Rock Cycle

I finally have a chance to post the rockintro_08activities we did on the rock cycle when doing our rock theme.  To learn about the three main types of rocks we did science experiments and crafts and had a lot of fun.  We also read a ton of books from the library about rocks and minerals.


Igneous Rocks

To understand that igneous rocks form from cooling, we did this experiment with sugar P1020026water.  We heated water (this was a great time to practice our stove skills) and dissolved sugar in it.  Then we poured the sugar water into a metal pan and quickly put it into the freezer.  Next we heated another round of water and again dissolved sugar.  This time we poured the water into a glass jar and added a popsicle stick.  We left the water out giving it time for crystals to form on the stick.  This allowed us to see the large crystals that formed due to the mixture cooling slowly which we could compare to the tiny crystals that formed in the metal pan since it cooled quickly.

Our large crystals after cooling slowly on the shelf

Our large crystals after cooling slowly on the shelf

You can't really see them but trust me there are tiny crystals since it cooled quickly

You can’t really see them but trust me there are tiny crystals since it cooled quickly

We also made the borax crystal snowflakes.  If you haven’t done them before, just pour boiling (or just hot) water and borax into a jar.  Typically it is three  tablespoons of borax for every one cup of water.  Twist a pipe cleaner into the shape of a snowflake (or blob like my girls do) and tie a piece of yarn to it.  Loop the yarn around a popsicle stick across the top of the jar for the snowflake to hang down into the solution.  Let it sit for a few days so that the borax crystals can form on the pipe cleaner.  Enjoy!

Forming inside the jar

Forming inside the jar

Our funky creations afterwards

Our funky creations afterwards

To better understand what the crystals are, we also made paper crystals.  You can find a pattern here.

paper crystals

And of course we opened some geodes to look at crystals up close and personal.


Sedimentary Rocks

sand artSedimentary rocks are probably the easiest for the little ones to understand and gave us lots of chances to play with sand.  Besides playing in the sandbox, we also did a lot of sand art.  They would paint a picture with glue and then sprinkle the different colors of sand on it.  My girls preferred having pictures printed out for them to decorate.


We also layered the colored sand in bottles which they thought was “so beautiful!”


And we made our own sedimentary rocks.  In a small jar we added sand (we used both the small colored pieces and large sand from the sandbox), pebbles, and small rocks.  We then added water and espsom salt (to act like the paste to hold it all together).  The girls shook the jars up then watched the pieces settle.  After letting it dry a little, we took the mixture out and let it dry into a rock.

sedimentary rock activity

Metamorphic Rocks

To understand that metamorphic rocks are formed under immense pressure, we took Starbursts of different colors and then used our force to push them together to create a new Starburst (that we of course ate).


We also marbleized paper.  We used water color paint that we dropped on shaving cream and then swirled it with a toothpick before placing our paper on it.  Pull up the paper, squeegee off the shaving cream and viola!



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