Texas Rock Cycle

Concept TEKS 6.14 (A) …summarize the rock cycle and K.10, 1.10, 2.10, GMO.7

Process TEKS 6.2 (C) analyze and interpret information to construct reasonable explanations from direct and indirect evidence

Materials for each group of students

Texas Rock Kit (available for $2 each from Bureau of Economic Geology Publications) and look at the virtual rock kit.

Print out the rock cycle puzzle on stiff paper and cut out the pieces along dashed lines

Page-size Geologic Map of Texas

"Texas Rocks and Minerals"

Investigation

  1. Rock and mineral collectors enjoy collecting and classifying beautiful and interesting rocks. In this lab we will go beyond classifying to use the rocks the same way that geologists use them, as clues to what happened in the past. Think about solving a mystery where you make observations, do analyses, and draw conclusions. Number your samples to match the numbers in the compartments in the tray that they come in. Calcite, quartz, and feldspar are minerals; put them aside for now. Spread out your rocks and observe as many properties as you can.
  2. Compare what you observed to what other groups observed and merge everyone’s observations.
  3. List as many processes that change the earth’s surface as you can think of. Take out your puzzle and find the pieces that name processes. If you don’t know the terms, look them up in "Texas Rocks and Minerals" or another reference book.
  4. Analysis: Do any of your observations indicate what processes formed the rock samples? Put rocks on the puzzle pieces that they represent. For some rocks you need information that cannot be obtained by looking at your small sample. For these rocks, you should do further analysis, by reading, by doing other experiments, or by consulting information in the virtual rock kit. You might compare the rocks and minerals and look for clues.
  5. Use the results of your analysis to put the puzzle together to come to conclusions. Discuss and defend your conclusions.
  6. Use the page sized Geologic Map of Texas to determine what kinds of rocks are found in your area. Read the back of the map to find out what happened in the past in your area.

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