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Exploring rocks and minerals with young learners (part two)
13 Mar, 2016. 0 Comments. . Posted By: Kristen Smith

A rock and mineral science experiment

To create our own geodes, I tried something new. I had read a bunch of blog posts on making pipe cleaner crystals but I didn’t have enough mason jars for each child to have their own. Therefore, I tried something I hadn’t seen before. I took out my trusty crock pot and attempted the science experiment in it. Much to my relief, it worked!

To complete the activity, I filled the crock pot with water and turned it on HIGH. Then, we saturated the water with Borax. (We kept adding Borax until the water could not hold anymore. I read online that this is when the water stops absorbing the Borax. I had to play it by ear because my crock pot is black… It would have been easier if we could see the water better….)

A rock and mineral science experiment

Then, the class took a vote on what color geodes they wanted to create. They all wanted turquoise so we added our neon blue gel food coloring.

how to grow your own geodes in a crock pot

My students created pipe cleaner designs out of two white pipe cleaners and we tied them to wooden skewers.

how to grow your own geodes in a crock pot

Then we dunked them into the solution 3-5 times and let them “cook” overnight.

how to grow your own geodes in a crock pot

In complete transparency, the next morning when I arrived at school, I didn’t see the growth that I wanted so I helped the experiment by adding two additional cups of BOILING water that was saturated with Borax. (If I do this again, I will make sure the first round of water is BOILING hot and immensely saturated.)

We then began to see the crystallization we were looking for! The next morning, the crystals were beautiful!!

how to grow your own geodes in a crock pot

The kids LOVED observing the geodes that they created!

linking science and writing- students observe geodes that they made and write about what they notice linking science and writing- students observe geodes that they made and write about what they notice

To tie this science experiment into a language activity, with half of my students, we came up with adjectives to describe our geodes and wrote sentences about them.

linking science and writing- students observe geodes that they made and write about what they notice linking science and writing- students observe geodes that they made and write about what they notice

With the other half of students, we did the same writing activity, but this time we wrote sentences about real geodes and agates.

linking science and writing- students write sentences about geodes and agates

linking science and writing- students write sentences about geodes and agates linking science and writing- students write sentences about geodes and agates

Then, we created a giant venn diagram on the floor using our index card sentences, hula hoops, our giant amethyst and one of our geodes.

Using science experiments to teach language standards

We placed each card under the section that we wrote it for and then discussed if we could move any of the cards to the middle because they related to BOTH the real and the student-made geodes. This was a great activity that encouraged critical thinking, reading, and problem solving.

In order to move a card from one side to the middle, my students had to justify why they were moving the card. It was great to listen to their thinking! After a student made a suggestion, the remaining students would give them a thumbs up if they agreed with the suggestion.

students create a venn diagram comparing geodes that they grew to real geodes: genius!

They really enjoyed this and during exploration centers, they created their own venn diagrams!

The next day, we began learning about metamorphic rocks. Click the picture below to read how we created our own metamorphic rocks!

how to create your own metamorphic rocks

http://adayinfirstgrade.com/2016/03/exploring-rocks-and-minerals-with-young-learners-part-two.html/3

Blog post quick reference of activities:

Creating stone fish

Graphing geodes

Growing your own geodes

Creating metamorphic rocks

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