Friday, October 21, 2011

Rock Science Mini Unit

I love to use rocks to teach the five senses. I know that you're probably thinking, "You can only teach 4 senses with rocks. You can't taste them!" If that's what your thinking then you're wrong! I'll get to the taste part later in this post.

I begin this mini-unit by reading the book "Everybody Needs A Rock." This book gives tips on finding the perfect rock. The tips encourage students to use many of their senses in their quest for a rock that is perfect for them.

After reading and discussing the book we go on a rock hunt.I give each student a plastic bag to put their rock in. I label the bag with their names. They have so much fun looking for their rocks. This year they found some really cool rocks.

When we come back inside from our rock hunt, the students draw a picture of their rock on the sheet below. They also finish the sentence "My rock is..." They have to choose a word to finish the sentence (we did this in late August, so I filled in the word for them), and they have to tell me which sense the word is associated with. For example if they choose brown they will tell me they used their sense of sight, and if they use smooth they have to tell me they used touch.
Rock Hunt Writing

I like to pull literature into my science activities. The story Sylvester and The Magic Pebble by William Steig goes well with this mini-unit. We talk about the ways that Sylvester's pebble is described, and what senses are used for those descriptions.

After we read the story I tell my students that I found some colorful pebbles, which I've put in a plastic bag. I tell them that we will be describing them with our five senses. They usually correct me by saying "Four senses Ms. Holzer. We're not going to taste them."

I pull one of the pebbles out of the bag. I hold it up and say "we're going to look at the pebble." Then I hit the pebble on the table, so it makes noise, and say "Then we're going to listen to the pebble." I run my fingers over the pebble, and say "We're going to feel the pebble." Next I hold the pebble up to my nose and say "We're going to smell the pebble." Finally, I hold the pebble up and say "Then we're going to taste the pebble." I then proceed to pop the pebble into my mouth and chew it up.

My students usually freak out. I get a lot of grossed out expressions. It is so funny.

Then I tell them that the rock was actually a chocolate candy, and they think it's hilarious. I give them each a bag of chocolate rocks to bring home. I tell them that their homework is to go through the five senses, and trick their family with the chocolate rock. They love this!

Before this year I hadn't done this activity for a few years. It's one of my favorites, but I had not been able to get to the store where I'd found the rocks. The realistic rocks are the heart of this activity.

 Last year a fifth grader, who I'd had in Kindergarten, was telling me that the rock activity had been one of her favorites. Not only did she remember the activity, but she could still remember exactly how I'd done it. This motivated me to go online and search for the chocolate rocks.

Amazingly, I discovered that they had them at my local Wal-Mart. Yay! I love Wal-mart.

1 comment:

  1. I love this idea and am completely doing it next week with my class. I needed a science activity!!!! :)