Objective: This activity is designed to increase students’ skills in observation, data collection, and the concept of species classification.
As a result of this activity, the students should be able to:
1. Observe a specimen.
2. Record facts about the specimen.
3. Use measurement devices, record facts and make diagrams.
4. Use the data they collected to re-identify their specimen.
5. Be able to prepare data that will allow others to identify their specimen.
• Collection of small rocks, about the same size.
• Bowls (one per group of about 4 students)
• Rulers, string, paper and pencil
1. Divide the class into small groups of 4-6 students per group. Give illustrated copy of procedure sheet to each group.
2. Each group should have 1-2 rulers, 12 inch length of string, paper, pencil, and a bowl of 6-10 rocks.
3. Each group should choose one rock from the bowl and observe it carefully. Look at the color, shape, and texture. Note if it has speckles or other marks on it.
4. Have the students record their rock’s length and width.
5. Have the students record their rock’s circumference by wrapping the string around it and measuring that length with the ruler.
6. They should write down the color and any marking on the rocks they observed and describe any texture they might note in handling the rock.
7. One person should draw a picture of the rock.
8. Then have students return the rock to the bowl and mix it up with the other rocks.
9. Using their data, they should try to identify their rock.
10. Then have students return the rock to the bowl and mix it up with the other rocks again. This time they should give their bowl of rocks to another group with their data.
11. The next group of students should then try to identify the rock using the data collected by the first group. Students may empty out the bowl of rocks onto the table to observe each more carefully.