Monday, April 18, 2016

// // Leave a Comment

Igneous Rocks Lesson with a Fun Science Experiment

Igneous rocks may be our favorite kind of rock because they come from VOLCANOES!!  And the preschoolers and I LOVE volcanoes!! Of course, anything that includes volcanoes also includes a fun science experiement. I've put together some great activities and an exciting project to help kids learn about igneous rocks.

I originally put this lesson together for the Geology Rocks!  kindergarten through 2nd grade class I'm teaching at our homeschool co-op right now, and am super excited to share the preschool version with you! You may also be interested in my Preschool Rock Theme/21+ Rock Activities for Preschoolers!

You are welcome to use any parts you think would benefit you and your kiddos, or the entire lesson!

So, here is the... 

Igneous Rocks Lesson:

Supplies:   igneous rock samples (recommended: obsidian, pumice, basalt, granite), volcano model supplies (6 % hydrogen peroxide, warm water, yeast, food coloring, liquid dish soap, 1000-ml long-necked flask or water bottle), igneous rock model supplies (microwave, graham crackers, M&M’s, mini marshmallows, cupcake liner)

Learning Goal:  Igneous rocks are made by volcanoes or other sources of intense heat.  

1- Attention Activity: Show igneous rocks and basalt.  Ask if your kiddos can figure out what they both have in common.  (they were both made in volcanoes)  Let students make observations & ask questions. 

2- Discuss and/or Notes:

* Many of Earth’s common rocks were made by volcanoes, where rocks and minerals are melted and reformed.

* Common igneous rocks (show rocks, let kids hold them and make observations about them):

·         Pumice: floats on water
·         Basalt: hardened lava  (Imagine a volcano erupting!  The lava that flows down the top of the volcano touches the cooler air and hardens into rock quickly.  You can see the exact shape the lava was in when it cooled!  It cooled so quickly that when the air bubbles in the lava popped, the rocks had holes where the air had been!
·         Obsidian: looks like black glass  (Also forms from lava that cools too quickly to crystallize, usually above the surface of the Earth. The rock grains are smooth and shiny.  Sometimes it cools slowly enough that pretty crystals and other minerals can grow in the new rocks--snowflake obsidian has white crystals making snowflake shapes in the black obsidian! Occasionally it forms underground along the edges of dikes or sills.)
·         Granite: coarse grained, usually white and black with feldspar, quartz, & mica, can be pink or other colors. Forms when magma cools underground slowly enough that individual minerals crystallize.

3- Igneous Rock Observation:  Give each student an igneous rock (or let them choose one) and record observations about it in their lab paper.  They can draw a picture or write about it.

4- Volcano Model!  My all-time favorite volcano model keeps erupting for more than ten minutes!  Follow the volcano instructions here, but use a long-necked flask instead of a water bottle.  As the foam piles up, point out the bubbles in the “lava.”  In real life, these bubbles pop and make the “holes” you see in basalt and pumice.  Sometimes they get covered and the holes fill in with beautiful crystals!  When they cool slowly, crystals have time to grow.

6- Wrap Up/Review

Igneous rocks are made by volcanoes or other sources of intense heat that melt rocks.   

Are you working on a rock unit or rock theme?  Do you have any fun science experiments to go with it? Be sure to check out my sedimentary rocks lesson with fun activities and science projects or take a look at these cute rock bugs!

Happy Educating, Carla

I may share at any of these parties!

Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!