Hands On Science: Rocks & Minerals Unit

As many of you already know I tend to lean towards using unit studies when it comes to history and science. I find we get so much more out of a hands on science unit than just reading through text and answering questions. This is a Rocks & Minerals Unit I am preparing for the coming school year.

Hands On Science: Rocks & Minerals Unit from Starts At Eight

There is probably way more here than anyone would ever spend the time to do, and there will be resources that overlap each other. I include many options so that I can pick and choose what suits us as we work our way through. Some activities we end up spending more time on, and some less.

I usually start any unit study with my children by making a trip to the library to take out as many books and videos as we can find on the topic. Then we will read a little, watch a little, and then dig in to the hands on activities that pique our interest. I also like using printable sheets to include as a record of their learning and as a way for them to look back on what they have done.

Rocks & Minerals Printables

Types of Rocks Poster

  • Webquest – a printable web exploration
  • History Scribe – If you have a rock hound kid in your home, they will love this History Scribe book. All about earth science, geology, rocks and minerals. It’s not just a gallery of specimens, but a look at all the aspects of rocks and minerals, from collecting to mining to even space rocks!
  • Happy Scribe Copybook – Each copybook has twenty sayings, presented in three different common handwriting fonts: Classic Block Printing, D’Nealian Italic and Cursive. It contains such sayings as: “Rocks are solid mixtures of minerals.“, “The diamond is the hardest mineral.“, “Malachite is an altered form of copper.
  • Hands of a Child Lapbook –  This 60-page Project Pack includes a 16-page Research Guide that covers types of rocks, rock cycles, Mohs scale of hardness, minerals, crystals, gemstones, classes of minerals, and collecting rocks and minerals.  Next, your student will use the information found in the Research Guide to complete 20 hands-on activities to make a lapbook on the science of Rocks and Minerals.
  • 15 FREE Printable Worksheets – Rock Cycle, Rock Identification, Rock Bingo and more!
  • FREE Printables Flashcards – An easy-to-use graphic organizer is included to help students learn or review the characteristics of a mineral and the ways we can identify them. A great tool to use for review or instead of traditional note-taking.
  • Rocks & Minerals Themed Resources – Tons of FREE resources, printables, unit studies, nature studies and more!

Rocks & Minerals Video Resources

Eyewitness Rocks & Minerals

Purchase Eyewitness Rocks & Minerals

A song to help teach the three types of rocks and their characteristics.


Purchase Bill Nye the Science Guy: Rocks & Soil

Rocks & Minerals Books

DK Eyewitness Books: Rocks & Minerals – In this updated and revised version igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks as well as hundreds of sparkling minerals are covered in detail on where and how they form; as well as explaining characteristics such as hardness, color and luster. Text and photographs examine the creation, importance, erosion, mining, and uses of rocks, minerals and precious metals. {Disclosure: I received a copy of this book. My opinions are my own, and I was not required to post a positive review. Your experience may vary. Please see my full Disclosure Policy for more details.}

DK Eyewitness Rocks & Minerals

My favorite thing about this book is the super sized color images of all the specimens. It really allows you to sit down and compare your own samples to what is in the book.

DK Ultimate Factivity Collection – Packed with fun activities including games, doodle and coloring pages, puzzles, and crafts, plus more than 500 stickers, this Ultimate Factivity book contains amazing facts and educational information that encourage learning in a fun, hands on way. {Disclosure: I received a copy of this book. My opinions are my own, and I was not required to post a positive review. Your experience may vary. Please see my full Disclosure Policy for more details.}

DK Ultimate Factivity - Rocks and Minerals

This book is great for the younger kids. I am using this with my 3rd/4th grader as she is a very hands on learner. The stickers are full color and gorgeous. With each turn of the page there is another opportunity to learn something, create something, and use the stickers!

DK Factivity Collage

Rocks & Minerals Activities

1. Virtual Rock Lab – an online, interactive site for learning about identification

2. K12 Virtual Labs – In this virtual setting kids can perform tests for hardness, color, streak, and special properties on mineral samples ans the use the results of these tests to identify several mineral samples.

3. Rocks & Minerals Reference Page – tons of links to learning activities, quizzes, printables and more!

4. There is a great site called This Old Earth that we used to go over the process of how to identify different rocks & minerals.  A few years ago we did a brief study using this site.

I told the kids not to focus on getting the “right” identification for their rock or mineral, but on the process of how to go about it.  The pictures are each of their findings for Luster, Hardness, and Cleavage which helped them to narrow down their identification of the rock or mineral they were looking at.

They enjoyed learning about the Mohs Scale of Hardness and where everyday things might fall on the scale.

5. We ordered this Deluxe Rock and Mineral Kit as a stemming point for all of our hands on studies.
Deluxe Rocks and Minerals Kit

6. Identification Quiz – An online quiz from Quizlett that includes names, descriptions, photos, and an audio option.

7. Rock Types Lab – Includes resources and information for completing a lab at home.

8. Rock Hound Kids – a website dedicated to geology for kids

9. Outdoor Hour Challenge: Rock Edition – Ideas and printables for getting outside and exploring rocks

Rocks & Minerals on Pinterest

To get all the new stuff I find and for more sites and resources, be sure to follow my Science: Rocks & Minerals Pinterest Board

Rocks & Minerals Pinterest Board from Starts At Eight