August 27, 2013

Rock Unit Outline in Unpolished Form

We are starting our new school year next Tuesday (day after Labor Day) and we are pretty excited.  I've been working on lesson plans like a crazy person and I'm almost ready.  We are starting science with the unit my children most looked forward to last year that we didn't end up getting to: Rocks.  

I won't lie--I wasn't as excited as the children. I don't think science is very interesting in general (no people) but rocks are even more uninteresting than most science.  BUT . . . I found a website of a science teacher who is amazing and now I'm actually looking forward to this unit.  You can find the blog here:

Most of this unit is taken directly from Beakers and Bumblebees.  I also supplemented with youtube pretty heavily because I understand science better when I hear it explained.  

We'll be doing science on Mondays and Tuesdays this year so this unit as written should last five weeks.  I expect it to last longer though because we'll be doing some rockhounding on some of our science days.  I just haven't worked out the details of those trips. 

If you want information on good places to rockhound in Utah check out:  This website has detailed instructions for polishing stones:  I also appreciated this website: and will be stealing her scripture idea.  I hope to memorize the scripture and the rock songs and vocab by the end of the unit.

The scripture she used is: 

M: Extra Book: Rocky Road Trip (Ms. Frizzle)

Day One (Pet Rocks):
Read: Everybody Needs a Rock
Practice our rock song:

We will ROCK you!

We will we will rock you!
we will we will rock you!

Volcanos erupt with lava so hot
it cools and hardens and its igneous rock cuz
rocks can change...all over this place...
they weather, and melt, and get rearranged!

We will we will rock you!
we will we will rock you!

Rock gets weathered into tiny tiny rocks
layers and layers get piled on top
it gets compacted, its elementary
this rock will become sedimentary

we will we will rock you
we will we will rock you!

Any type of rock under heat and pressure
becomes metamorphic and thats for sure
cuz rocks can change, all over this place..
they weather, and melt and get rearranged

we will we will rock you
we will we will rock you!

Make pet rocks!
·      Google eyes
·      Fabric for clothes/capes/hats
·      Paint
·      Pet rock description papers (name, date of birth, personality traits, likes/dislikes)

Day Two (Fossil Fuels):
·      Start learning vocabulary

o   Fossil fuels: nonrenewable resources found deep in the Earth, formed by the remains of ancient plants and animals. Coal, Oil, and natural gas are the three fossil fuels
o   Coal- a fossil fuel formed by the remains of ancient plants
o   Oil- a fossil fuel formed by the remains of ancient plants and animals.
o   Natural gas- a fossil fuel formed by ancient plants and animals. It is a flammable odorless gas.

·      Fossil Fuels Song!
(to row, row, row your boat)

Oil, coal, and natural gas
we use them everyday.
These three fossil fuels
are formed in special ways.

Oil comes from animals and plants
plus time, pressure, and heat.
Natural gas in the same way and
coal is formed from peat!

Put resources in the correct area of the chart:

Renewable Resource: Resources that can be replaced

Nonrenewable Resource: Resources that cannot be replaced
oil (fossil fuel)
coal (fossil fuel)
natural gas (fossil fuel)

Inexhaustible Resources: Resources that will not run out

Day Three (Earth’s Layers):
Read: The Magic School Bus: Inside the Earth
Read: If Rocks Could Sing

Add to vocabulary:
Crust- the outermost layer of the Earth
Mantle- the middle layer of the Earth
Core- the innermost layer of the Earth

Make a model of the earth’s crust out of paper (circular, basic model)

Color and label more complex model.

Make oreo model.  The outside chocolate cookie represents the crust, the cream represents the squishy mantle, the chocolate syrup represents the liquid iron outer core, and the m&m represents the solid iron inner core!

Have hard-boiled eggs for lunch.

Day Four (Erosion/Weathering):
*Practice song
*Practice vocab

Read: I Am a Rock
Read: If You Find a Rock
Read: Rocks and Soil, Simple Science
Read: pgs. 24 – 27 of 100 Things

Add to vocab:
Weathering: The break down and wearing away of rock into sediment
Deposition: the process in which sediment is dropped in a new place.
Landform: a natural structure on Earth’s surface
Delta: a large flat area of land at the mouth of a river
Erosion: The movement of sediment by water, waves, wind, or ice
Sediment: bits of rocks, soil, sand, shells, and the remains of organisms.
Glacier: a large body of moving ice that stays frozen all year.

Eat a gobstopper while watching video to do our own weathering.

Get dirt in paint roller thingy, weather it with wind (blow through straw), rain (spray bottle), waves (fill bottom up with water and roll the water toward the dirt)

Do acid rain experiment (rocks in water vs. vinegar): pgs. 12-13 in Science Fair Projects: Rocks and Minerals

Day Five (Sedimentary Rock/Minerals):
Read pgs. 14 – 17 in 100 Things About Rocks
Read Sedimentary Rocks
Read A Gift From the Sea

Review vocab and song
Add to vocab:
Sedimentary Rock: rock that formed when sediments were pressed and cemented together.

