Discovery Lab - Summit Hill Elementary PTO

Discovery Lab
Kindergarten – Rocks, Soil
Welcome – Welcome the students in and get on lab coats.
Instruct students to sit on the floor in the middle of the room sitting facing you.
Introduce topic: (10 minutes):
Inform students of any safety procedures relating to this lab.
Ask students if they have studied rocks. Let students give a few answers.
Tell students they will be examining soil samples and observing rocks today and learning more
about them. There are three types of rocks: sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous. We are going to
observe many types of sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous rocks. We are even going to make
these three types of rocks out of chocolate chips! Is anyone allergic to chocolate or butterscotch?
Point out key words on dry erase board (sedimentary, metamorphic, igneous, soil, loam,
clay, sand )
Introduce what they’ll do at each station.
Students rotate through each station for 15 minutes each. Kindergarten will not be using worksheets.
We do not want writing to be the focus, rather hands-on learning opportunities.
Station 1: Sweet Changes, Metamorphic and Sedimentary and
Station 2: Sweet Changes, Igneous Rock
Students will learn the rock cycle and three types of rocks (metamorphic, sedimentary, igneous). They
will make the three types of rocks using chocolate chips. They will also observe demonstrations of
how each rock is created.
*Note: Station 1 and 2 will be combined. Students will stay at this station for two rotations to
complete the activity. Station 3 and 4 will switch with each other. When it’s time for the 3rd rotation
students at station 3 and 4 will switch with the students at station 1 and 2.
Station 3: Observing/Grouping Rocks
Students will be observing and classifying rocks and minerals. They will be comparing them by size,
weight, color, texture, etc. (GPS Standard) They will also discuss what everyday items are made from
rocks and minerals.
Station 4: Digging into Soil
Students will be observing soil samples, comparing their texture, smell, color, and particle/grain size.
(GPS Standard) They will discover which type of soil (loam, clay, sand) holds more water.
Closure (10 -12 minutes):
Ask students a question about each station relating to what they learned.
At station 1, you changed the chips into metamorphic rock using what two things? (Heat and
pressure). Then you made three layers: chocolate, white chocolate, and butterscotch to form what kind
of rock? (Sedimentary) At station 2, the candle wax melted and cooled, your rock melted and cooled,
and lava is melted rock and it cools to form what kind of rock? (Igneous) At station 3, you observed
different rocks. Tell me about one of the rocks you learned about. At station 4, you compared
different types of soil. What kind of soil is the best to grown plants in? (humus, loam, or potting soil)
What kind of soil holds the most water? (clay)
Discuss any final points or vocabulary words.
Ask students if they had fun? Remind them to share the experience with their parents.
Ask students to help thank volunteers. The Discovery Lab ROCKS! 
Dismiss students to hang up lab coats.
Students line up, get hand sanitizer (1 squirt) on way out.
***Give teacher survey form to complete***
Ask parents to help set up for the next class. If you are the last class of the day turn off one set of
lights and lock up. Return key to PTA copy room corkboard.
Any questions? Call Ann Lachmann 770-619-2853 or Mary Weber 770-619-2908 or Leslie Ballard
Discovery Lab
Rocks, Soil
Station 1: snack Ziploc bags, chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, butterscotch* chips, quilt batting,
ruler, book, wax paper
*can use peanut butter chips instead of butterscotch
Station 1: Sweet Changes, Metamorphic and Sedimentary
1. Put 10 chips in each students’ bag (10 chocolate, 10 butterscotch, 10 white chocolate).
Give each student a bag. Try to make sure you have two of each kind. You may need to do
a bag. (The chips represent small rocks and minerals.)
2. With each bag securely sealed, direct each student to gently work the candy rocks and
minerals between his hands until they combine into a single rock. (This represents how
pieces of rocks join together under pressure and heat to form metamorphic rock.)
3. While students work their rocks, demonstrate the metamorphic mash. Place two pieces of
quilt batting on top of each other on the table. Use a ruler to measure the height of the
stack. Place a book on top of the stack so that one edge of the betting is showing. Have
one student press down on the book with both hands. Now measure the height of the
batting. Explain how this demonstration is similar to the formation of a metamorphic rock.
Pressure is applied to two different rocks so that they change and become one rock.
Pressure changes rocks.
4. Have the student with regular chocolate chips open his bag and place his rock on a sheet of
waxed paper. He covers his rock with the second sheet of wax paper, then presses down to
form a flat layer. Remove top sheet of wax paper. Pass to student with white chocolate
5. Have student with white chocolate chips open his bag and places his rock on top of the first
layer. He then re-covers the two rocks with the sheet of waxed paper and presses them
together. He then removes the waxed paper.
