Rocks in My Pocket
Grade Levels: 2 - 5
What young child doesn't collect pockets full of rocks? It's easy to find a rock anywhere, but for children years ago rock collecting wasn't about having a neat collection; rather, it was a way of life.
1. Introduce key vocabulary: mining, finding, age limit, mine, excavating.
2. Have students bring in some rocks or, if they collect rocks, ask them to bring their rock collections to school.
3. Have them share their collections in small groups of two to four students. Have them focus on "how" and "where" they collected the rocks.
4. After everyone has had a chance to share, solicit a few "hows" and "wheres" from the group and record them on the chart paper. Discuss the relative ease of finding or purchasing stones the children have. Ask the students if they have any theories about where store-bought rocks might have come from.
5. Introduce the process of mining – or removing precious rocks and gems from larger rocks. Use the analogy and examples of digging a large hole in the ground as construction workers do. Backhoes, bulldozers, and dump trucks move the heavy rock.
6. Ask students for theories on how the rocks were mined before there were large trucks. Record theories on chart paper.
7. Have students go to a mining website.
8. Have students keep track of information.
9. Gather students together when research time is over. As a group, share and discuss findings. Record questions, findings, and wonders on chart paper. Begin discussion with: "What were you surprised to find out?" "How do you earn money?"
Review worksheets to see what students recorded and understood from their research.
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