Lesson Plan

Geology pt 2: Rock Sorting

Overall Rating

Add your review
Grade Level:
Upper Elementary: Third Grade through Fifth Grade
Lesson Duration:
30 Minutes
Common Core Standards:
State Standards:
Identify evidence from patterns in rock formations and fossils in rock layers to support an explanation for changes in a landscape over time.
Thinking Skills:
Remembering: Recalling or recognizing information ideas, and principles. Understanding: Understand the main idea of material heard, viewed, or read. Interpret or summarize the ideas in own words.


Students will be able to identify the three basic types of rocks (Igneous, Sedimentary, Metamorphic) and sort samples of rocks into the three types.


  • Teacher will need to know the three main types of rocks and how they are formed.
  • Teacher will need to have a collection of rocks for sorting
  • Teacher will need to be able to define geology (study of rocks and how they are formed)


  • Variety of samples of all three types of rocks
  • Student rock collection from previous lesson assignment
  • White board, markers, photo samples of the three types of rocks, or a rock dichotomous key. 


Lesson Hook/Preview

Youtube video will help students review their knowledge of the three types of rocks before sorting rocks.





Step One: Introduce lesson through learning the youtube song above to review the three types of rocks.

Step Two: Pre-assessment: Students will sort their rock collections (and teacher’s) into the three different categories based on the information they know.

Step Three: Go to http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/sciencefacts/earth/rocksandminerals.html , view photographs of various types of Sedimentary, Metamorphic, and Igneous rock samples.

Step Four: Post-assessment: Students will resort their rock collections and teacher will assess to see their correct sorting of the collections.


Igneous Rocks: form when hot, liquid rock, or magma, cools. When this magma slowly cools underground, it forms intrusive igneous rock. Magma that quickly cools aboveground becomes extrusive igneous rock.


Sedimentary Rocks: result when various weathering processes break down other types of rocks into particles, or sediment, or when once-living organisms accumulate. With the help of time and external pressures, these sediments get compacted into sedimentary rock.


Metamorphic Rocks: are created through the metamorphosis, or change, of other types of rocks. This normally happens deep underground where heat, pressure, and chemical activity can actually alter the minerals inside rocks.

Geologists: scientists who study rocks and recognize three major groups of rocks.

Assessment Materials

Teacher observation

Supports for Struggling Learners

Pictures will be provided along with the descriptions of the types of rocks to support visual learning for struggling learners.

Struggling learners may be paired with excelling learners during assessment activity to help with sorting their type of rock.

Enrichment Activities

Excelling learners will have the opportunity to come into a class of younger learners to help teach the lesson.

Excelling learners may be able to help lead in rock identification and sorting in different groups.

Additional Resources






Related Lessons or Education Materials

This is the second lesson in a three part series on geology of types of rocks.

Contact Information

Email us about this lesson plan

Last updated: October 25, 2017