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This inquiry was well received by the students and we had a lot of good discussions. Two students brought in their own rock collections to share. I had a piece of pumice that I floated in water as a demonstration. The students thought that was pretty "cool." I will definitely make this a part of my fourth grade curriculum, but use it earlier in the year to extend what is taught in the regular classroom.

This lesson could be extended in so many ways by creating math problems using students' measurements or by measuring blocks in buildings and figuring how many would be needed to build various sizes of buildings. Life skills could be taught by giving each student a pet rock to care for (as many classes do with eggs or dolls). Music could be incorporated by studying the history of "rock music" or songs that have the word "rock" in them. Incorporating small rocks into a picture might be an interesting way to address art. A rock climbing field trip would be a great family extension.

I hope you find this inquiry useful in your classroom.

Linda Sebastian
Clermont Northeastern School District
Batavia, OH 45103

I chose to conduct this inquiry in my classroom because of its tight alignment with our Earth science curriculum.   The inquiry offers a new approach to discovering and learning about rocks, which is often a topic in which interest is quickly lost.   I felt that the activities contained in the inquiry were thorough and different from my normal approach to things.   I felt that it would offer me an opportunity to explore other teaching tools as well as provide the students with an engaging and informative lesson.

There were many things that I liked about Hard Rock Cafe.   First and foremost, it kept my kids interested in the topic of rocks from start to finish.   This has always been a topic in which students have quickly lost interest.   Presenting the material as a inquiry made it much more successful.   They felt as thought they were discovering things.   They got excited about writing rock stories, observing rocks they found and playing a game to deepen understanding.   It was really great to see!   Specifically, I enjoyed reading The Pebble In My Pocket: A History of Our Earth.   As a 7th grade educator, I felt it was always too juvenile to read picture books to them.   Doing so with this inquiry certainly challenged my preconceived notion.   Not only did they enjoy listening, but they routinely referred to it in days since as we discussed specific facets of rocks and the rock cycle.   It really provided a platform across which we could tie things together and conduct detailed conversations,   skills I always struggle to enhance in our kids.

The first thing I would change about this inquiry is the time allotted to various activities.   I routinely felt as though the time indicated in the lesson plans prevented the students from fully experiencing the activities.   I had to make adjustments to the layout to accommodate the increased amount of class time it took.   I also did not feel as though the Thinksheet connected things together as I would have liked.   Perhaps it is the group of students I have this year, but they really struggled to see the connection between the Thinksheet and the overall goal of the inquiry.   We had to spend a significant amount of time working through that as a group and I feel as though they did connect things by the end.   Another concern for me is conveying the content.   I felt as though it were necessary to give the students written notes on the rock cycle and types of rocks.   Again, I am used to doing things a certain way and this is probably a good example of that.   However, some students (a select few) did not handle the idea of inquiry well.   Those students who want material in black and white (written notes and teacher instruction) struggled a bit.   However, they hopefully learned a new skill and developed the understanding that learning is a discovery process.

I did not feel the need to change much about the inquiry.   I made some time adjustments to the activities.   We have a modified block schedule, so I needed to add to the activities or take away from them to fit the actual class periods.   I did provide notes on the rock cycle for students who requested some additional information as well.   In regard to content the only thing I added was a density calculation to the rock observation activity.   I had each student calculate the density of their two rocks.   Then using their observations and measurements and a rock and mineral guide I had them attempt to identify the rock by name.   Then we discussed the accuracy of that effort and the difficulty rock identification can present.   Other than that, I was very happy with and followed the teacher lesson plans provided.

I did not use any resources that were not listed in your related resources.   I have made some notes about resources I would like to seek out prior to conducting the inquiry again next year.   First, I am hoping to connect the writing of the "My Life as a Rock" essay to their writing work in English.   Secondly, I am hoping to connect back to a story they write in 6th grade from the perspective of a water droplet in the water cycle. Perhaps even we can have the 6th grade teachers keep a copy of those stories for them to revisit before writing the new one.  

