Grade 3 Comprehensive Curriculum Links Unit 4

Louisiana Studies

Activity 3: Rock Detectives (GLEs: 1, 6, 9, 12, 15, 45)

Materials List: per group - Let’s Go Rock Collecting by Roma Gans or a similar book; Internet; hand lens; Rock Detective BLM; small paper bags; classroom set of igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks; science learning logs; rocks collected from
Activity 1

Teacher Note:  This activity may take two 45 minute instructional periods.

Safety Note:  Review safety precautions that should be taken when picking up rocks.  For example, make sure that students wash hands after collecting rocks and are listening closely to teacher directions while looking for samples.

Read Let’s Go Rock Collecting by Roma Gans or a similar book before taking students rock collecting.  After reading the book, students will complete an anticipation guide (view literacy strategy descriptions) using the Rock Detective BLM before going outside.  Students will then become “Rock Detectives” while looking for rocks in their school yard and parking lot. (If rocks are not available around the school yard, the classroom set that was used in Activity 1 could be used instead). Take students on a walking tour of the school yard and parking lot so that they can search for different types of rocks.  Provide students with a hand lens and a small paper bag to use when collecting various kinds of rocks.  Upon returning to the classroom, have students use their Rock Detective BLM and the rocks that they found to check their anticipation guide. 

  1. Show the class some examples of igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks.   Let students examine these with the hand lens and/or some other type of magnifier to observe if they appear to be made of different materials.  If rock samples are not available, the following website has images of these rocks:
  1. Using reference books or textbooks, students should continue their study of rocks which should be followed with a discussion about the different minerals that make up rocks.  Using the rocks students have found or the class set, a class chart should be made listing the type of rock and examples of minerals that make up that rock.  The website  can be used to obtain images of various rocks and the minerals they contain.

Teacher Note:  Be sure that students stay focused on the common rocks and do not get side tracked on some of the more exotic rock samples.  The website is an excellent resource which gives information about common rocks found in yards and gardens, streets and parking lots, railroad tracks, and beaches.

  1.  Students should compare the real rock samples to the model rocks from Activity 1, using a Venn diagram graphic organizer (view literacy strategy descriptions) in their science learning log (view literacy strategy descriptions).

Teacher Note: It is critical that students realize that any rocks that they find probably do not come from Louisiana, but have been transported here by river action or human activity.  It is also very important for students to understand that ALL rocks are made from minerals and that some rocks may be composed of only one or two minerals. 


Interactive Links:



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Vermilion Parish Schools (Louisiana)

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