Goal(s): Students will make the connection between rocks and minerals and commonly used items.
Grade level(s): 4-5
Students will be able to state what a mineral is.
Students will be able to explain at least two reasons why minerals are important to daily life.
Prerequisites: Knowledge of what a rock is and what makes up a rock.
Are all rocks made up of minerals?
What are some examples of minerals?
What are some ways we use minerals?
Why are minerals important to daily life?
Time Allotment: 2 class periods
chicken bones, a drill bit, a filled saltshaker, a light bulb, a can of white paint, a container of bath powder, a glass, a piece of chalk, and a roll of film (all items in 1 box for a total of four boxes)
chart paper with marker
research materials and computers (1 computer per student, set of encyclopedias)
graphic organizers (available for each student)
list of guiding questions (written on board)
index cards with one of the following minerals written on each: diamond, halite, quartz, silver, chalk, titanium, and tungsten (3 of each)
Vocabulary: Mineral, diamond, halite, quartz, silver, chalk, titanium, and tungsten
A group of items will be passed around the classroom for the children to explore (a few small chicken bones, a drill bit, a filled saltshaker, a light bulb, a can of white paint, a container of bath powder, a glass, a piece of chalk, and a roll of film). Students will be asked to recall what they have learned about rocks. Next, they will be asked to open their science journals and record their observations of the items and what they think they all have in common. Students will be asked to recall what element makes up rocks (by forming in the gaps, cavities, and fractures within rocks where crystals have been unobstructed during their growth). The students will be further introduced to the term “mineral”.
Direct Instruction/Guided Practice:
Students will be told that nearly all rocks are composed of minerals. Rocks can be formed from a combination of several different minerals or a single mineral can make up the bulk of a rock. For example, limestone (or marble) is mainly composed of the mineral calcite. Minerals are important because they provide the elements essential to life, the metals of industry and the materials for building. Another example is the calcium and phosphorus in bones and the iron in blood. They are made available to the body through plants which extract these elements from minerals in the soil. Labeled visuals will be provided.
As a group, categorize the items that were passed around the room according to their ability to provide: A) Elements essential to life B) Convenience items C) Metals of industry D) Materials for building. The categories will be defined to ensure understanding of them. Answers will be written on a pre-made table/chart on the board. Students will also be given a paper form of the table to complete at their desks. ELL’s and students that need accommodations with written language will be given an adapted worksheet that includes visuals. Throughout the discussion, students will be told what minerals make up the items being sorted. For example, ore minerals provide metal for the drill bit and household appliances, gypsum is used to make plasterboard and paint, chalk is a form of limestone made up of the mineral calcite, etc.
Students will be given an index card with one of the following minerals written on it: diamond, halite, quartz, silver, chalk, titanium, and tungsten. Students will use informational resources and the internet to research their mineral to find its common uses (at least two). Students will use a copy of the graphic organizer used in the whole group activity to gather their information. Once their research is complete, they will use a computer and their graphic organizer to type a summary of their mineral and its common uses. Students that have difficulty typing will write their summary or be paired with a buddy that they can dictate to. A list of “Guiding Questions” will also be made available (as needed) to assist students in organizing their information and in finding relevant information when conducting their research.
Before students begin their independent research, reiterate the “Big Ideas” from the lesson. Revisit the “Focusing Questions” to help students solidify and generalize the information given. Allow students the remaining class time (30 minutes) to complete their research/summaries. Devote the next science block to completing the summaries and have each student present what their findings were. At that time, revisit the “Focusing Questions” again, while putting emphasis on how minerals are used to create many of our modern conveniences.
Students will be assessed according to their ability to:
1. Participate in the group discussions.
2. Define what a mineral is.
3. Explain at least two reasons why minerals are important to daily life.
Alternative assessments may be given to students who would be better served explaining through a short verbal retelling or labeled drawing.
1) Students can take a copy of the Minerals Table home to find common household items and the minerals they contain.
2) Students could research to see what items (if any) contain more than one of the minerals from the list given in class (e.g. Is there an item that contains both chalk and titanium?).