Rocks and Fossils Unit Information

Grade 3 Earth Science Unit:

Rocks and Minerals

3/15 - 4/29 (5.5 weeks)

Unit description:
    In this Earth Science unit students learn about rocks and minerals and how they are changed by both slow processes (such as different kinds of weathering and erosion) and fast processes (such as volcanoes and earthquakes). This is studied through differentiated reading materials and hands-on investigations, as well as a field trip to a cave that was formed by a sinkhole. At the end of the year students will also learn about fossils, how they are formed, and what they can teach us about the Earth's history.

Essential Questions:
  1. What are rocks made of?
  2. How can scientists tell different rocks and minerals apart?
  3. How does the Earth’s surface change?
  4. What can scientists learn from fossils?

Enduring Understandings: Students will understand…
  1. Rocks can change slowly through different types of weathering, and can be moved through different types of erosion.
  2. Rocks can change and be moved quickly by severe weather or natural disasters.
  3. Fossils give scientists evidence of what living things were like in the past.

Essential Skills: Students will be able to…
  1. Describe and identify rocks and minerals using their physical properties.
  2. Make detailed observations, both written and drawn
  3. Draw conclusions based on evidence

Essential Knowledge: Students will know…
  1. A rock is made of one or more minerals.
  2. A mineral is pure, made from one ingredient.
  3. Weathering is when rocks are broken apart by wind, water or other elements.
  4. Erosion is when rock pieces are moved from one place to another.
  5. Volcanoes and earthquakes can change rocks quickly, by moving rocks, breaking rocks, or forming new rocks.
  6. A fossil is formed when the remains of once-living thing turns into rock.

Vocabulary: geologist, rock, mineral, weathering, erosion, sediments, deposition, volcano, earthquake, fossil, paleontologist