6. The student with the butterscotch rock repeats the procedure to make a third layer.
7. Next, cut and divide the rock into two sections. Have students observe the three distinct
layers. (This represents the way layers of rocks pile up. Over thousands of years, pressure
causes them to form sedimentary rock.)
8. Take new rock to station 2 to finish rock cycle.
Discovery Lab
Rocks, Soil
Station 2: knife, paper plate, Ziploc bags, warm water, measuring cup, freezer
Station 2: Sweet Changes, Igneous Rock
Students arrive with sedimentary rock. Identify the layers (chocolate, white chocolate, butterscotch).
Look at the sedimentary demonstrator. Identify the different layers (rock, sand, humus, water, sticks,
Back to the chocolate - Cut the layered rocks into small pieces and place them in a freezer zip loc bag.
With the bag securely sealed, put it in a plastic cup. Pour hot tap water into the cup and allow it to sit
for five minutes. Have students examine the bag. (The heat melts the rock, which represents magma.
Magma is melted rock – lava.) Look at volcano example. Discuss how a volcano erupts sending out
the magma or lava, which hardens (black) over the land or can make an island, like the Hawaiian
Islands after continuous build up.
Light the candle and have the students observe the wax as it melts and drips down the side of the clay.
After some wax had pooled around the bottom of the volcano, extinguish the flame and allow the wax
to cool. Then let the students examine the volcano. Explain to the students that the dripping candle
wax is like the hot liquid rock that spews out of a volcano in the form of lava onto the earth’s surface.
The liquid rock, called lava, cools and hardens to form igneous rock similar to the hardened candle
Take the melted chocolate rock out of the warm water and place it in the freezer for 2 minutes. This
will speed up the process of the rock cooling down. (The magma or lava, will harden to represent
igneous rock, just like the volcano candle.
Take the rock out of the freezer. Break the igneous rock into small pieces. (This represents
weathering. Weathering is the process of rocks breaking down by wind, water, freezing, and thawing.
Tell the students that the rock cycle then starts all over!) If students would like to taste a small piece of
the rock, you may give them one. Do not let them take it with them, it will melt in their pocket.
Discard the rest.
Discovery Lab
Rocks, Soil
Station 3: labeled rock samples, rock samples for students, hand lenses
Station 3: Observing/Grouping Rocks
1. This station is designed for students to use observation and classification skills.
2. Each student should have several rock samples. Guide them to figure out which one is the
heaviest and lightest. Compare one in each hand or use balance scale.
3. Next, have students order them smallest to largest. Is this order of rocks different or similar to
weight grouping?
4. Have students classify rocks into two groups, smooth and rough.
5. Guide students to classify rocks into groups by color or light/dark.
6. Challenge students to come up with another way to classify/sort rocks.
7. Look at the different labeled rocks. Use hand lenses too.
8. If extra time: Discuss that rocks are hard at work all around us! Ore minerals provide metal for
household appliances and cars; quartz is used in televisions and radios, and gypsum is used to
make wallboard, plasterboard, and paint. Diamonds are used in jewelry; talc is used to make
chalk and bath powder (baby powder); halite is used for table salt, quartz to make glass,
titanium in golf clubs, tungsten in light bulbs, silver in jewelry and household furnishings,
copper in coins, plumbing pipes, electrical wires; aluminum – cars, pots and pans, soft drink
cans; gold – necklaces, rings; magnetite – magnets, refrigerator magnets; etc.
Discovery Lab
Rocks, Soil
Station 4: clay, potting soil, loam, Styrofoam cups, four measuring cups, hand lenses, plastic cup
Station 4: Digging into Soil
1. You have three cups with different kinds of soil (C=clay, S=sand, L=loam). Loam is a
mixture of clay, sand, silt, and humus (decayed matter) that is excellent for plant
2. Fill cups ¾ full with soil. Poke a hole in bottom of cup.
3. Pour ½ cup of water into cup C.
4. Let the water drip into a measuring cup. Wait until the drips stop.
5. Repeat with cup S (sand) and cup L (loam).
6. Results: The fine-grained clay soil holds water. Water passes easily through coarsegrained sandy soil. It’s likely that the loam will fall somewhere in between. Discuss
why it is hard to grow plants in soil that holds a lot of water, like clay in Georgia.
7. Invite the children to feel, smell, and look closely (with hand lenses) at different soil
types. Look at color and particle/grain size. Discuss how the soil samples are similar or
8. Ask the children: Is there air in soil? Place one cup of dry soil in a quart jar. Slowly
pour one cup of water into the jar. You should see bubbles rising from the soil. Explain
that air is in between the grains of soil. The water filters down through the soil, forcing
out the air. Why do earthworms come out when it rains? Rainwater forces air out of
the soil, and the worms must come to the surface to breathe!
9. Ask the children to name different animals that live or burrow in soil. Some answers:
insects, worms, snakes, moles, groundhogs, skunks, shrews, and prairie dogs.