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This lesson provided by:
Author:Anetra Montgomery
System: St Clair County
School: Springville Elementary School
Lesson Plan ID: 24021

The Rockin' Rock Cycle: Metamorphic Rocks


The rock cycle consists of igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks. This lesson will focus on metamorphic rocks and how they form.
This lesson plan was created as a result of the Girls Engaged in Math and Science, GEMS Project funded by the Malone Family Foundation.

Content Standard(s):
SC(3) 11. Describe Earth's layers, including inner and outer cores, mantle, and crust.
TC2(3-5) 10. Use digital environments to collaborate and communicate.
ELA2015(3) 38. Demonstrate command of the conventions of Standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing. [L.3.2]
Local/National Standards:

As a result of their activities in grades K-4, all students should develop an understanding of properties of earth materials.

Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will predict and observe changes in their rocks when exposed to heat and pressure.
Students will create "rocks" using pre-selected materials.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

Students will work cooperatively in small groups. Students will listen and follow multi-step instructions.

Approximate Duration of the Lesson: 31 to 60 Minutes
Materials and Equipment:

Diagram illustrating the rock cycle-see attached under step #1
Samples of metamorphic rocks-samples can be purchased at Delta Education
Magnifying lenses (1 per group)
Modeling clay (enough for every 2 students to form a small ball)
Wax paper (2 sheets for every group)
Chocolate chips (6 per group)
Large books (3 per group)

Technology Resources Needed:

Computer(s) with Internet access


Metamorphic rocks are formed when pre-existing rocks are subjected to heat and pressure below the earth’s crust. Some examples of metamorphic rock can be found by visiting this website.
For a quick review of the rock cycle you can refer to the chart created in the lesson on sedimentary rocks or review the process at this website


1.) At the start of this lesson, review the rock cycle using one of the sample charts. Tell the class that today’s experiment will simulate the changes caused in igneous and sedimentary rocks by heat and pressure.
(Rock Cycle)
Visit this website to view different samples of the rock cycle.

2.) Break the class into cooperative groups. Have the wax paper, clay, and chocolate chips on individual trays for each group and place at each station/table. In front of the class, model how to create a rock by rolling the clay in your hands and then inserting three chips in your “rock”. (One rock should be made for every two students.) Allow about 5 minutes for the “rocks” to be created.

3.) When finished, place one “rock” from each group on top of the other “rock” made in that group.

4.) Ask students what they think will happen to their “rocks” after you allow them to sit for 15 minutes in a sunny window. Write their predictions on the board. Place the rocks on wax paper and allow them to sit for 15 minutes in a sunny spot.

5.) While the “rocks” are being exposed to heat from the sun, pass out the metamorphic rock samples, slate, granulate, marbles, and hand lenses. Observe these rocks and have students list their properties inside his/her journals. Compare them to the properties of sedimentary and igneous rocks you have observed in previous lessons. Discuss the differences.

6.) Bring students to the computer lab or use the ones you have available in your classroom to research the different types of metamorphic rocks by reading this article.
Ask them to write down any new information inside their journal.
Find examples of metamorphic rocks

7.) Return the rocks to the appropriate cooperative groups and observe what changes have occurred. Compare them to their predictions. Place the second piece of wax paper on the top of the rocks and ask students to predict what will happen when pressure is applied. Record these remarks. Then place 3 heavy books on top of their rocks and set them aside for a few minutes. Ask the children to explain how this experiment is similar to the metamorphic process.

8.) Discuss how long this process would take to occur in nature and ask for explanations as to why it would take thousands of years for real rocks to be formed. Finally, examine what has happened to their “rocks”. Compare the changes to their predictions.

9.) To finalize the lessons in this series, have students blog (see attached web link for a brief description of blogging) their findings using the LiveJournal website.
You control the privacy levels and who’s allowed to see the content.
(Live Journal)
Use this website to blog.

Attachments:**Some files will display in a new window. Others will prompt you to download. Scoring Rubric-cooperative group work.rtf
Assessment Strategies:

Assessment: RUBRIC – Cooperative Group Work (see attached)


Students who already know most of the content can assist others during the lesson/activity. Have these students research other ways to create metamorphic rocks using different materials.


Meet with students who may need additional support before beginning the lesson and have them look at photos, diagrams, books, etc. related to metamorphic rocks.

Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior

Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.
Variations Submitted by ALEX Users:
Alabama Virtual Library
Alabama Virtual Library

Hosted by Alabama Supercomputer Authority
The University of Alabama at Birmingham
The University of Alabama at Birmingham
The Malone Family Foundation
The Malone Family Foundation
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