Kathleen (Katie) Dillenburger, Seventh Grade
Indian Hill Middle School
Cincinnati, OH 45243

I chose this inquiry because it aligns with our district's science curriculum and our state standards.

I liked many things: the rock experiments (weighing, volume, limestone), the Archimedes story, the book resources.

I wouldn't change many things. However, I did feel that the proficiency assessment was too difficult for 3rd grade so my students did it in groups. I used my own assessment from our Science book as an additional assessment that was more grade-level appropriate.

I used many of the Related Resources: I requesed all of the books and read some of them aloud. The others I made available in our class library. I signed up for a trial subscription to BrainPop and showed the video. I also printed the BrainPop wordsearch for students to complete.

Other comments: We went on a field trip to California Woods. The focus was "Lands Across Time: The Geology of Cincinnati." It was a great culminating activity for this unit. Students knew all about the topic and were able to answer many questions and ask good, informed questions of their own. The naturalists were impressed with their knowledge.

Jennifer Gerstle--Third Grade Teacher
Wilson Elementary
Forest Hills School District
Cincinnati, OH 45244

This inquiry was terrific! I chose this inquiry because we just started our unit in earth science. I liked all the activities and my students especially enjoyed playing the rock cycle game, A Rock Is Born. They even wanted me to make copies so they could take it home and play it!! All the activities were easy to do and supplies were easy to locate. They were easy and effective. The resources were helpful, especially the Rock Hounds website. I used this site for a computer lab activity and web quest. When I use this activity next year, I'll make sure that I have more samples of different kinds of rocks (marble, granite, obsidian, etc.) I found a great little rock shop in Cincinnati called Gold Bug Rock Shop with lots of great fossils and minerals!!

Renee DeJaco
Fifth and Sixth Grade
St. Jude School
Cincinnati, OH 45248

Hard Rock Cafe is an excellent addition to the Science for Ohio website. I taught a brief unit on the rock cycle earlier in the year, and I brought in a few types rocks that my students probably had never seen before. I noticed they enjoyed looking at them and spent time after class studying them even further. When I read the description of Hard Rock Cafe and discovered that the unit would give students an opportunity to observe and study even more rocks, I decided it would be a good lesson to expose my students to. I searched through my rock specimens that I have collected over the years and brought them into class. The students enjoyed looking at their pair of rocks so much that at the end of class, I allowed them to view all the other sets of rocks that I had brought in for the other groups. I was also happy to find a game that would help my students see that so many different things can happen to a rock during the rock cycle. Sometimes students have difficulties understanding the rock cycle does not necessarily go in a circle. I had planned to play the rock cycle game for only 15 minutes, but my students were enjoying it so much I extended the time. By the time the students completed several rounds of the game, every student in my class understood the many different paths a rock could take. One suggestion I would make to improve this unit would be to include directions for the students to use when using a scale. My students used triple beam balances because that is what we had available at my school. My students had few experiences using balances so I gave them a set of step-by-step directions. Another modification I made in this unit was to use lemon juice instead of vinegar to test if the rock contained limestone. From my experience, there is more of a reaction when lemon juice is used. My students and I enjoyed the Hard Rock Cafe unit, and I recommend it to any teacher searching for a fun and inquiry based unit on the rock cycle.

