1st Grade Trophy Links

Vermilion Parish Schools

Activity 1:  Rocks, Minerals, and Soils (GLEs: 1, 3, 5, 6, 9, 11, 12, 36, 42)

Materials List: resource literature; science learning logs; chart or white board; “Dress the Miner” props (see list below); rock, mineral (ex., gypsum, copper, halite, pyrite); and soil samples; small shovels or metal spoons; small hand rakes; cups; hand lenses

This activity will take more than one day to complete. 

Facilitate a discussion of proper safety procedures when doing investigations.

Share the book, The Magic School Bus Inside the Earth, or similar literature with students. Facilitate a discussion about rocks, minerals, and soil. Discuss methods and tools used to excavate the core samples described in the book.

Introduce the activity “Dress The Miner.”  In this activity the students will suggest ideas about what clothing and tools a miner might need. Begin by discussing how people who work in different trades have different equipment and may need to dress in a special way.  Then have one student come up to be the “miner.” As items and tools are added, facilitate a discussion about the use of each.  Listed below are items that could be used to “dress the miner”:

  • Collecting Bag - to carry tools in at the beginning and then put specimens in while rock, mineral, or fossil hunting

  • Pair of gloves - cotton garden gloves will work

  • Paint brush - to move away loose dirt

  • Hand lens - for examining specimens

  • Newspaper - to wrap the fragile specimens in (often needed for fossils)

  • Zip top plastic bag - for the specimens when found

  • Marker - for labeling the plastic bag with date, location, and assorted other facts

  • Chisel - for hitting the rocks

  • Hammer- a regular hammer will do if a rock hammer is not available. Discuss the special “look” of the geologist’s hammer.

  • Hard hat - commercial or toy; lead into a discussion of other safety items

  • Steel toed shoes - a parent may have some that can be borrowed

Investigation Task: (This task can be divided into two days – a soil day and a rock day) Students can use some of above items as they “mine” for rocks, minerals, and soil samples in the school yard.  Additional tools for collecting samples are hand shovels or metal spoons, small rakes, and cups. It may be necessary to collect a variety of soil and or rock samples ahead of time in case the mining expedition does not produce good samples. Allow students to investigate these samples in small groups. As students explore soil samples, guide them to understand that soil is composed of varying amounts of organic matter (living and dead organisms), minerals, water, and air. Have students observe the soil samples and discuss the materials found in the soil. Next have students observe the rocks collected using a hand lens.  Students will begin to notice the varying attributes of the rocks.  Assist students in sorting the rocks and naming the attributes of the rocks. Facilitate student understanding that minerals are naturally occurring within the soil. Rocks are relatively complex materials made of basic materials called minerals.  Finally, have the students observe the mineral samples and make observations.

Additional resources can be found in the K-4 Globe Earth System Science, Scoop on Soil activities found at GLOBE: Elementary GLOBE.

Using a graphic organizer (view literacy strategy descriptions), instruct students to create and record observations in a chart similar to the one below (have students add soil and minerals below rocks) in their science learning logs (view literacy strategy descriptions). This learning log is a notebook that students keep in content classrooms in order to record ideas, questions, reactions, new understandings, or visual representations such as diagrams, charts, etc. Documenting ideas in a log about content being studied forces students to “put into words” what they know or do not know.  This process offers a reflection of understanding that can lead to further study and alternative learning paths.  It combines writing and reading with content learning.

Students need to begin creating charts on their own.  Model how to set up and use the organizer on a chart or white board. Assist students in determining attributes or properties to look for in the samples collected. The students can then refer to the chart when comparing the properties of rocks, minerals, and soil in small and large group discussions.




Surface Type




brown and gray



Bumpy and smooth







Lesson Plans/Resources:

Interactive Links:


Looking for a specific topic? Search our Vermilion sites below!



Key Code for Documents   = Internet Source   = Acrobat Reader   = PowerPoint   =MS Word   = Excel    = Inspiration   = Kidspiration 3  Video


2nd Grade Main Link    Vermilion Parish for Kids!     Hurricanes for Kids!    LA Indians for Kids!    Louisiana for Kids Site   eHomework Pad for Kids!   Testing Site for Kids!

Vermilion Parish Curriculum Site (Correlates with 2008 Louisiana Comprehensive Curriculum)

Vermilion Parish Schools (Louisiana)

Note: Most sites need Java. Adobe Flash, Shockwave, or Adobe Acrobat Reader
To report broken links or comments, please email
Stacy Bodin


Hit Counter