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Rocks & Minerals

Use experiments to teach science

Is there a specific order that rocks move through the rock cycle? How do sedimentary rocks form? What does sand look like up close? What types of rock are never layered? Lab activities dig into these questions and are great for classrooms or homeschool.

Are Your Students Engaged?

Are you looking for a way to engage kids in their science learning? Are you eager to see your students become scientists in your classroom?

That's the goal of this course...

Activity Highlights

Growing crystals is pretty magical. Different substances make different (specific) shapes.


Minerals are identifiable by a variety of features such as the color of its streak. One of the labs walks kids through the process of making a line on a streak plate like a geologist.

The rock cycle is a circle. Walk through a simulation and make a record to show the pattern of how rock moves through each of the stages.


Use wax to simulate rock formation--make sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous and see how they differ.

Only one rock can float Test rocks for their density and see.


What's Included in the Course/Unit?

    • Written instructions include:
    › Simple directions (written to students)
    › Questions and worksheets
    › Explanations for the teacher
    › Answer keys to help with assessing student work.
    › List of materials and setup hints.

    › Video instructions including:
    • A demonstration of the activity
    • Hints and strategies for preparing each lesson

    › Course platform with a forum for asking questions if you need further clarification or support.
Enroll in Course for $57

Concepts and Topics Addressed in this Unit:

    ✦ Salts grow into crystals.
    ✦ Each salt has certain shapes and not others.
    ✦ Small and large crystals of the same salt are the same shape.
    ✦ The building blocks of crystals make some angles but not others.
    ✦ Each crystal has specific angles.
    ✦ Each rock type can become another type of rock.
    ✦ Sediment becomes sedimentary rocks.
    ✦ Magma becomes igneous rocks.
    ✦ Metamorphic rocks are made when rocks are heated and pressed.
    ✦ Igneous rocks are made when magma cools.
    ✦ Sedimentary rocks are made of sediment that's compacted.
    ✦ Sedimentary rocks are made of sediment that's cemented with minerals.
    ✦ Sedimentary rocks form when water evaporates leaving minerals behind.
    ✦ Sand is made of bits of rock.
    ✦ Sand can have transparent, translucent and opaque grains.
    ✦ Some fossils can survive metamorphosis but are often distorted.
    ✦ Minerals can be identified by the streak they make.
    ✦ Sometimes the streak a mineral makes is different from its color.
    ✦ Sometimes the streak a mineral makes is the same as its color.
    ✦ When studying rocks you can often identify the minerals that make them up.
    ✦ A few rocks are magnetic.
    ✦ Limestone and chalk react to acid by fizzing.
    ✦ Metamorphic and sedimentary rocks are often layered.
    ✦ Igneous rocks do not have layers.
    ✦ Metamorphosis can cause layering. .
    ✦ Minerals can retain their sparkle when they become part of rocks.
    ✦ Only one rock can float.
    ✦ Sulfur has a distinctive smell.
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​Invite students to become scientists in your classroom

As fellow scientists they need to learn to investigate, discover, measure, observe, examine...

And these skills take time and repetition.


But repeating stuff can be boring…

That’s where labs come in! 

Many of the labs are teaching the same fundamentals but use different materials to keep things interesting.


What if you don’t have time to research the science behind a concept?

I’ve got you covered... Sections in the written instructions and the videos should answer your questions. Here you’ll also find hints and helps for running an activity. Additionally, the Teacher Notes sections will give you plenty of background information. You won’t have to do any outside research unless you want to.

What if your kids are at different levels?

When does the course start?

This course is a collection of lessons to use in your classroom. You can start as soon as you sign up!

Can I access these resources from my phone or tablet?

Sure! It works well on any device.​

Do I have to go in order?

Nope! You can use the lessons in any order—I always arrange them in a way I think makes sense, however since students in my classes worked at their own pace, they also tended to do the lessons in their preferred order. Within each section, the lessons progress from concrete to more abstract and from fundamental concepts to more tangential ones.

Who is this course for?

This course is designed for teachers to give them hands-on resources to teach middle school science.

Will this course work for homeschoolers?

I think so, though my background is classroom teaching. It’s not designed like a plug and play course. It’s a collection of activities that will help you teach the content.

What if I am unhappy with the course?

We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.

How long do I have access to the course?

After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course - across any and all devices you own.

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Meet the author...

Hi, I'm Carolyn Balch, the author of Engaging Science Labs. I started my career as a high school physics teacher. Then I entered the field of museum education at the National Air and Space Museum (part of the Smithsonian Institution) where I wrote science education materials and ran teacher workshops. When my children were born, I left the workforce and when they were little, our family got involved with a school start up. My children grew and with them, the school; 


I volunteered on a weekly basis, running science experiments for my son's class and joined the faculty as the middle school science teacher when the seventh grade was added. Now I write full-time, working to publish the curriculum I developed while I was teaching. Each online course is a unit of study from a hands-on, laboratory-experience perspective.

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