Matthew Spangler
Amelia Middle School
Batavia, OH 45103

I chose this inquiry to integrate with our third grade science unit on Rocks, Minerals, and Fossils. We use the district purchased Harcourt Science book, Unit C Chapter One. In lieu of the science experiments included as introductions for each section of our science book, I implemented the observations, activities, and experiments from Hard Rock Cafe. The activities were more difficult and involved than activities I would usually conduct with third grader. We worked on Day One and Two together as a class instead of in small groups. The experiments went smoothly and the students enjoyed finding the weight and volume of their rocks. Using a graduated cylinder was a new experience for most students. On Day Three the game "A Rock Is Born" was introduced. I was surprised at how excited and involved students were in playing this game. I was concerned about weather the class would understand Day Four and be able to complete "My Life As A Rock" diary. I modelled an example diary. Most students worked dilegently on this activity. When assessing these "diaries" I was impressed by many of the students' understanding of the rock cycle. All but three of my students orally shared their "diaries" with the class. When completing the activities for Day Five, I did omit the proficiency test. We had just taken the Harcourt Science test over our rocks, mineral, and fossils unit and I felt the proficiency test was created for higher grade levels and wouldn't be appropriate for my third graders. Overall, my students and I enjoyed this SFO inquiry. Hard Rock Cafe's activities would cover our Ohio Academic Standards for third grade science without even using our Harcourt Science book. In the future I would modify the SFO activities to be more appropriate for third grade and possibly not even use our science book.

Nicki Utz, Third Grade Teacher
Wilson Elementary School
Forest Hills School District
Cincinnati, Ohio 45244

I chose this inquiry because I thought it would be interesting and a great educational experience for my students to learn about the three major classifications of rocks and techniques used to classify them. I knew my students would have the opportunity to learn about the history of rocks, read about how they are formed and learn how rocks are recycled throughout the earth. I enjoyed the entire lesson because it was easy to follow and my students were engaged in the lesson each day. When I read the book "The Pebble In My Pocket" I thought my students were a little bored. All of a sudden they began to ask me a lot of questions. I must say I was relieved. Reading the book was a great introduction to this inquiry because my students were able to access their prior knowledge about rocks and learn something new at the same time. My students were able to examine rocks closely and make detailed observations about them. This was great because this really helped reinforce their investigation skills and to be able to focus on specific characteristics in order to classify objects. They really enjoyed testing the rocks to see if they contained limestone. Now they are able to trace the path of a rock and how it is recycled on the earth, which they demonstrated well while playing the "My Life As A Rock" game. I utilized all resources connected to this lesson such as dictionaries and computers/internet. The rock cycle movie was great reinforcement of what they had learned. I was also able to share my own rock collection that I had collected my senior year of college in an Earth Science class. Overall, this was a great inquiry and my students have better observation skills and a broader knowledge about rocks

Gena Bosley
Fifth Grade Teacher
T.C.P World Academy
Cincinnati, Ohio 45213

Teaching rocks can be either exciting or totally boring. I enjoy teaching by themes. When I came across this theme title I was very excited to see what it was all about. I was excited to see children's literature brought into this theme. During the lesson, my principal walked past my eighth grade classroom. He was amazed at how attentive my students were. He called me into his office after school and asked me what I was teaching my students. He said every student was paying attention and not moving an inch. I told him with every unit or theme I always read a literature book. I read The Pebble in My Pocket to build a basic foundation. I then took a different rock each day and put it in the Mystery Box and the students had to come up with a hypothesis about the mystery rock. Students then were given their first Thinksheet. Students went around the classroom to several learning centers and picked two rocks that interested them. They observed and recorded information from their observations. I then made up a graphic organizer called a T-fold. My students used the two rocks they picked from their first observation and completed their organizer. On the top of the T-fold students came up with a creative title (Hard Rock Cafe Recipes For Rocks) and then they wrote a paragraph about the characteristics of their rocks. At the bottom of the T-fold my students drew a picture of their two rocks and then they labeled each rock as igneous, sedimentary and metamporphic. Then students had to come up with five characteristics that described their rocks. This activity took two days to complete the story, Mystery Box, and the Graphic Organizer. My students completely thought this was a "cool" way to introduce rocks.

