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24 Rock Science Projects & Intro to Rocks

24 Rock Science Projects & Intro to Rocks

Introduction to Rocks

Ready to dig deep into the fascinating world of rocks and minerals? With a science project on rocks and minerals, you can explore everything from the depths of underground caves to the far reaches of outer space. Start by learning the basics about rocks and minerals, then dive into an exciting range of projects that may involve examining rock samples, testing their physical characteristics, and discovering their origins. Get started on your adventure today!

What is a rock?

A rock is made from different minerals stuck together by nature. The minerals in a rock might have been formed in the rock at different times, so a rock can be constantly changing. Some common rocks are limestone, sandstone, and granite.

What is a mineral?

Minerals are natural substances that are made up of one type of compound that's arranged in an orderly way. Each mineral looks different and has its own special properties that set it apart from others. Some examples of minerals are quartz, feldspar, mica, and calcite.

What is a crystal?

A crystal is a mineral with an orderly pattern of atoms, which is reflected in the geometric shape of the crystal as it grows larger. Differences in temperature and chemical composition cause variations, but crystals need ideal growing conditions and room to grow to show their geometric form. Most rocks are made up of many tiny mineral crystals, but large museum-quality crystals have room to grow uninhibited. Some common crystals are diamonds (carbon crystals), quartz (silicon dioxide crystals), pyrite (fool's gold, iron sulfide crystals) and salt (sodium chloride crystals).

What are the 3 types of rocks?

Sedimentary rocks

Sedimentary rocks are made from pieces of rocks or once-living things that pile up on the Earth's surface. Because of this, sedimentary rocks usually have layers, and some famous formations in the desert are made of sedimentary rocks.

There are three different types of sedimentary rocks:

  • Clastic sedimentary rocks are formed from pieces of rocks that are cemented together. Some clastic sedimentary rock examples are sandstone, shale, siltstone and breccia.

  • Chemical sedimentary rocks are formed when dissolved substances precipitate out of the solution and become a solid. Some chemical sedimentary rock examples are rock salt, limestone, iron ore, flint, chert and some dolomites.

  • Biologic sedimentary rocks are formed when many living things die, and these rocks are often where fossils are found. Some examples of biologic sedimentary rock examples are coal, chalk, limestone, diatomite and some dolomites.

Metamorphic rocks

Metamorphic rocks are rocks that have been changed from their original form due to high heat, high pressure, and hot fluids. These conditions are found deep within the Earth or where tectonic plates meet. Metamorphism does not melt the rocks, but transforms them into denser, more compact rocks with new minerals.

Some common metamorphic rocks include:

  • marble - changed from limestone

  • quartzite - changed from sandstone

  • slate, phyllite, schist and gneiss - changed from mudrock

  • granite gneiss - changed from granite

  • chlorite schist and amphibolite - changed from basalt

Igneous rocks

Igneous rocks form when hot, melted rock (magma) cools and hardens. There are two different types, intrusive and extrusive.

Intrusive igneous rock

Intrusive rocks cool slowly below the Earth's surface and have large mineral grains. Since intrusive rocks are made inside the earth, they are also called plutonic rocks, named after Pluto, the Greek god of the underworld. Some common intrusive igneous rocks are granite, peridotite, pegmatite, diabase, diorite and gabbro.

Extrusive igneous rock

Extrusive rocks cool quickly on the surface and have small mineral grains or even a glassy texture. Volcanic eruptions produce extrusive rocks, and magma trapped deep in the Earth produces intrusive rocks. Extrusive rocks are also called volcanic rocks because they are formed by volcanic activity, named after Vulcan, the Roman god of fire. Some common extrusive igneous rocks are pumice, basalt, obsidian, rhyolite, dacite, andesite, tuff and scoria.

The Rock Cycle

The rock cycle is the process of how rocks can form and change over time. Different types of rocks form in different environments, such as when molten rock cools underground to form an igneous rock or when rocks are exposed to heat and pressure to form metamorphic rocks. When rocks are exposed to weathering and erosion, they can break down into smaller pieces and become part of sedimentary rocks. The rock cycle is an important process that shapes the Earth's surface over millions of years and can take many paths depending on the environment's conditions.

