report on findings from enquiries, including oral and written explanations, displays or presentations of results and conclusions.

You Will Need

Provided Resources

  • Copies of the task sheets

Additional Resources

  • Thank you card from Dr Stone (optional)
  • Costume props to play Mary Anning
  • A selection of seashells with distinctive shapes, e.g. cockles
  • A quantity of Plasticine & small rolling pins
  • Flat boards or trays
  • Thick card & paper clips
  • Plaster of Paris (or alternative)
  • Poster paint in shades of brown/ grey/ ochre

Teaching and Activities

Teaching

  • Discover the contribution to science of the great 19th century fossil hunter Mary Anning.
  • Understand the process of fossil formation and be able to describe it in simple terms.

Activities

  1. Engage (through role play) with the great fossil hunter Mary Anning and ask questions to discover her story.
  2. Learn how fossils are made and record by writing and illustrating the stages or through sequencing a text.
  3. Make their own “fossil” of a shell using a plasticine mould and plaster of Paris.
  4. Handle real fossils and rehearse the stages of fossil formation through oral retelling.

Investigation - analysing secondary sources
Learn about how fossils are made and the life and contribution of the great fossil hunter Mary Anning.

Vocabulary
Fossil, ichthyosaur, plesiosaur, ammonite, sediment, minerals, mould, cast

Session 5 Soil detectives

Objectives

It’s time to put your scientific detection skills to the test with some exciting soil investigation activities. Discover the answers to some important questions about soil and learn just how important it is to life on our planet!

Science Objectives
i) Recognise that soils are made from rocks and organic matter.

Working Scientifically

  1. Make systematic and careful observations and, where appropriate, take accurate measurements using standard units, using a range of equipment.
  2. Gather, record, classify and present data in a variety of ways to help answer questions.
  3. Identify differences, similarities or changes related to simple scientific ideas and processes.
  4. Use straightforward scientific evidence to answer questions or to support findings.

You Will Need

Additional Resources

  • Soil samples – see Teacher’s Notes
  • Flip chart and marker pens
  • A3 white paper
  • Lidded tubs to store soil for the Soil Detective activity (one per group)
  • One per child of: plastic spoon, sheet of A4 paper, plastic gloves & a magnifying lens
  • 3 plastic funnels & 3 plastic beakers
  • 3 balls of cotton wool
  • 3 finely calibrated measuring cylinders
  • Plastic jars with tightly fitting screw lids
  • Some non standard measures of capacity, e.g. a scoop, a small cup, a tablespoon.

Teaching and Activities

Teaching

  • Investigate, discover and classify the different components of soil.
  • Gather evidence on how different soils can vary and suggest reasons for this.

Activities

  1. Play a guessing game to learn some amazing facts about soil and the crucial role it plays in supporting life.
  2. Closely observe soil with hand lenses and list and classify the constituent parts.
  3. Actively investigate and compare 3 different soils and their properties, recording findings.
  4. With support, draw conclusions on the reasons for variation between soils.

Investigation - exploring/classifying and identifying/fair testing
Investigate different soils, asking questions and seeking answers through a variety of scientific enquiries (exploring/ classifying and identifying /fair testing)

Vocabulary
Soil, micro-organisms, organic matter, particles, sand, silt, fair test, compare, sort, predict

Session 6 Amazing rock and fossil museum!

Objectives

It’s time to get ready for the opening of the Amazing Rock and Fossil Museum. Divide into groups and work as a team to plan and prepare your exhibits and activities. How can you share your learning and give visitors an exciting Rock and Fossil experience?

Science Objectives
i) Compare and group together different kinds of rocks on the basis of appearance and simple physical properties.

ii) Describe in simple terms how fossils are formed when things that have lived are trapped within rock.

iii) Recognise that soils are made from rocks and organic matter.

Working Scientifically

  1. Report on findings from enquiries, including oral and written explanations, displays or presentations of results and conclusions.

Extended Writing Opportunities
Persuasive writing: Create a poster advertising your Amazing Rock and Fossil Museum.
Non–chronological writing: Write a summary information piece about Rocks and Fossils and create an information booklet that you can give to all the visitors to your Amazing Rock and Fossil Museum.

You Will Need

Additional Resources

  • 10 labelled cardboard folders
  • All the children’s work produced over previous sessions
  • Survey results
  • A 2nd labelled folder of useful supporting resources from each session
  • Photographs (taken by the children) of rock survey buildings and close ups of their materials – in a folder marked Rock Quest
  • Access to computers and printers
  • Mary and Joseph Anning costume props
  • A wide selection of paper and card in white and different colours
  • Corrugated card (for display)
  • A paper trimmer
  • Portable display boards (optional) and some table display space
  • Rock samples, soil samples & fossils
  • Magnifiers
  • Plastic gloves
  • Spoons
  • Containers & shake up jars
  • Plastic beakers, plastic funnels & pipettes
  • Vinegar
  • Balls of cotton wool
  • A selection of items to test hardness (see unit 2)

Teaching and Activities

Teaching

  • Recap on all our previous learning and vocabulary by playing a Rock, Fossil and Soil Quiz.
  • Work as a team to share learning with visitors by creating exhibits and activities.

Activities

  1. Recap on or assess all the learning in this block by doing a Rock, Fossil and Soil Quiz (see Teachers’ Notes).
  2. Work in a team to plan and prepare a display of exhibits and activities for visitors to the Amazing Rock and Fossil Museum.
  3. Share learning through written and oral presentations to a real audience.

Investigation - analysing secondary sources
Assemble a variety of exciting exhibits for the Rock and Fossil Museum.

Vocabulary
All vocabulary previously learnt in this block

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