Child-Led Learning: Geology & Rock Cycle Curriculum Planning

I kind of have a thing for rocks and geology. I’m pretty sure if I didn’t spent the first 10 years of my career in advertising, I would have been hunting for fossils in the Arctic. So, when we moved away from plate tectonics, we immediately segued into the rock cycle.

I found some great printable and some fun experiments that the kids really enjoyed and here are the resources we liked the best –

The Rock Cycle, Layers of Learning

This was a great free printable from Layers of Learning that started us out. First we watched a quick video to get started and then we set to work on labeling the cycle ourselves.

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Eek! My printer was running out of ink.

The Starburst Challenge

This was really fun. I was looking for a fun project that would help the kids visualize the different types of rocks because, in my experience, that’s the best way for them to retain information. Plus, we have no good food in our house, so having a good reason to buy candy really made this project a no-brainer for us. I found this on the Lemon Lime Adventures blog which is where you can find all the details on how to do the experiment. Pro tip – buy two packs of ‘bursts because inevitably you will not get the specific colors that the kids are requesting and what you don’t want is an all out brawl for the last red Starbust. Things could get ugly QUICK.

Types of Rocks: Sort, Cut and Paste

This was a great printable that we used to finish the week off. I did pay a whopping $1.50 for it on Teachers Pay Teachers. It’s basically as close as we get to a test. Bonus – we actually had some of the real rocks featured in this printable so we were able to touch them and look at them up close which helped us classify them.

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This is the finished project, which we added to our geology poster

Actual Rocks

Because nothing beats the real thing. The kids got these awesome rock collections from their grandma and we’ve been adding to them. It was fun to go through them after we learned so much about different kind of rocks and try to label them. Among them, we found some to be magnetic, some look like gold and some were just kind of cool and majestic.

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I like the shiny ones the best!

When my children develop an interest in a topic, I weave in homeschool curriculum to support that topic and expand their knowledge. That’s how we stay centered in child-led learning, while still maintaining some sense of structure.

 

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