Thursday, April 16, 2015

Grand Canyon (start of our rocks/minerals/crystals study)

I've decided to do something a little different with blogging about our current unit study.   Instead of posting all at once when we are done, I will post as we go, so that I don't get overwhelmed or forget anything!  

This unit study is on Rocks, minerals, and crystals.   I'm trying to focus just on those elements so that we can do a "land formations" type study after this one, but there will be some overlap! 

To start, here is my pintrest board of inspiration, resources, books, lapbook stuff, unit study stuff, etc

We are reading the Magic School Bus chapter book, Rocky Road Trip, and using the lapbook from Ye Shall Know that goes with it.  

First, Levi read a book about the Grand Canyon from the series "Adventures with the Parkers" .   This sparked his interest in rocks in the first place.  I  had never heard of this series before, but already we have 2 more checked out from the library and another ordered off ebay.    This series is about 10yr old twins who go to different National Parks.    They are stories, of the kids adventure through the park, but throughout there are "boxes" that include real facts.   The stories themselves are all about actual locations, plants, animals, history, land formations, etc.    The pictures in the book are both real photographs and drawings of the characters and what they are doing.   Its a wonderful mix of fact and realistic fiction with lots of educational value while still being high interest.  

This is the one Levi read

Levi did some artwork, Grand Canyon style.   I found the inspiration picture on pintrest, and didn't realize until we were done that there was a lesson plan for it!   I used to teach art classes in a "step by step" style that teaches different techniques, so I used that method to make my own lesson plan for it.   It came out wonderful! 


Because the Grand Canyon is in both the books Levi read, we have been talking a lot about it, the rocks, how it was formed etc.     Levi did this fact sheet, and we used this idea about erosion/sedimentary rock formation, and the formation of the canyon to do an experiment. 

First, he filled a tray with sandy soil (any dirt/sand should work)

Then draw a line down the center with your finger and add the hose:


You can see the deepening/widening of the canyon/riverbed in the center, watch erosion happen as the sides gradually break away, and see the "sediment" that ends up at the bottom of the river.  

We also did this experiment to learn more about sedimentary rocks with layers of dirt, sand, rocks, and whatever was in the compost.  And we have these geodes starting to form, Levi was anxious to start that experiment!

That's what we have done so far!    We have plans to make our own rocks, and do some other experiments so I will share those as we go.  

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