Today we had Mad Scientist Club for K-2nd graders where we do fun science experiments on a certain topic once a month. This month we focused on ROCKS and the rock cycle. First I showed my favorite show, Magic School Bus! I showed the episode, Rocks and Mountains where Miss Frizzel’s class is trying to make a statue of rock without using their hands. As usual they get into crazy adventures being rocks themselves!
During the episode I set up each child’s chair at a table with a few different ‘ingredients’ for the experiment of the day, STARBURST ROCKS! Each chair had six starbursts(unwrapped), a plastic knife, and a sandwich baggy. After the episode was done I explained to the kids what we were going to do with strict instruction to be careful with plastic knives.
First step of making Starburst rocks is that you cut each starburst into nine pieces. This might sound daunting, but I was very impressed that all of my K-2nd graders were able to cut their starbursts successfully and safely. During the cutting I explained to all of the kids that we were making sediment. Pieces of sediment then turn into sedimentary rock by applying pressure. So the kids quickly pushed all of the pieces together into a rough ball.
The next step is to make this sedimentary rock into a metamorphic rock by applying pressure and HEAT. First we put the sedimentary rock into a baggy, then the kids rubbed their hands together to create more heat, and they then pushed the sedimentary rock into a smooth metamorphic rock using their heated hands by applying pressure and heat.
I had them take this metamorphic rock home with them, not for eating but to show mom and dad what they learned. I only did one example of melting the metamorphic rock into a igneous rock. This made it so that all the kids could see the action but I wouldn’t have to worry about anyone burning themselves, etc. I made a tin foil boat and put my metamorphic rock in this boat and put the boat onto a hot plate. As it heated the metamorphic rock turned into an igneous rock by just applying heat.
(Thanks to the HomeScienceTools Website for the Starburst pictures, the program was going so well I didn’t get to take pictures!!)
The kids were able to tell me what each step was because I drew the whole rock cycle out on the white board so that they could teach each other through this.
It was a very successful program! I gave wrapped starburst to them at the end so that they aren’t tempted to eat the ‘metamorphic rock’ that everyone had been touching! Stay tuned for next Mad Scientist Club where we are going to make our own ice cream!!