Pebbles, Sand, and Silt

Resources by Investigation

Resources by Investigation
Investigation 1: First Rocks
Students are introduced to the mineral portion of the planet on which they live. They investigate several kinds of rocks and begin to understand the properties of rocks. Students rub rocks, wash rocks, sort rocks, and describe rocks. They also begin to organize a class rock collection.
Investigation 1, Part 1: Three Rocks
Students investigate and sort a set of six rocks. They gather information about the rocks by matching the rock samples and rubbing them together.
Investigation 1, Part 2: Washing Three Rocks
Students wash their samples to see how the rocks change when they are wet and what happens to the wash water.
Investigation 1, Part 3: First Sorting
Students are introduced to river rocks. They listen to the story Peter and the Rocks and use ideas from the story and Part 2 to sort their river rocks.
Investigation 1, Part 4: Sorting Games
Students use sorting mats to play sorting games with the river rocks.
Investigation 1, Part 5: Start a Rock Collection
Students start to organize a classroom rock collection.
Investigation 2: River Rocks
Students investigate a river rock mixture of earth materials of different sizes. They separate the rocks, using a series of three screens to identify five sizes of rocks: large pebbles, small pebbles, large gravel, small gravel, and sand. They add water to a vial of sand to discover silt and clay.
Investigation 2, Part 1: Screening River Rocks
Students separate a river rock mixture, using a set of three screens. At the end of the separation, students discover they have five sizes of materials: large pebbles, small pebbles, large gravel, small gravel, and sand.
Investigation 2, Part 2: River Rocks by Size
Students use a student sheet to reinforce the idea of grouping rocks based on size.
Investigation 2, Part 3: Sand and Silt
Students take a close look at sand and separate sand particles from silt particles, which are smaller than the sand, by mixing the sand with water and allowing the particles to settle. They observe that the sand settles to the bottom and the silt forms a layer on top of the sand.
Investigation 2, Part 4: Exploring Clay
Students investigate the properties of very small rock particles, clay.
Investigation 3: Using Rocks
Students learn how people use earth materials to construct objects. They make rubbings from sandpaper, sculptures from sand, decorative jewelry from clay, and bricks from clay soil. They go on a schoolyard field trip to look for places where earth materials occur naturally and where people have incorporated earth materials into building materials.
Investigation 3, Part 1: Rocks in Use
Students learn how people use rocks as natural resources to construct objects and to make useful materials. They start by looking outside the school building for places where earth materials can be found naturally or as building materials.
Investigation 3, Part 2: Looking at Sandpaper
Students observe sandpaper and compare it to sand. They make and compare rubbings of three grades of sandpaper.
Investigation 3, Part 3: Sand Sculptures
Students mix sand with a cornstarch matrix to make durable sand sculptures.
Investigation 3, Part 4: Clay Beads
Students use clay to make beads or something decorative, which they paint and keep as a memento of their investigation of clay.
Investigation 3, Part 5: Making Bricks
Students make adobe clay bricks with a mixture of clay soil, dry grass or weeds, and water. After the bricks dry, they can be used to build a class wall.
Investigation 4: Soil Explorations
Students put together and take apart soils. They are introduced to humus as an ingredient in soil. Homemade and local soils are compared, using techniques introduced in Investigation 2.
Investigation 4, Part 1: Handmade Soil
Students put together and take apart soils. They are introduced to humus, an important soil ingredient. They mix together homemade soil containing sand, gravel, pebbles, and humus. They shake some of the soil on a paper plate and observe what happens. They use screens to separate the homemade soil. They shake soil and water together in a vial and draw their observations.
Investigation 4, Part 2: Soil Search
Students go on a schoolyard field trip to collect soil samples. They try to find soil in as many places as possible: next to sidewalks, near trees, and in landscaped areas.
Investigation 4, Part 3: Studying Local Soil
Students study their schoolyard soil samples. They shake some of the soil with water in vials and draw the results. They compare the vials and drawings of their schoolyard samples with the vials and drawings of the homemade soil.