Do you have a budding geologist or rock hound? Do you find random rocks around the house or in the car’s cupholders as I do? How about a pocket full of rocks when you leave the beach? Our rock collection is ever-changing and this month he has been learning about rocks, minerals, and natural resources. What better idea than to try out a crayon rock cycle activity where you can explore all the stages of the rock cycle with one simple ingredient, old crayons! We love simple science activities!
CRAYON ROCK CYCLE FOR KIDS
ROCK CYCLE FOR KIDS
Transform an old container of crayons into an example of the rock cycle. Kids will have a blast exploring all the stages, and they can even color with their new rock crayons if you make a few!
Our science activities are designed with you, the parent or teacher, in mind! Easy to set up, quick to do, most activities will take only 15 to 30 minutes to complete and are heaps of fun! Plus, our supplies lists usually contain only free or cheap materials you can source from home!
ALSO CHECK OUT: Edible Rock Cycle
WHAT IS THE ROCK CYCLE?
The rock cycle is the process by which rocks of one kind change into rocks of another kind.
There are three main kinds of rocks: igneous rock, metamorphic rock, and sedimentary rock. Each of these rocks can change into other rocks by processes such as; cooling, melting, heat, weathering and erosion, compacting (squeezing tightly together), cementing, and pressure. This changing of rock forms is called the Rock Cycle.
Sedimentary rocks are formed from pre-existing rocks that have been broken down into tiny particles. When these particles settle together and harden, they form sedimentary rocks.
Sedimentary rocks can often have a layered appearance. This is the most common rock type found at the Earth’s surface.
Common sedimentary rocks include sandstone, coal, limestone, and shale.
Metamorphic rocks started out as some other type of rock, but have been changed from their original form by heat, pressure, or a combination of these factors.
Common metamorphic rocks include marble, granulite, and soapstone.
Igneous rock forms when hot, molten rock crystallizes and solidifies. The melt originates deep within the earth near active plates or hot spots, then rises toward the surface, like magma, or lava. When it cools igneous rock is formed.
There are two types of igneous rock. Intrusive igneous rocks crystallize deep below the Earth’s surface, and the slow cooling that occurs there allows large crystals to form. Extrusive igneous rocks erupt onto the surface, where they cool quickly to form small crystals.
Common igneous rocks include basalt, pumice, granite, and obsidian.
CRAYON ROCK CYCLE
Let’s get right to learning about the rock cycle and making our crayon rocks. Grab some old crayons (new ones work too) and get them unwrapped. We have some grating to do to make the sediment!
YOU WILL NEED:
- Cheese grater
- Wax paper
- Aluminum foil
HOW TO MAKE A CRAYON ROCK CYCLE:
Let’s get learning with easy geology kids will love!
SAFETY NOTES: Please supervise kids when sharp tools like graters are being used. Additionally, a heat source such as an oven is needed for the final step of the rock cycle project, so adult supervision is recommended.
If you do not have access to an oven for this activity, you can still enjoy the other stages of the rock cycle and simply make a prediction of what will happen when the heat is added to the crayons.
STEP 1. Peel the paper off four crayons and draw three columns on a piece of paper.
The crayons unwrapped are like Igneous rocks. Label your first column and write down a few words that describe what the crayon feels and looks like.
STEP 3. Use a cheese grater to grate the crayons into a pile on a piece of wax paper. Grated crayons are similar to Sedimentary rocks.
Label your second column and describe what these crayons feel and look like.
STEP 4. Keep your grater crayons in a pile and fold the wax paper over the top. Apply pressure with the palm of your hand to squish the crayon together.
The pressure and heat will form the grated crayons into what is similar to a Metamorphic Rock.
Use the third column to label and describe how these crayons look and feel.
STEP 5. Tightly form a piece of aluminum foil into a little cup and place the Metamorphic Rock inside.
STEP 6. Let an adult put the crayon in a preheated 250-degree oven for 5 minutes for the “Metamorphic Rock” to melt and form into a new shape.
Let cool and then remove from the aluminum foil.
ROCK CYCLE IN THE CLASSROOM
This rock cycle activity could also be done with bits of modeling clay to explore the sedimentary and metamorphic phases if an oven is not available. You cannot heat the clay but it still gives you an idea of the process.
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MAKE CRAYON ROCK CYCLE FOR KIDS
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