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Identifying Sedimentary, Metamorphic, and Igneous Rocks

Kit #403S

This activity begins with a fictional newspaper story describing how hikers may have discovered diamonds in a national forest. In Part I, students then observe rock samples and use a table of characteristics to help identify each rock as igneous, metamorphic, or sedimentary. Students then use this knowledge to identify the type of rock brought back by the forest hikers and decide whether the hikers were likely to have seen diamonds. Part II is a reading that provides general information about the formation of sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rocks explained in the context of coal, kimberlite, and marble as exemplars. Students also learn that certain natural resources are often found in association with certain rocks.

Details at a Glance

  • 2-3 Days | 2-3 ~50 minute class periods
  • 2 Activities
  • Accommodates unlimited classes, each with 8 groups of 4 students
  • Meets our criteria for supporting literacy
  • All materials are non-consumable
  • Includes digital resources
  • Developed in partnership with SEPUP

Scientific Concepts

•Rocks can be classified as one of three rock types based on how they form.
•Sedimentary rocks are formed by the ongoing deposition of rocks and other sediments that are cemented together.
•Igneous rocks are formed when molten rock, called magma, cools and solidifies.
•Metamorphic rocks are formed from the effect of the Earth’s heat and/or pressure on rocks buried deep in the Earth.
•One way to gather data is through observations. Accurate and complete observations are important to making conclusions about the natural world.
•Many of the materials used by people occur naturally on Earth and are known as natural resources.
KEY VOCABULARY: igneous, metamorphic, rock type, sediments, magma, natural resource, sedimentary

Guides & Student Sheets

Our kits and modules provide you with everything you need so you can open, review, and teach the material confidently the next day.

  • Full downloadable Teacher Guide with background information, detailed instruction, example data and answers
  • Downloadable Student Sheets with age appropriate background information, full procedure(s), and analysis questions
  • All materials necessary to carry out the investigation
  • Safety Data Sheets

Kit Components

  • 1 Teacher’s Guide
  • 32 Student Worksheets and Guides
  • 16 Magnifying lenses
  • 2 Gabbro (igneous rock) (purple)
  • 2 Coal (sedimentary rock) (yellow)
  • 8 Garnet schist (metamorphic rock) (green)
  • 2 Gneiss (metamorphic rock) (red)
  • 2 Limestone (sedimentary rock) (blue)
  • 2 Obsidian (igneous rock) (white)
  • 2 Phyllite (metamorphic rock) (brown)
  • 2 Sandstone (sedimentary rock) (black)
  • 2 Granite (igneous rock) (light blue)