Saturday, August 10, 2013

Working with Cycles in Science

The way our science curriculum is currently written, students learn about cycles in every grade level.  This week, my 7th graders were working on the rock cycle.  I've always struggled with earth science  finding exciting and interesting activities.  In fact, I think many teachers do.  Many of my 7th graders didn't do the earth science component in 6th grade.  That is difficult for me since 1) I taught 6th and know how important those earth science ideas are when we build upon them in 7th grade and 2) that students' overall science knowledge in this area is general and weak.

One fun, interactive and meaningful lab I do is "Around the Rock Cycle."  I helps students to understand through interaction how rocks can be part of all types of rocks over time.  I adapted my lab from this online resource.




I don't care for the paper cubes that are used in the directions.  They get smashed and sometimes end up in the wrong station. Instead, I write the directions down for everyone at the station to read and use regular dice instead.  Easy, peasy!

If you are interested in the Water Cycle lab, it is very similar.  There are more locations for water to travel, so I think it is more fun than the Rock Cycle lab.  Here are some pictures from when I used it in 6th grade.  You notice that I had a similar set up.  No special dice, just directions with regular dice.




Students need to keep track of their journey in some way.  I use the beads because they are a great visual.  Then when students return to their seats to complete the reflection questions, they know where they have been in an instant.  The download for the rock cycle just has students record in writing.
Here is a link for the water cycle game.


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