Teachers' Notes

Resource created by National Coal Mining Museum

This learning story investigates various types of rock and their properties, as well as the formation of fossils.

The Rock Cycle


Curriculum Links

  • KS2 Science: Rocks
  • KS3 Science: Chemistry | The Rock Cycle


Learning Objectives

  • Knowledge of different types of rock, including igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic
  • Understanding of how rocks and fossils are formed
  • Skills to interpret different properties rocks possess and what their potential uses might be

Discussion Ideas

  • What properties would be most important if you were choosing material to build:
    - A roof in a cold climate?
    - A lighthouse?
    - A busy road?
    - A tiled floor in your home?


Activity Ideas

  • KS2-3 - 3D model exploration: Students can explore how weird and wonderful Septarian Nodule rocks are formed using this annotated 3D model.
  • KS2-3 - Describing rocks: The 'Describing Rocks' worksheet includes images of common rocks (granite, sandstone, slate, limestone, coal) and asks pupils to describe their qualities (eg. colour, texture, shape and size of particle)
  • KS2-3 - Identifying rocks: Give students several rocks or images of rocks and ask them to examine their properties, then use the 'What Rock?' quiz sheet to identify them.
  • KS2 - Coal Formation: Use the images of fossils and the 'How Coal is Formed' worksheet to explain to pupils that fossils are made from coal, which is even older than dinosaurs!
  • KS2 - Make your own fossils: Gather leaves or foliage from the school garden or field, then push them into clay or playdough. As it hardens, pupils can see the imprint left by the leaf.
  • KS2 - Soil investigation: Gather soil and put it in a clear plastic container such as a large glass jar, add water and mix gently. After a few hours the soil should begin to separate into different layers. Students can record their findings using the soil sediment worksheet.

Internal Links

Other resources on My Learning on a similar subject area include:

Fossils Game

Interactive Image: Sea Star Fossil

Rocks at Cliffe Castle Museum


External Links

(My Learning are not responsible for the content on external links).

Animated Video of the Rock Cycle

BBC Bitesize: Rocks, Soils and Fossils

Resources from the Geological Society