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Roger Weller, geology instructor

Teaching Lesson
by Kayla Gauch
Physical Geology
Spring 2016

                                 Rock Identification Lab



LESSON PLANS Rock Identification Lab


Stage 1 – Desired Results

Content Standard(s)

            Be able to identify common rocks and minerals.

            5.S.6.1 PO 3.  Classify rocks based on the following physical properties:

•           color

•           texture

Student Understanding

     Students will understand:

·         Different Rocks and Minerals

·         How to identify them

·         Different physical properties of the Rocks and Minerals


Student  Objectives (Outcomes)

     Students will be able to:

·         Learn about color, texture and streak

·         Identify common rocks and minerals

Prior Knowledge

     Students must know:

            *What color is

            *What texture is

            * How to use context clues to figure out a question

            * Be able to compare and contrast

Materials Needed




*Rock Sets (I will provide)

            *Fact Sheet (I will provide)

            *Chart Sheet (I will provide)

Set up

I will arrange the students into groups of five or six and give them each a box of rock samples that we are going to identify, and I will pass around the fact sheets about the rocks, 2-3 per group. I will give a brief overview of rocks and minerals and then I will allow the students 10 minutes to look over the rocks and the sheet and talk amongst their peers to figure out the answers.


Color: the appearance of objects (or light sources) described in terms of a person's perception of their hue and lightness (or brightness) and saturation

Texture: the feel of a surface or a fabric



            Introduction:  Students will identify and learn about, Obsidian, Pumice, Sandstone, Marble, Quartz, Graphite, Limestone, and Gabbro. I will give them a sheet with common facts about each one, including color, texture, or surface type and any other key ways to identify the rocks. I will go over the sheet with the students to make sure that they know the differences of the rocks and that they are able to understand each of the key elements.

Obsidian: Is a dark color and typically looks glassy, can be very sharp.

R. Weller     

Pumice: Is a light color and has small bubbles in the rock, it is a very lightweight rock.

R. Weller

Sandstone: Can be white or brown, looks like it is made of sand, feels like sand.

R. Weller

Marble: Is a light color, has a soft feel to it, may have white throughout the color.

R. Weller

Quartz: Has a glassy look, either clear or white, has curved edges

R. Weller

Graphite: It is silver, gray or black, greasy feeling, can write with it.

R. Weller

Limestone: Grey, white, yellow or brown, soft and sometimes has shells in it.

R. Weller

Gabbro: It is coarse, dark colored, usually brown or green, typically shiny.

R. Weller



I will mark each rock 1-8 and give the groups of students a chart after having them look at the rocks and the fact sheet. I will give them 10 minutes to look over the rocks and talk amongst their group to identify them. I will then hand out a blank chart. They will be required to fill out the sheet individually with the color, texture and other ways to identify the materials. I am a believer in extra credit, so I created a word search if the students finish their identification early, it is pictured below.


Rock Number

Name of Rock


Texture/Surface type

Other Id Types





curved edges



Grey,white, yellow, brown


Has shells





Glassy looking



White or Brown


Looks like sand



Light Colored


White streaks





Can write with



Dark colored

Coarse feeling




Light Colored




Group Lesson

After the students have completed the sheet, I will go around the classroom having each student give me an answer to a square. If a student has a different answer we will go over the question and have the student “argue” their side and why they think it is that particular answer. Once all the squares are complete I will give the students the correct answers.

Follow Up

As a future teacher, this is an excellent way to teach students about rocks and minerals. This is a fun activity to do with my students and I think that they will gain a lot of knowledge from this activity. Having the students do a hands on activity is the best way for them to learn and a fun way to teach. 

Word Search                                                                                             

Works Cited