Rock and Role: Physical attributes and practical uses

Grade Level: 3rd


Students will investigate the physical properties of a variety of rocks and minerals, including color, texture, luster, hardness, and streak. Students will consider how these attributes can be chosen and manipulated for specific uses. Students will learn about ancient stone-working for sculpture, building, tools, and jewelry. Through the “Rock and Role” activity, they will pair rocks and minerals with uses on the basis of physical attributes.



3-5-ETS1-2. Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.


S3E. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information about the physical attributes of rocks and soils.

Guiding Questions:

Where do we get rocks and minerals?

How do we identify rocks and minerals?

What kinds of things did ancient people make from rocks and minerals?

Rocks and minerals have visual properties like color and luster.  

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Some rocks have characteristic “streaks” when drawn across porcelain. The hematite bead on this earring has a reddish streak.

In the ancient and modern world, we used rocks and minerals to build, to make art, and to make jewelry.