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20 October 2014
Schools  >> All subjects for ages 4 - 11 years Science Clips
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Science topics ages 7 - 8
Rocks and soils

Curriculum relevance | Online lesson plan
Offline lesson plan | Worksheet | Activity

Online lesson plan


Compare the properties of rocks and relate these properties to their use

Describe and group rocks on the basis of their characteristics

National Curriculum

England: Key Stage 2, Science, Sc3 1a, 1d

Wales: Key Stage 2, Materials and their properties, 1.1, 1.4

Northern Ireland: Key Stage 2, Materials, Properties, a, c

Scotland: 5-14 Guidelines, Science, Materials from Earth, Level B, Level D

Resources required

Online activity from Science Clips website: Rocks and soils

Copies of the Rocks and soils worksheet printed from the Science Clips website

Teaching activities

Take a short walk around the school grounds, pointing out and asking the children to identify objects made of rocky materials, e.g. brick wall, concrete path. What materials are these structures made of? What properties do they have? What do all these materials have in common? Point out hardness, strength, and inflexibility. Back in class, make a list of all the rocky materials the class has spotted and ask the children if they can think of any more to add to the list.

On an interactive whiteboard, bring up the online activity. Explain to children that they are going to carry out a virtual experiment to investigate the properties of rocks. Show children how to click and drag a rock into the tester, and how to perform the four different tests on it: Does it wear well? Does it split? Is it permeable? Does it float? Before clicking on each of the tests, ask children to predict how the rock will fare. Were they right?

Divide children into groups with a computer for each group. Ask the groups to perform all four tests on each of the rocks. Walk around the groups, asking questions and encouraging the children to click on the magnifying glasses to find out more information about each rock.

Make a table on the whiteboard with rocks down one side and properties (including visual properties such as shape and colour) across the top. Ask different children to fill in the table with their observations from the activity, and to suggest uses for each rock. Discuss the properties of each rock in order to decide as a class if each suggestion is feasible.


Devise a poster to show the dangers of selecting the wrong rocky material for a particular purpose, e.g. a statue made of chalk!

Suggested homework

Hand out copies of the Rocks and soils worksheet. Ask children to use it to record rocky materials they see in their local environment or at home. Point out the distinction between the object and what it is made of. Children could use this research to compose scientific sentences, such as “The roof is made of slate because slate is impermeable and will keep the contents dry”.


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