Rocks, Minerals & Geological Processes for the NGSS

Grant Applicant
Jessica Keller
Grant Co-applicants
Gina Stephens
School Site
Alder Creek Middle School
Grant Category
Mathematics & Science
Grant Date
Description (10 points)

With the transition and implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards following the Preferred Integrated Science Framework recommended by the State of California, seventh grade science is going to be teaching concepts that were previously taught in sixth grade.  After collaborating with the sixth grade teachers, organizing the science supplies, and taking inventory there are a number of resources we would like to purchase for seventh grade science.  These activities include rock and mineral reference charts for students to consult as they identify unlabeled rock and mineral specimens. A variety of different rock and mineral specimens that students can identify using a streak test, glass plate, hand lens, magnet, nail, penny and the Moh's Hardness Scale (included in the kit below).  An Investigating the Rock Cycle reference chart that shows specific rock specimens and samples at different stages in the rock cycle.  

As we teach the Rock Cycle we're also going to be covering the geoscience processes that have changed and shaped the Earth's Surface.  The Earth Science Skill Builder Kits include a blended instructional model that allows for hands-on review, reinforcement of concepts, the scientific and engineering practices, and cross-cutting concepts.  The kits include a student learning guide, illustrated explanations, a lab investigation, and potential assessment questions.  The kits also include four different teacher flip charts that are laminated, double sided, and have "write-on/wipe-off" activities.  Additionally to help solidify student learning the kits come equipped with educational student games.

Benefits of Program (10 points)

Using these instructional tools will provide students with the necessary background to develop a model describing the cycling of Earth's materials.  In addition the materials will assist as students construct an explanation that provides evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth's surface.  The resources will provide students with opportunities to analyze and interpret data on the distribution of fossils, and natural resources.

The benefits of materials requested will provide students with multiple learning modalities for studying the rock cycle, identifying rocks and minerals, and analyzing geoscience processes.  Through having a variety of hands-on activities and experiences students will learn to think like geologists.  Students will have opportunities to enhance their understanding through digital lessons, educational games, and engaging colorful reading material.  

MS-ESS2-1 Develop a model to describe the cycling of Earth’s materials and the flow of energy that drives this process.

MS-ESS2-2 Construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth’s surface at varying time and spatial scales.

MS-ESS2-3 Analyze and interpret data on the distribution of fossils and rocks, continental shapes and seafloor structures to provide evidence of past plate motions.

MS-ESS3-1 Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how the uneven distributions of Earth’s mineral, energy, and groundwater resources are a result of past and current geoscience processes.

MS-ESS3-2 Analyze and interpret data on natural hazards to forecast future catastrophic events and inform the development of technologies to mitigate their effects

MS-ESS3-4 Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth's systems.

Success of Program (10 points)

The success of the program will be measured through students' movement on the standards proficiency scales.  We are looking at bundling the six Earth's Systems and Earth & Human Activity Standards together with these resources.  Students' will demonstrate mastery of their learning at the end of the unit through completing a performance assessment of their choosing.  The number of students who have demonstrated mastery by the end of the unit will be used to determine the success of the program. After students have learned the material the colored reference charts can be used as reminders of student learning.  The games can be played repeatedly for review, and the reading materials can also be used as references and referred back to on multiple occasions. 

Implementation (10 points)

We plan to conduct a number of hands-on investigations related to the rock cycle, and earth's geoscience processes. As students work to identify rock and mineral specimens the colored reference charts can be at their tables and referred to immediately.  Students can work in stations and have a specific task at each station.  At one station students can complete several of the "write-on/ wipe-off" activities on the flip charts. At another station students can read the illustrated explanations, write several jots in their science notebooks, and draw a picture/diagram describing the processes they are studying.  Students can work on a digitalized version of the lesson at another station, and at they can complete a hands-on review at the following station. The following day students can play the curriculum mastery games to review and reinforce their learning.  After students feel they have mastered the material they can try the provided assessment questions to check their understanding and learning.  

Can you share this grant with your grade level or subject team?

The items will be shared with the seventh grade team.  The materials will also be available for other staff members or grade levels that would like to use them. 

The majority of the items requested are reusable and should last for many years. Only a few supplies within the kits would need to be replenished, but our science funding through Measure A can be used to replenish the few consumables.
Amount Funded
Individual Budget Items(s)
$340 - What Rock Is It? Reference Charts (2 Classroom Sets)
$300 - What Mineral Is It? Reference Charts (2 Classroom Sets)
$340 - Investigating The Rock Cycle (2 Classroom Sets)
$400 - Earth Science Skill Builder Kit (2 Classroom Sets)
$400 - Earth's Systems Kit
Other funding sources

Alder Creek Middle School has a science budget which is used to purchase consumable items, lab equipment etc.  We have used our science budget this year for other lab materials, supplies and to service equipment.