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Roger Weller, geology instructor

Lesson Plan
by Brenda Stafford
Physical Geology
Fall 2009

                                    Metamorphic Pancakes

 Design & Eat Your Own Metamorphic Rocks!

“The rocks you see around you – the mountains, canyons & riverbeds, are all made of minerals. 
A rock is made up of 2 or more minerals.  Think of a chocolate chip cookie as a rock.  The cookie is made up
of flour, butter, sugar and chocolate.  The cookie is like a rock and flour, butter, sugar, and chocolate are like
minerals.  You need minerals to make rocks, but you don’t need rocks to make minerals.  All rocks are made
of minerals”.  (

First of all, what is a metamorphic rock and how is it formed?  According the Cochise College Geology
Website in chapter 7, a metamorphic rock is “A rock that has been altered from its original condition by heat
and or pressure”.  Metamorphic rocks are formed deep inside the earth.  This can occur with sedimentary,
igneous and even old metamorphic rocks.  They are subjected to pressure and heat than can flatten and change
the shape of the crystals within the rock. 

 (Picture from

(Similar to when you leave a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in your backpack all day when it’s hot out
and it gets smashed by your books).  The chemistry of the mineral can even be changed. 

(Picture from:

After the metamorphic process is complete the rock now falls into one of two categories; foliated or non
foliated.    Foliated rocks have a layered or banded appearance that is created by exposure to heat and or direct
pressure.  Non-foliated rocks do not have the distinct layering or banding. 

Foliated rocks:  Gneiss and Phyllite.

    gneiss.jpg 24-Feb-2006 21:31 ...  Phyllite is a fined grained ...

            Non-foliated rocks:  Marble and Quartzite

... Institute - Marble   Quartzite

     Now that we have established what a metamorphic rock is and how it is formed we can begin our science lesson about metamorphic pancakes. 

TITLE:   Rock Pancakes


OBJECTIVE:  Students will be able to identity properties of metamorphic rocks.

GOALS:  Science core curriculum requires that the three basic rock groups be taught.  My goal is to create a fun and impacting way to help students remember what makes metamorphic rocks different from the other two basic groups. 

ANTICIPATORY SET (LEAD-IN):  The day before, start with a short lesson on metamorphic rocks, and how they are made.  Have several rocks on display to allow the students to touch and see the differences between foliated and non-foliated rocks.  (Marble, Gneiss, Schist, Quartzite, Slate, and Phyllite).  Also, advise the students to carefully examine the rocks so they will have an idea of what metamorphic rock they would like to cook up the following day.

MATERIALS:  Griddle, cooking spray, spatula, mixing bowl, pancake mix and ingredients, large spoon, assorted foods materials (some that melt and some that do not):  coconut, white and regular chocolate chips, marshmallows, raisins, nuts, a roll of butchers paper to make disposable aprons, string, bowls, plates, napkins, and forks.

ACTIVITY AND PROCEDURE:  First make the paper aprons and tie them on the students with the string.  Remind the students that the griddle (heat) is hot and to use caution and to stay back from it.  Mix the pancake batter (magma), and give each student a portion of batter in a bowl.  Each student will then choose what materials (minerals) they want in their rock.  After they mix in their materials they will give their bowl to the chef (teacher) to begin the metamorphic process.  Once the batter mixed with materials is placed on the griddle (heat) a spatula (pressure) is used to flatten the pancakes.  Depending on what materials where chosen, some will melt and change the color of the pancake and others will have hard materials added.  Either will change the look of the original batter.

... /Came Craft, Inc.: Apron  ... pancake batter you re done  Coconut Bonbons | Notecook metamorphic rocks

POSSIBLE CONNECTION TO OTHER SUBJECTS:  Math:  measurements used to make the pancake batter and how much of the extra materials should be added.  Writing and vocabulary:  Correctly spelling and defining the vocabulary associated with metamorphic rocks. 

TYING IT ALL TOGETHER:  Naturally, the students enjoy their metamorphic rocks! After the class has created and consumed the metamorphic rocks there will be a review handout to ensure that the students learned and retained the intended information.  On the handout there will be questions about the differences between foliated and non-foliated, how a metamorphic rocks is formed, what does banding mean, etc.