My Life As a Rock. Students shared their rocks with their small groups. Students used a graphic organizer to begin brainstorming about their pet rock. As the students were brainstorming they used their T-fold to help describe their pet rock. The T-fold Graphic Organizer was very usefully in several different ways. Students were able to put their thoughts and their ideas into a fun and creative fold, which also was a pocket holder for their two rocks. I passed out the My Life As a Rock information page which I used as a reteaching tool to see how much prior knowledge they had retained about the rock cycle. I used the writing process to help the students write about their Life As A Rock. How Do Rocks Cycle on the Earth? Students were in three groups. Each group went over their rock cycle papers from the day before. Each group discussed what the three types of rocks were and their characteristics. Students then used their prior knowledge and one of their rocks they had collected and they played the game, A Rock Is Born. After playing this game and students are familiar with the characterisitics of rocks and I think this would be a great opportunity to take students out on a rock hunt.

Put It All Together Wow!! My students had a blast with this last activity. Students completed the Make Sense of It section of the Thinksheet and then I put students into three groups. One group had a roll of chocolate chip cookie dough, another group had a roll of sugar cookie dough and the third group had an oreo cookie. Each group had to roll out their rocks onto a cookie sheet, as they were making their rocks they had to table talk and decide what rock their cookie dough represented and why. For example the group with the oreo cookie had the sedimentary rock because the filling is cement, the cookie had parallel lines etc. Each group then put the cookies into the toaster oven and they observed and made inferences on what the heat and pressure was doing to their rock. As each group finished and were waiting on the cookies to cook they played the game A Rock Is Born. They really liked this game and enjoyed their own cooking.

Shelley Nooe
Eighth Grade Teacher
Felicity Franklin Middle School
Felicity, Ohio 45120

Why Did I Choose This Inquiry? I chose this inquiry because rocks and landforms are part of my fifth grade curriculum, so it would be easy to incorporate it into my science schedule.

What Did I Like About This Inquiry? I liked the easy-to-understand diagram of the rock cycle that was used throughout the inquiry. After becoming familiar with it, students could easily explain how a rock forms as igneous, sedimentary, or metamorphic. They also could see how rocks are part of a continuous cycle.

What Would I Change About This Inquiry? I think the inquiry lacked information about the three types of rocks. I supplemented the lessons with my own materials that I have accumulated over the years. Before beginning the inquiry, I showed students a Power Point presentation that gave a brief history of the Earth and discussed weathering, erosion, and deposition. I think it is important for students to have some background on the layers of the Earth before discussing how rocks are formed.

Did I Connect This Activity to Other Areas? I was skeptical about having students write a story about their life as a rock, but it turned out great. I connected this part of the inquiry to language arts because we are currently learning about first person point of view. I also used this opportunity to introduce personification. I told students that their stories would be graded on creativity, and some students really ran with it.

Comments: This inquiry makes a good introduction to a longer unit on rocks and landforms.

Veronica Rodriguez
Fifth Grade Teacher
Holt Crossing Intermediate School
Grove City, OH 43123

Thank you for sending in your PowerPoint presentation What on Earth Is Going on Here? for other teachers to use. I have put it in the Related Resources sections of Hard Rock Cafe and Dig This! Erosion Investigation.

John Farmer
Science for Ohio Project

I chose this inquiry to supplement my lessons on geology. I really liked the hands on activities in this lesson. The kids enjoyed the rock cycle game and I thought that it really demonstrated that the rock cycle does not follow a specific pattern. I thought that this inquiry had a lot of vagueness. I like to get a little more specific with my class--I think that it helps their comprehension. I would use this again as a culminating part of a geology unit after the kids have already been introduced to all of the different types of rocks. In addition, I would also prepare have the students watch the brain pop movie in the computer lab. I did it with a projector and it was a little hard to hear. This unit was a lot of fun for my class.

JoAndrea Crawford
Summit Elementary
Cincinnati, Ohio 45244

I chose this inquiry because it went along with my unit on rock formation. I didn't do the entire unit because I have a teaching project. The students are assigned a certain type of rock to research and become experts to teach the rest of the class. Students were asked to find out how their rock is formed, examples, it's place on the rock cycle, characteristics of their type, etc. I used "A Rock is Born" to review for the assessment. The students really enjoyed playing the game. I had them use a pebble as their game piece. The game helped them review for nine-weeks test which was their stories "My Life as a Rock." Instead of filling out the rock cycle page as a class, it was part of the test. I made it part of the prewrite for their stories. I did this so it was more like the writing proficiency. Students wrote a story from the point of view of the rock they chose. Most of the stories turned out great. The next day, if the students wanted to share their stories, they read them aloud. All the students knew the rock cycle. A few of them had a hard time being creative. These activities were great addtions to my rock unit.

