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					Fellow name: Cam Macris

Title of Lesson: The Inquiry Based Crayon Rock Cycle

Grade Level: 6th

Subject(s): Earth Science




Crayon shavings representing weathered rock.

Summary:

This activity is a hands-on introduction to the rock cycle using crayons. Crayon wax has the
ability to broken into small pieces (weathered), heated, cooled, and compressed much like
rocks. We will safely simulate the rock cycle and the processes that form and change rocks.
Using crayons and some other common items, the students will create sedimentary,
metamorphic, and igneous crayon rocks.

Time Required:
55 minutes

Group Size:
Six groups of six or so students

Cost to implement:
~ $50
Learning Goals:
After this lesson, students should be able to:
1) Describe and/or demonstrate how any type of rock can become any other type of rock.
2) Draw a diagram of the rock cycle.
3) Describe the processes that form each type of rock.

Introduction / Motivation:

The students should already have been introduced to the different types of rocks and
should have a general background on the rock cycle. The teacher should have large
samples of each rock type to show the students. They are going to make their own rocks
today - crayon rocks, that is! They are going to speed up the rock cycle and simulate
processes that form rocks deep in the earth. They each start with an ‘igneous crayon’ and a
set of tools on a tray.

Procedure:

Make a sedimentary crayon:
      1. Ask the students how sedimentary rocks are formed from igneous rocks. They
          should answer that the igneous rocks are weathered and eroded to form
          sediments, which are then deposited, buried, and compacted to form
          sedimentary rocks. Then ask them how they can use the tools in front of them
          (pencil sharpener, plastic knives, popsicle sticks) to create sediments. Allow
          them to discuss with the group their ideas, then allow them to experiment with
          their ideas. After they create a pile of ‘sediments’, remind them to pick up the
          sediments and move them to simulate erosion.
      2. Ask the students what they can do with their sediments to deposit and compact
          them?
      3. They should come up with the idea to drop sediments into the wax cupcake cups
          and fold into a packet to simulate deposition.
      4. Apply pressure to the packet by pressing down on it to simulate compaction.
      5. Open the packet and observe your sedimentary crayon.
      6. Take a moment to begin drawing the rock cycle using what the students just
          simulated to go from an igneous rock to a sedimentary rock.

Make a metamorphic crayon:
      1. Ask the students how sedimentary rocks become metamorphic rocks. Now ask
         them how they can simulate those processes using the tools in the classroom.
         Guide them to place a small pile of sedimentary, metamorphic, or igneous
         crayons into an aluminum foil cupcake cup.
      2. Float this foil on hot water and watch as heat from the water transfers to the foil
         and to the crayons.
      3. The crayons will start to melt, but remove the foil from the heat source when the
         wax is soft to the touch (use a popsicle stick to probe, not your finger). Don’t
         allow the wax to melt completely.
       4. As the wax cools you may choose to again apply pressure to simulate
          metamorphism by partial melting and pressure.
       5. Open the packet and observe your metamorphic crayon.
       6. Take a moment to add these processes to your rock cycle.



Make an igneous crayon:
      1. Ask the students how metamorphic rocks become igneous rocks. Now ask them
          how they can simulate those processes using the tools in the classroom. Guide
          them to place a small pile of sedimentary, metamorphic, or igneous crayons into
          an aluminum foil cupcake cup.
      2. Float this foil on hot water and watch as heat from the water transfers to the foil
          and to the crayons.
      3. The wax should be allowed to melt until a smooth liquid forms.
      4. Observe your igneous crayon form as the melted liquid cools.
      5. Complete the rock cycle diagram.



Materials List
Each group will need:
       -enough crayons for each person to get at least one
       -a couple of pencil sharpeners, plastic knives, or other grating utensils
       -a Styrofoam cup or bowl
       -enough foil and wax cupcake cups for each student to get one

To share with the entire class:
      -source of hot, but not boiling water


Safety Issues:
The students will be working with hot water, so they should be instructed to be careful.

Lesson Closure:

Ask the students how they could make their igneous crayon into a metamorphic crayon,
then ask them how to make that into a sedimentary crayon. The point is that they realize
that any rock can become any other type of rock.

Is this lesson based upon or modified from existing materials? If yes, please specify
source(s) and explain how related:

This lesson is based on modifying and combining a couple of online lesson plans also
entitled “The Crayon Rock Cycle”.
References:
http://www.mysciencebox.org/crayonrock
http://www.exo.net/~emuller/activities/Crayon-Rock-Cycle.pdf
http://www.mysciencebox.org/book/export/html/232


List CA Science Standards addressed:
Grade 6
    1. Plate tectonics and earth’s structure
           a. Students know evidence of plate tectonics is derived from the fit of
               continents; the location of earthquakes, volcanoes, and midocean ridges; and
               the distribution of fossils, rock types, and ancient climatic zones.
    2. Shaping earth’s surface
          b. Students know rivers and streams are dynamic systems thate erode,
             transport sediment, change course, and flood their banks in natural and
             recurring patterns.

				
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posted:10/4/2012
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