Rocks and Minerals, Gr. 5-6


There are useful Internet resources on rocks, minerals and geology.

Tip: If your rock and mineral samples get mixed up somehow, use our rock sample page (see left navigation for sub page) to see letter labeled photos of the samples. Note that these reflect the revision of the unit completed November 2004. ESP also provides additional rock and mineral activities for the classroom.

Student Resources

Look at the Rock Hounds site to find out about the rock cycle and how rocks are formed. Interactives The Rock Cycle is also very helpful on where rocks come from and go to.

Looking at a rock and telling whether it is igneous, sedimentary or metamorphic is complicated. For pictures of samples, visit's pages on Igneous Rocks, Sedimentary Rocks, and Metamorphic Rocks. Mineralogy 4 Kids has some tips that can help sort them out. The ICTeachers Website also gives some clues that will help you make an educated guess when you look at a specimen. Read about them and then try the site's quiz to check what you learned.

Curious about your state's official rock or mineral? Visit US State Gems, Minerals, Rocks and Stones or the State Symbols page. Visit a virtual exhibit at the New York State Museum to learn about some of the Minerals of New York State.

For a wonderful example of fifth grade students exploring geology to create a website, see Journey to the Center of the Earth.

Want to know about how people use rocks? You could take an Urban Field Trip to see how rocks are used in buildings.

Testing Samples

Geoman's Mineral Identification Tests explains how to test rock and mineral samples.

Click here to learn about the method invented by Friedrich Mohs to measure the hardness of minerals.


The Kansas Geological Survey has a nice page of basic information on rocks and minerals which is part of a very good primer on the geology of Kansas.

Teachers may enjoy the site of Dr. Pamela Gore of DeKalb College, Georgia which has almost a complete geology course online with many interesting links including neat outlines and pictures for igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks. The rock cycle is a way to show how these three types of rocks are part of one big family. It's part of Mineralogy 4 Kids by the Mineralogy Society of America.

The American Museum of Natural History has some rock related resources on its Website about the new Hall of Planet Earth.

John Betts, a minerals retailer in New York City, has a nice set of Web resources.

See the Mining Rocks page for additional links. See our page (left navigation takes you to this page) for information on books about rocks.

Online resources about New York State's geology are a little technical. Start with a look at a Map of the Geology of New York State. The Paleontological Research Institute offers a nice synopsis of the state's geological history in its Finger Lakes Geology. The Rochester Academy of Sciences has a Geological Story of Rochester and Genessee Valley Areas. The Adirondack Park Agency has a Geology of the Adirondack Park. Some down-state information can be found at the U. S. Geological Survey's Geology of the New York City Region.

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