QUESTION FOR KIDS: What can rocks tell us about our world?
When your child holds a rock in their hand, they hold a little piece of Earth’s history, too. With interesting rock samples, kids get in close and explore the building blocks of the world we stand on. Beginning geologists can start their own collection with a little organization and a trip to the great outdoors. When they return with samples, a simple guide book and a magnifier continues the scientific exploration!
Materials for this activity:
- Collection Display Box
- Rocks, Minerals & Gems Golden Guide
- Magnifier, Double Lens (5x and 10x magnification for older ages)
- Magnifying Glass (3x magnification for younger ages)
- Camera (Optional)
Follow this easy, step-by-step activity:
In this activity, kids are introduced to the science of geology. They’ll collect samples, organize them, observe details, and record identifying characteristics.
- Take a field trip to collect interesting rock specimens. Start near your home, in the yard, on a trail, at the beach, or at a park.
- Use your phone’s camera to take a picture of the rock in its natural setting before you move it. (Optional)
- In your notebook, keep the same details about each specimen: the color and texture of the rock, where you found it, and any special memories you have about it.
- When you get home, use a magnifier to closely examine the rock’s characteristics. Record what you find and try to determine what type of rock or mineral you have based on the types listed in your guide. Look at color, shape, crystals, and other features.
- Print out a copy of your picture of the rock in its original location and keep it in your log with your written findings. (Optional)
A few tips to help you out:
- No rocks available, or want to start with an instant collection? Try our Rock Study Kit or Mineral Study Kit with 15 essential specimens for hands-on exploration.
- Get your collection jump-started with the Classroom Collection of Rocks and Minerals, 50 Specimens.
- Advanced students will love the Rocks & Minerals Earth Science Collection, 75 specimens which includes the Rocks, Gems and Minerals guide book.
Go beyond the activity!
- Every rock has a story. Kids are amazed to learn that rocks are formed through natural processes – they aren’t just “born” the way they look The information in a rock guide will help you talk about how time, temperature, pressure, and erosion make rocks the way they are.
- If geology ignites your child’s curiosity, consider a kit that has the tools to do more activities with The Rock Hound’s Backpack Kit includes everything needed to test color, hardness, acidity, and magnetism; a rock pick, safety goggles, crack-open geode, guide book, display box, collection bags and instructions – plus a great backpack!
- Want bigger rocks to study? Try a trip to a nearby state or national park with large, interesting rocks (Just don’t go chipping away at national landmarks!)
Download the activity sheet for a formatted and ready-to-print version of this page.