IMG_0281If you are a follower of my blog then you probably read about my 3rd graders reading National Geographic Kids Rocks and Minerals last semester.  It was a big hit with my 3rd graders and thought I could use it with my 2nd graders.  I had mapped IMG_1294out what I wanted to do with them and had planned to do a lot of the same stuff, but one of the things I realize the longer I teach is how much teaching evolves as you do something and how the interests and questions of the kids somewhat guides the way you teach.

We started out with an indepth study on where we find rocks and then the differences between Igneous, Sedimentary, and Metamorphic rocks along with the rock cycle and minerals.  The more we read the more students were asking about different rocks, minerals, and gemstones.  They were so curious about the difference among rocks.

The thing I have really noticed about this set of five 2nd graders, which I truly appreciate, is how hands-on they are and how curious they are.  I am constantly taking notes of questions they have that arent answered in our readings that I have to research and bring back to them or that we research together.  So with all these questions I thought it was necessary that we research about the different types of rocks and then do an indepth analysis and categorization of different rocks/minerals/gemstones.

IMG_0274I ordered a pack of 20 rocks/gemstones from Amazon and once they arrived students were given one rock at a time to analyze, categorize, and write about.  They were given 2 minutes to study the rock before then needing to write about it.  Although they didn’t get a chance to write about all 20 rocks in the box due to time, they were able to write about several of them.

After they had analyzed and written about their rocks they were able to discuss what they had noticed with another group member.  The chattering about rocks was so focused that I had a hard time getting them to STOP talking about rocks.

I was even impressed when on day 2 of rock analysis one of the 2nd graders brought in her own rocks she found outside and wanted everyone in the group to take one and analyze it for themself.  IMG_0275Wow!

Since the kids were so enthusiastic about studying different rocks I ordered some geodes online as well and thought it would be fun for students to crack their own geodes and be able to study and write about those as well and then be able to take them home.

Today we were able to take the rocks outside and hammer away at some geodes.  We had one particular geode that we had a difficult time cracking open.  After several attempts there were lots of cheers when it finally cracked open.  We cracked open 2 geodes (picture at the top) and the comments I kept hearing were 1. I wasn’t expecting them to be ugly on the outside, but pretty on the inside, and 2. I had no idea they were going to be sparkly and have so many different colors.

IMG_0279Students were able to discuss their findings with a group member before selcting a geode piece to take home with them.  One of the students noticed that the geode left marks on the cement which turned into a coversation about how the cement was made out of rocks and how the geode was less hard which allowed the cement to scratch it.  This was based off our learning that diamonds are the hardest rock and can scratch steel.  I have really enjoyed these last couple of weeks as we’ve been researching, writing, reading, and exploring the world around us.