It is important for children to realize that rocks with the same
name may look different. One piece of the igneous rock granite may look
different from a piece of granite from another location. Some granites are
pink and orange, while others are mainly white with a few dark minerals.
Rocks are named because of their mineral composition, and that is sometimes
very hard to identify, even for a geologist!
The mystery of identifying rocks can easily be solved if students learn
the building blocks of how they were formed. In the lower grades, the
constant exposure to different types of rocks is important so students don’t
just get one picture of that rock. You will find that students will bring in
many rocks for you to identify. The information below with the guidance of
the Mineral and Rock Kit will help you identify many of their
- Before lab, prepare display specimens of rocks for students to
- Review the specimens that you used during the lab. Make sure you
describe the environments where each rock was created.
IGNEOUS - granite, scoria, obsidian
SEDIMENTARY - sandstone, conglomerate, shale
METAMORPHIC - marble, schist, gneiss
- Show students different examples of the rocks that they saw during the
lab. Use the Mineral and Rock Display Kit or other specimens. Emphasize
that two rocks with the same name may look different.
- If students bring in rocks and minerals for you to identify, have the
students look at the minerals and rocks in the kit. Have the students
try and reason if their rock looks like one of the specimens. You may
want to leave the Mineral and Rock kit out, so students can bring in
specimens to identify. Remember, it is "OK" to say you don’t
- Have the students draw their own favorite rock environments, using the
worksheet as a guide.