Rock Cycle - Rocks (1B)
Pre Lab 

  • Describing characteristics of the three different types of rocks
  • Exploring vocabulary words.
  • flat
  • glassy
  • holes
  • layers
  • mineral
  • 2 sheets of paper
  • crayons

Students make a list of some characteristics of rocks


Rocks are made of minerals. When the minerals are visible, they can be used to identify the rocks. However, many times you cannot distinguish minerals easily. There are other clues that you can use to help identify them.

For instance, obsidian or volcanic glass, is one of the few rocks that looks like glass. Obsidian is usually, but not always, a deep black. Sedimentary rocks sometimes are "gritty" or feel like sand. So students should being to feel rocks to get a sense of their texture. Metamorphic rocks tend to be "shiny" like a rock that has many rhinestones.

  1. Review the vocabulary words and other words that might be helpful to distinguish the rocks and minerals in your collection.
  2. For each student (or group of students) print two copies of the chart on the following page.
  3. Instruct each student to write the following terms in each of the blank spaces. Define each of the words and emphasize the meaning of definitions with respect to rocks.

black, glassy

red with holes

large with minerals

white, flat, light

pebbles, glued together

sand, glued together

flat, layers


gray and white, fizzes

On the other sheet have them write the following:











  1. Have students paste the two sides together and they will have the descriptive terms on one side and the rock type of the other. If students glue them together "granite" should match "with large minerals," "marble" should match "with gray and white, fizzes," etc. They will use these in lab.
  2. During lab, the children will need to use the sheets that they will be making. You can actually have the students divide the paper into the 9 squares by slowly going through drawing the lines. If students have not learned how to use a ruler this is a great time to teach them. Otherwise, give them 2 sheets with boxes already drawn.

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