Winifred E. Oliver
Sixth Grade Math and Science
Felicity Franklin Middle School
Felicity, OH 45120

I chose this set of inquires for several reasons. I teach a unit on Fossils of the Ohio Valley to second graders, so I used the concepts in this unit to lay the foundation for an understanding of geology and the earth's layers. I adapted Linda's unit for second grade students. Primary children, regardless of age, background, economic status, or ability can collect and connect to rocks because they can interact with them in their world. Finally, the concepts match the strands of the new state standards.

Positive aspects of this inquiry: The inquiry was well organized and the lesson plans were concise, clear, creative, and literature based. Clearly, the subject matter was integrated including, science, math, social studies, and language arts.

Changes for Primary Students: I am already using the main concepts, ideas, and literature in Science Lab. My goal was to adapt the materials to provide students in grades K-2 foundational geology lessons presented in logical, sequential order.

Day 1: What Are Rocks And How Are They Formed?--This day is an introduction to geology so I used the book, How To Dig A Hole To The Other Side of the Earth to help students conceptualize concepts. I modified the Think Sheet and Rock Properties Data Sheet and created a word bank to make them usable for primary students.

Day 2: How Can Rock Properties Help Identify Rocks?--I changed the literature connection to Everybody Needs a Rock. I also adapted measuring mass and linear measurement to grade 2 skill levels. I used a checklist for discovering rock properties and a Rock Biography Sheet for students to record information about rocks they observed.

Day 3: How Do Rocks Cycle on Earth?--This lesson was introduced with How Much is a Million and Let's Go Rock Collecting to provide students with the concepts of age of the earth's layers and that the earth recycles it's layers. I created a hands-on inquiry that simulated how the layers of the earth can be changed by heat, time, and pressure. This inquiry made the rock cycle concrete to primary students. They also participated in a "Rocks Recycle" play.

Day 4: My Life as a Rock--The introductory literature for this lesson was How Mountains are Made to reinforce the concept that the layers of the earth are constantly changing. They also viewed a primary video "Rocks, the Solid Material" to provide another avenue for primary students to conceptualize the material. Students worked in partner pairs to write, My Life as a Rock. We also investigated ways rocks can change and looked for evidence of these changes and recorded them using a checklist. Students could not conceptualize all of the steps of the Rock Cycle Sheet, so I simplified it and we sang The Rock Cycle Song.

Day 5: Put It All Together--As a summary, we viewed the Magic School Bus video, "Inside The Earth" to review the concepts we have learned. We had a question, answer, feed back session to clarify information. The evaluations were changed to the skill level of second graders. Students sorted a collection of rocks into two categories and justify the rule for sorting. They were to choose one of the groups and re-classify by sorting again. Then they were to sort the third time. Students were asked to draw a picture of the layers of the earth, use a word bank to label the layers, and indicate by color that the layers get hotter as you go from crust to inner core. They also listed two ways the earth's crust can change, drew a picture, and explained their answer.

Utilization of Resources: Resources were excellent. I was able to adapt them for primary use.

Comments: The adaptations to make these lessons appropriate for primary students were well received. Students were able to participate in inquiry lessons and grasp concepts. As with any pilot, I have made changes to my original plans and make the lessons more effective. I will continue to adapt and make adjustments. I am excited about the outcomes and will use these lessons each year. It was wonderful for me to see "rocks come alive" for second graders as they investigated concepts of recycling, measurement, classification, and inquiry.