Put together a sheet of paper with description of minerals.

Make our own sedimentary rock: weather graham crackers (sediment), add clumps of butter and sugar and m&ms (more sediment) bake for a few minutes until firm to show what adding heat will do.

Make this oreo layered dessert: and eat it at supper while discussing the layers.

Day Six (Igneous Rock):
Read pgs. 10-13 of 100 Things You Should Know
Read Igneous Rocks

Add to vocab:
Igneous rock- rock formed from cooled magma or lava.

Melt chocolate and pour it over ice cream to see if it hardens when exposed to the cold.  Then have it harden on a plate more slowly and see if it looks different than the chocolate that melted quickly.

Day Seven (Metamorphic Rock):
Practice vocab and songs
Add to vocab: Metamorphic rock- rock that formed when another kind of rock was squeezed and heated deep inside Earth’s crust.

Read pgs. 18-21 in 100 Things
Read Metamorphic Rocks

Take a Snickers bar and apply heat and pressure—see what it looks like afterwards.

Day Eight (Rock Cycle):
Read pgs. 6 – 9 of 100 Things You Should Know About Rocks

Add to vocab: Rock cycle- the process of rocks changing into other kinds of rock.

Put together rock cycle handout (I got it here:

Day Nine (Review):
Read Let’s Go Rock Collecting
Read Weird But True Rocks

Make crayon rocks—all three types of rocks using shaved crayons.

Day 10 (Rock Labeling):
Read Rocks in His Head
Read 100 Things pg. 28 – end
Read Rocks and Minerals
Read Cool Rocks

Get out rock collections, discuss which rocks fall into which rock groups, test hardness, classify by color, hardness, etc. 

(I’ll be looking at the rock collection we purchased throughout the unit, but this day is about comparing the rocks we’ve found with the ones we already have labeled and seeing if we can identify the rocks we’ve collected.)

Play with our rocks.  Make more pet rocks, label our egg carton collections, sing our songs, review what we’ve learned.  Pull apart cookies to find the “minerals” that make up the “rock.” 

Any suggestions from those of you who are rock experts would be appreciated!

August 7, 2013


I opened the box from Home Science Tools with great excitement and at the very top were the three garter snakes ready to be dissected and I decided that snakes were a bad choice.  A very, very bad choice.

I'm still a little (lot) freaked out knowing they're downstairs in a box in my locked store room.

Who knows what they'll do once I go to bed.

The rest of the dissection specimens--no big deal.  The sheep brains and sheep hearts looked fascinating.  Frogs are nothing, crayfish pretty cool, and the grasshoppers reminded me of my oldest sister who used to catch small animals, kill them, dissect them, and carefully attach the body parts to a labeled sheet of paper when she was 10ish.  She's in the medical profession now--no surprises there.

We're doing nine dissections total, including owl pellets.

I might have to just throw the snakes away though.  Or give them to my nephew who has heretofore been sniffy about my kids being homeschooled and now is desperate to join us--all due to dissecting.

I guess this is it, that pivotal moment in life where you find out if you are tough or a wuss.

I'm pretty sure I'm a wuss.

August 6, 2013

Oskar, 5 months

This post has nothing worthwhile in it, but I had this adorable pic of Oskar sitting around my desktop needing to be shared with the masses.  He's so cute!

How is everyone doing on getting ready for school?  The library has assigned me several boxes because I've put so many books on hold to look through.  I'm tempted to get a library card for Oskar so I'll have seven cards instead of six, but then I think that might be excessive.  :)

We're using the Harmony Ed charter school program this year--the Independent Learning option-and I've also been spending countless hours figuring out what to purchase for this year.  I'm trying out a few new things.  In the next few days I hope to post about some of the new curriculum we'll be trying out.

In the meantime, I'm headed to bed.  My MIL is watching the children all day tomorrow so I can work with diligence on homeschooling stuff.  I am grateful for her.  Today I tried to work on homeschooling stuff and my children made a huge mess with the watercolors, so I sent them outside where they got into the mud.  I sent the older kids downstairs to sit on their beds while I bathed Harriet (the two-year-old).  While the water was running for the bath I mopped the kitchen and dining room floors where the kids had walked in with all the mud.  Then Oskar started screaming so I nursed him--all the while forgetting that the water was still running for the bath.

My older kids came upstairs and told me that there was water coming out of the ceiling downstairs.  I remembered the bath water and went racing into the bathroom where I found water pouring over the sides.  Yay.

Suffice it to say, it will probably be easier to pull homeschool together without the children.  (Come to think about it, most things are easier without children.  But without them what would we do with ourselves??)