Vision Session Two
Snack Rocks Simulation
To reinforce how the various types of rock are
formed, instructors may perform the “Snack Rocks”
simulation. This fun activity will help provide
a concrete example of how the three types of
rocks are formed.
Activating Strategy:
To begin the lesson, remind the students that
rocks are divided into three groups depending on
how they were formed: sedimentary, metamorphic,
and igneous. The instructor may briefly review
the types of rocks by singing the “Rock Song”
with students!
Immediately after, the instructor will let the
students know that they will be simulating how
the three types of rocks are formed!
Materials:
Sedimentary
Rocks
Saltine
Crackers
Peanut Butter
(Crunchy)
Chopped Nuts
Brown Sugar
Marshmallows
Igneous Rocks
Chocolate Ice
Cream
Chocolate Shell
Sauce
Metamorphic
Rocks
Taffy Candy
Wax Paper
Vision Session Two
Supplementary Materials: small bowls, plastic
spoons, butcher paper, ice cream scooper
After completing the activating strategy, the
instructor will do the following:
*Prior beginning the simulation, butcher paper
must be placed over all student desks to warrant
easy cleanup.
1. The instructor will place the students into
cooperative groups of about 5-6 students. In
these groups, students will use the various
materials to simulate how the three types of
rocks are formed.
For each group of 5-6 students, the instructor
will provide:
1 12 oz. bowl for each of the following:




Crunchy Peanut Butter
Brown Sugar
Chopped Nuts
Chocolate Ice Cream (Since the ice cream is
prone to melting, the igneous simulation may
be the last one performed.)
 Marshmallows
The instructor will then provide each student
with the following:
Vision Session Two
Sedimentary
Rocks
2 Saltine
Crackers
Igneous Rocks
Metamorphic
Rocks
1 3 oz. cup of
2 Pieces of
quick hardening Different
chocolate shell Colored Taffy
sauce
Candy
2 5”x5” pieces
of Wax Paper
Each student will also receive their own plastic
spoon.
2. After all materials have been provided to the
students, the instructor will walk the students
through the simulations, describing what EACH
food item represents. For example, the
instructor may say:
“We will begin simulating how sedimentary
rocks are formed. First, take one of your
saltine crackers and lay it onto the butcher
paper. This represents the bottom layer of your
sedimentary rock. As we know, sedimentary rocks
form when sand, bits of rock and soil, and oneliving organisms are pressed together and harden
over time; this material is known as sediment.
Rock is broken down into sediment over time
through a process called weathering and is then
deposited, or dropped, one top of one another.
This creates layers that, over millions of years,
form sedimentary rocks. Sedimentary rocks are
usually found near water sources.
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Next, take your plastic utensil and place some of
the peanut butter onto your saltine cracker. The
crunchy peanut butter represents bits of soil
that have been eroded and deposited onto your
first layer.
Then, take your plastic utensil to scoop out some
of the chopped nuts. These chopped pieces of nut
represent the bits of rock that have been
weathered over time. Please place these “bits of
rock” on top of the layer of crunchy peanut
butter. Do you notice that layers are starting to
form?
Now, please grab a few marshmallows to place onto
the newest layer. These marshmallows represent
fossilized organisms, for we know that
sedimentary rocks are the types of rocks in which
we will find fossils! We are most likely to find
fossils in sedimentary rocks because fossils form
when an animal, plant, or other signs of life
such as a dinosaur footprint becomes buried in
sediment. The layers of sediment build up and
eventually form a sedimentary rock.
Then, grab your utensil once more to scoop some
more peanut butter. Again, this represents bits
of soil that have been deposited. Then, using
your fingertips, grab a few pinches of brown
sugar. This represents the bits of sand that have
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been deposited! Lastly, add another one of your
saltine crackers as the final layer.
Now we have formed a sedimentary rock!”
Of course, the instructor will ask students
pertinent questions to maintain a high level of
thinking as the simulation is being performed.
These can be discussed as a class, or students
may jot down responses in their science notebooks
as they move through the simulation.
Just as the sedimentary rock formation process
was thoroughly reviewed and the purpose of the
food items were explained, the instructor will do
the same for both igneous and metamorphic rock.
Once the students have completed their
sedimentary rock, they will place it to the side
and begin forming their next “rocks” – metamorphic
rocks.
The instructor will ask the students to do the
following:
 Take both pieces of your taffy candy and
carefully remove the wrappers.
 Place the two taffy candies one on top of the
other and form a “rock” shape. We will say
that this rock begins as a sedimentary one
because the layers of taffy candy show layers.
Vision Session Two
 Take one of your wax paper sheets and place it
onto the butcher paper. Place your
“sedimentary rock” on to the wax paper.
 Grab the other piece of wax paper and place it
on top of the “rock”. The students will use
their hands to simulate extreme heat and
pressure to change the physical attributes of
the rock.
 Through doing this, the students have watched
the initial rock transform into another
through extreme heat and pressure. At this
time, the instructor may have the students
compare the characteristics of the rock before
applying the pressure to transform the rock
and the characteristics after.
Once the students have completed their
metamorphic rock, they will place it to the side
and begin forming their next “rocks” – igneous
rocks.
The instructor will do the following:
 Provide each student with a 1 12 oz. bowl of
one scoop of ice cream.
 Let the students know that the chocolate ice
cream represents the earth’s surface.
 Students will be directed to, once all of them
have received their ice cream,, to pour their
quick-hardening chocolate shell sauce over the
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ice cream. Let the students know that the
chocolate sauce represents lava.
 As the students pour the liquid chocolate onto
the ice cream surface, tell the children that
when there is a volcano the magma is forced
through the earth’s surface and comes out as
lava. It then hardens as it cools and turns
into igneous rock in the same way that the
chocolate will harden as it cools over the ice
cream’s surface.
Follow-Up Writing Activities:
*Describe the simulation that we completed today
from start to finish. Do you feel that this
simulation was a good example of showing how
sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rock is
formed? Why or why not?
*Describe, in writing, what you feel are some
other ways that we can simulate how igneous,
sedimentary, or metamorphic rocks are formed?
Vision Session Two
The Rock Song
Sedimentary Rock
Has been formed in layers
Often found near water sources
With fossils from decayers
Then there’s igneous rock
Here since earth was born
Molten lava cooled and hardened
That‘s how it was formed
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These two types of rock
Can also be transformed
With Pressure, heat, and chemicals
Metamorphic they’ll become.
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Snack Rocks Simulation