Science Projects on Rocks

What kinds of rock projects are there?

We have rock projects where you'll learn about the physical characteristics of different types of rocks and minerals, the fascinating process of how rocks are formed through the rock cycle, and even get to make your own beautiful crystals! And if that's not enough, delve into the past by studying fossils and uncovering the secrets of the amazing animals and plants that once lived on earth. Check out these rock and mineral science fair projects!

rock collection: categorizing rocks (from soil), testing properties of rock samples (hardness, density, porosity), finding tiny space rocks (micrometeorites).

modeling the rock cycle: sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous rocks, magma (with a Pet Rock, chocolates, Starbursts or crayons)

exploring how rocks are made and broken down: weathering & erosion (ice, mountain, soil), eruptions (volcano)

making your own: crystals (sugar, salt, borax), fossils, stalactites and stalagmites

Browse Science Projects on Rocks

Check out these rock projects with complete instructions and videos. They're great for students' science fair projects or a fun way for kids to learn about their rock samples!

My Pet Rock in the Rock Cycle
Curious about pet rocks? Make some and learn about the rock cycle in the process!
Rock Hardness Challenge
How hard is that rock? You can learn how to classify your own rocks by their hardness just like geologists!
Geode Rock Borax Crystal
Make your own sparkling geode rock crystals at home with Borax and see science in action!
Make Your Own Fossil
Have you ever wanted to make something that lived millions of years ago? Now you can! Learn how to make your own fossil with this fun science project.
The Chocolate Rock Cycle
Have you ever heard of rocks made of chocolate? Use chocolate to learn about the rock cycle in this delicious science project!
Fizzy Rocks: Vinegar on Rocks
Find out if rocks have calcium carbonate, also known as calcite, in them with a simple fizz test!
Porosity and Permeability of Rocks: Holding Water, Gas and Oil
Can some rocks hold more oil, gas and water than others? Find out in this rock porosity and permeability experiment!
Measuring Rock Density
Rocks are irregularly shaped. How can you measure the density of a rock? (Density = weight / volume) Discover the answer by using water displacement and weighing the rock to ...
Crayon Rock Cycle
Discover how to make your own sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rocks using crayons!
Starburst Rock Cycle
Make delicious rock formations using Starbursts! Learn how the earth makes rocks in a tasty way.
Rocks and Minerals: Candy Geology
Have you ever wondered what the difference between a rock and a mineral is? Find out with this sweet experiment!
Grow Your Own Crystal Garden
Create a beautiful crystal garden with just a few simple ingredients and a little patience!
Rock Candy: Sweet Science
Get ready to become a candy-making scientist! Grow your own giant sugar crystals and make rock candy you can eat!
Growing Crystals in Different Temperatures
Let's find out if temperature affects the size of crystals!
Exploring Salt Crystals
Let's explore how salt crystals form and how adding different ingredients can affect the size of the crystals!
Collecting Micrometeorites
Have you ever wanted to collect tiny pieces of space? Now you can!
Digging for Soil Secrets
Uncover the hidden secrets of the soil by digging deep and analyzing the texture, depth, color, structure, moisture and presence of rocks, roots and free carbonates.
Cornstarch Quicksand: Can You Escape Its Grasp?
Mix cornstarch and water to make quicksand and see if your hands sink!
Exploring Cave Formations
Discover how stalactites and stalagmites form in caves with this fun experiment!
Weathering a Mountain
Watch a mountain erode over time with this fun experiment!
Erosion: A Battle of Forces
Let's explore how the forces of nature shape the land around us! We'll use sand, water, ice, and wind to observe how erosion works.
Exploding Volcano Model
Make a volcano erupt with air pressure! See how tephra (sand) is dispersed downwind to form a cinder cone.
Soil Erosion: How Dirt Moves Away
Let's explore how soil erosion happens and what we can do to prevent it!
Freezing Rocks: Mechanical Weathering with Water
Ever wondered how water can break rocks? Discover the power of ice in this exciting experiment on weathering!

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