Rocks and Minerals – Standards


The activities in this unit help children understand the basic concepts in the Disciplinary Core Ideas listed here. You can use the following list as a guide for lesson planning. These Disciplinary Core Ideas are taken from Grade Band Endpoints in A Framework for K-12 Science Education. Additionally, our activities give children opportunities to engage in many of the Science and Engineering Practices and reflect on the Crosscutting Concepts as identified in the Next Generation Science Standards.

Grades K-2 Disciplinary Core Ideas
PS1A: Matter can be described and classified by its observable properties, by its uses, and by whether it occurs naturally or is manufactured. Different properties are suited to different purposes. p.108
LS4A: Some kinds of plants and animals that once lived on Earth (e.g. dinosaurs) are no longer found anywhere, although others now living (e.g., lizards) resemble them in some ways. p.162

Grades 3-5 Disciplinary Core Ideas
PS1A: Measurements of a variety of properties (e.g,, hardness, reflectivity) can be used to identify particular materials. p.108
ESS1C: Earth has changed over time. Understanding how landforms develop, are weathered (broken down into smaller pieces), and erode (get transported elsewhere) can help infer the history of the current landscape. The presence and location of certain fossil types indicate the order in which rock layers were formed. p.178
ESS2A: Earth’s major systems are the geosphere (solid and molten rock, soil, and sediments), the hydrosphere (water and ice), the atmosphere (air), and the biosphere (living things, including humans). These systems interact in multiple ways to affect Earth’s surface materials and processes… Water, ice, wind, living organisms, and gravity break rocks, soils, and sediments into smaller particles and move them around. p.181
ESS2E: Many types of rocks and minerals are formed from the remains of organisms or are altered by their activities. p.190
LS4A: Fossils provide evidence about the types of organisms (both visible and microscopic) that lived long ago and also about the nature of their environments. p.162

Grades 6-8 Disciplinary Core Ideas
PS1A: Solids may be formed from molecules, or they may be extended structures with repeating subunits (e.g., crystals). p.108-9
ESS1C: The geological time scale interpreted from rock strata provides a way to organize Earth’s history. Major historical events include the formation of mountain chains and ocean basins, the evolution and extinction of particular living organisms, volcanic eruptions, periods of massive glaciation, and development of watersheds and rivers through glaciation and water erosion. p.178


In addition to science content, activities in this unit also can help students to practice the following mathematics and language arts concepts. The Common Core Standards listed here are in addition to the ones that our activities typically address, as listed in the Four Winds document, The Nature Program: Alignment with Learning Standards.

Grades K-2 Common Core Standards
Language Standard 5: Identify real-life connections between words and their use (e.g. describe foods that are spicy or juicy).
Mathematics Standard 1.MD: Organize, represent and interpret data with up to three categories; ask and answer questions about the total number of data points, how many in each category, and how many more or less are in one category than another.
Mathematics Standard 2.MD: Measure the length of an object by selecting and using appropriate tools such as rulers, yardsticks, meter sticks and measuring tapes.

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