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Science rocks

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Harper Strong. 9, works on a mock rock dissection class project at Willow Wind Learning Center in Ashland Tuesday. Mail Tribune / Jamie LuschJamie Lusch
 Posted: 2:00 AM November 29, 2012

Goggles, mallets, picks, magnifiers and — most important of all — the much-studied mock rocks awaited each third-grade geologist.

Time for Willow Wind's Dragonfly group to dissect the mock rocks.

With some tap, tap, tapping, banging and slamming, the rocks reveal their inner secrets.

The Lesson

Using hands-on investigation, discover what a rock is. (FOSS science curriculum).

Today's investigation: Figure out the mock rock recipe.

Zachary Kane's strategy: "Hammer once. Drill two pits with the pick. Attack the rock from the side, and it breaks. Very, very, very, very fun!"

With their rocks cracked open, gentle picking, shifting and sorting out ingredients began. The recipe begins to unfold. The treasures within included shiny, silvery pieces, yellow Play-Doh-like pebbles, tiny, clear crystals, sharp, purple crystals and green powder. "You have to sort out every single piece. It's difficult," observed Sutton Guyer.

As Kim Freeman walks from group to group she supports her students with, "Work hard," and, "I like how everyone has different techniques."

Questions of the day: What is a rock? What is a mineral? Imagine if you put your rock back together. How would this new rock be the same or different?

A budding geologist suggests heat and pressure would make a difference. Heads nod around the room in agreement.

Could their mock rocks be sedimentary or metamorphic? Check in with the Willow Wind's geologists next week to find out.

More information:

FOSS, or Full Option Science System, kits science curriculum online at "A Rock is Lively" by Dianna Hutts Aston.

— Heidi Monjure

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