ALEX Lesson Plan

Science Rocks!

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Nancy Caffee
System: Blount County
School: Blount County Career Technical Center
The event this resource created for:ASTA
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 34690


Science Rocks!


After researching the formation of each type of rock, students use the evidence from knowledge of the rock cycle to write a story about a pet rock. The story will include the rock changing from magma to each type of rock including igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic. Students will present their pet rock story to the class.

This lesson results from a collaboration between the Alabama State Department of Education and ASTA.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
Literacy Standards (6-12)
LIT2010 (2010)
Grade: 6-8
Writing Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects
4 ) Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

Literacy Standards (6-12)
LIT2010 (2010)
Grade: 6-8
Writing Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects
5 ) With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed.

SC2015 (2015)
Grade: 9-12
Earth and Space Science
10 ) Construct an explanation from evidence for the processes that generate the transformation of rocks in Earth's crust, including chemical composition of minerals and characteristics of sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rocks.

Local/National Standards:

Next Generation Science Standards/Earth's Systems

Primary Learning Objective(s):

Learning Targets:

1. I can describe the characteristics of sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rocks.

2. I can use evidence from the transformation from the Earth's crust to explain the formation of sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rocks. 

3. I can write an organized essay.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

Crosscutting Concepts: Stability and Change

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

91 to 120 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Different Types of Rocks (enough for each student or one for each group)

Paper, Pen, Pencil

Construction Paper or Art Supplies for Illustrations

Technology Resources Needed:

Interactive Whiteboard or Video Projector

Computer With Internet Access

Speakers for listening

Tablet, iPad, or Students Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) for individual research

The Rock Cycle Video


It is necessary to review the Writing Process. Review the PowerPoint on The Rock Cycle and describe igneous rocks as fire rocks that come from lava or magma. Sedimentary rocks formed from the compaction and cementation of other igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks. Metamorphic rocks are formed under great heat and pressure from other rocks.

The following websites can be used for information on the writing process:



Students view The Rock Cycle video from Khan Academy. 

Have students answer the following during the video:

  • Name the three types of rocks.
  • Explain how sedimentary rocks are formed.
  • What forces within the earth form metamorphic rocks?
  • What is the term for rock melted deep in the Earth’s interior?
  • Which type of rock is formed from cooling magma?
  • Draw a diagram of the rock cycle.


Students will explore the many ways rocks take shape at this interactive website


1. Before class, collect samples various kinds of rocks. Some igneous samples that are easy to obtain are granite and basalt. Metamorphic samples might include quartzite which is usually found in river rock. Sedimentary clay or limestone is another type of rock that is easy to locate in the south. Be sure to collect enough rocks so that each student has one to look at, identify, and write a narrative essay about.

2. To help students understand the changes that rocks undergo in the Rock Cycle, show the Rock Cycle PowerPoint (provided in the attachments). Have students complete the chart for note-taking and creating their own diagram (chart provided in the attachments).

3. Give each student a copy of the Writing Process. Review the steps in the writing process.  


1. Give students one rock and ask them to write a narrative essay telling the life story of the rock from magma to igneous and eventually ending up in the classroom. The story should be creative and include each stage in the rock cycle. Allow time for the writing process.

2. Students will then use art to create illustrations to go with their story. Students may draw or use computer animation or drawings to illustrate their story.

3. Students will work in diverse cooperative learning groups to peer edit essays. Once the essay has been edited by at least two people in the group, the final copy is written and turned in for evaluation by the teacher. The scoring rubric will be used to assess the writing.

4. Each group will choose one of the stories from their group to present. It may be acted out or presented on PowerPoint.

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Assessment Strategies

Scoring rubric can be used to evaluate writing (Rubric attached). Sample Oral Presentations Rubric can be used to assess the student presentations.

The note-taking chart for the PowerPoint can be used as a formative assessment and to help students brainstorm thoughts for their story.

Some formative assessment strategies can be used to assess learning throughout the lesson.

Guiding questions can be used to assess learning during the video. List ten things learned from the video.

Create a graphic organizer outlining the changes in rocks from igneous to sedimentary and metamorphic.


As an extension, students may bring in rock samples to research and identify as igneous, sedimentary, or metamorphic.

Students can also name and decorate their pet rock once they have identified it.


Students who need extra help will be given extra time and assigned a peer tutor to review websites with additional information. It is also good to allow peer tutor in the group with this student to peer edit the rough draft or assist with the typing of the final copy.

View the Special Education resources for instructional guidance in providing modifications and adaptations for students with significant cognitive disabilities who qualify for the Alabama Alternate Assessment.