A little ditty...

about properties of minerals to the tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat written by yours truly:

Hardness, odor, color, taste,
Cleavage, luster, streak.
Identify a mineral
by its properties!

We just finished a unit on Earth's Materials (Rocks, Minerals, Fossils, and Soil) and we learned this little song to help us remember the properties for identifying minerals.

Other fun activities we did:

1) Made a fossil to learn the difference between casts, molds, and imprints. Give each child a piece of clay and sea shell. Have them put vaseline on the sea shell and press into the clay. Gently pull the shell out and discuss that they made an imprint. Then, have the class fill the imprint with glue. It will take a few days to dry. Once the glue is dry, have kids pull the hardened glue out and discuss that this is the cast and the space left in the "rock" or clay is called the mold.

2) Brought in rocks from our neighborhood and sorted them based on their properties. i.e. smooth, rough, dark, light, shiny, dull, etc...

3) Mined raisins from cookies to model how rocks and minerals are mined from Earth's crust.

4) Drew sketches of rocks and minerals we observed in our science notebooks.

5) Learned about the three types of rocks (igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic) and made tableau's (frozen pictures) to represent each one. We also modeled each type of rock using play doh. Have them form their playdough into the shape of three flatish rocks and place them on top of each other. Explain that over time, the weight of the layers of sediment causes the sediment to turn into hard sedimentary rock. Then, have student apply pressure with their hands to smash the rock. Explain that when you apply heat and pressure to a rock, it turns into a metamorphic rock. Finally, to demonstrate how igenous rock is formed, I ask kids what happens to play doh when it's left out over night. They always say it dries out and hardens. Explain that this is how igneous rock is formed. It is lava that has cooled off and hardened into a rock.

6) We made hand motions to help us remember the three types of fossils (cast, mold, and preserved part)

7) We observed the different types of soils and how tested how well they retained water.

What ideas or activities do you use to teach about Earth's Materials?


  1. Around Christmas I teach them the helping verbs sung to Jingle Bells. Even 6th graders get silly.

  2. We make edible soil to help remember the different layers of soil! Let me know if you want the directions. I have it at school.

    We also sing a song to row row row your boat but it's to help remember the three different kinds of rocks and how they are formed.

    LOVE your playdough idea! We're working on this unit now and I might have to steal that one!

  3. I've never had to teach this, but if I do, I'll definitely be remembering number 3 :) I'm a sucker for food!


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