Carol Ogden
Primary Science Lab--Grades 1-2
Mason Heights Elementary
Mason, Ohio 45040

I have used this lesson on two separate occasions in a semester long emergency proficiency class. This class is for juniors and seniors that have still not passed the 9th grade proficiency exam. I found it to be very successful. The students enjoyed identifying the properties of their rocks. I did this a little different than described in the lesson plan. We made a list of rock properties on the board before viewing the rocks and then students used this list to complete Data Sheet #1. Since they are high school students, I had them calculate density once they had measured mass and volume for Data Sheet #2. I read The Pebble in My Pocket before doing the Rock Cycle game. I really like this book, but it is a little long. When I use it next year, I'm going to add a set of true-false anticipation questions to be answered before and after the story. The game is the most crucial part of this inquiry. This is where the light bulb goes on and students begin to realize that the rock cycle isn't a perfect circle. This group struggles with instructions so it helped to play a few turns as a class. I was amazed once students started writing their stories of My Life as a Rock, however, how much they had absorbed. This is a good assessment tool. My students also struggle to organize their writing, so I found it helpful to give them a sentence structure as a model. I wrote on the board, I started life as a (type of rock). Then, I changed into a (type of rock) through the process of (process). Once I did that they didn't seem to have any trouble completing this activity.

Sandee Coats-Haan
Lakota East High School
Liberty Township, OH 45044

I'm always looking for more interesting ways to teach the rock cycle to my fifth graders, and so enjoyed using this inquiry. I did not do every activity. We modified the first activity, "What are Rocks and How are They Formed?" When I realized the kids were just writing things to fill up the space on the first Thinksheet, I stopped them and we did a discussion instead. The thinksheet guided our discussions of the characteristics and properties of rocks, and gave me some idea of misconceptions common about rock formation. We used it to define terms like "luster" and "hardness." I liked the way that Data Sheet #2 walked the kids through finding the density of different rocks. The rock cycle game was very effective. I also changed #4 on the Rock Properties Data Sheet #2. I required students to go online and to the library to find information to complete a worksheet I'd set up for a specific type of rock or mineral. Each group of 3 or 4 students was assigned several specific types of rocks and minerals, and they organized themselves as to how best go about finding the information. It took us several days in the library and computer lab, but I think it was worth the learning involved.

Sheryl Melvin
Fifth/Sixth Grade Teacher
Mariemont Elementary School
Cincinnati, Ohio 45227

Hard Rock Cafe fit nicely into my lessons plans because we had just finished a unit of land formations. Also, this is my least area of expertise so I wanted to see how easy it was to follow and how my eighth graders would respond. We have covered a lot of topics this year dealing with volume, weight and density. Measuring and recording the weight and volume of the rocks reinforced concepts already presented in class. Practice makes students more perfect! The students favorite activity was writing their life history as a rock. Their understanding of the rock cycle was reflected in their stories. Some students had add humor and created a great stories. Other students wrote just what they needed to finish the assignment, however, all were successful in understanding something new. We also liked "A Rock is Born" game. We played the game several times with different numbers of people. I believe this game really helped establish a background knowledge for the rock cycle that generated such great stories. I've used several of the "Want Something More" activities, such as the measuring and data collection by weighing various rocks and by finding their volume. We also performed the Moh's scale hardness test on various types of rocks. Both were natural extensions that reinforced previous concepts. I've had some students bring in rocks that they found interesting and we discussed which classification they fall under. For older students, I would do the movie about the rock cycle on the first day. It would be a great lead in activity. I only have one computer in my classroom and I hooked up an LCD projector to show all the students at one time, which takes away from individual exploration but it still got the job done. We also discussed convection inside the earth which "mixes" things up a bit. I showed them a boiling water demo with particles of paper the demonstrated convection. We also discussed how the timeline for the rock cycle is very different from our own. I liked the activites because they were easy to follow and the students gained a lot of knowledge upon completion of this unit!

Beth Brown
7th and 8th Grade Science Teacher
Mt. Carmel School
Cedar Grove, Indiana 47016