Rock Cycle Investigation Probe: Is It a Rock? (Version 2) What is a rock? How do you decide if something is a rock? Put an X next to the things that you think are rocks. Cement Block Dried Mud Hardened Lava
Asphalt (Road Tar) Glass Piece of Clay Pot Coral Limestone Iron Ore Concrete Coal
Brick Gravestone Marble Statue Granite Explain your thinking. What rule or reasoning did you use to decide if something is a rock? Exploration A
Obtain four pieces of starburst (preferably of different colors). Unwrap the starburst and throw away the wrappers. Warning! Please do not eat the starburst at this time. You will get to at the end of the starburst rock cycle model.
Using your scissors, cut the starburst into smaller pieces. Cut each piece into about 12 to 16 smaller pieces. Do this over a piece of paper. Make sure to keep the colors separated. Watch as your teacher demonstrates a safe way to cut the starburst. Exploration A Describe what you did to your starburst in exploration A. What process in nature breaks down rocks? What are some forces in nature that cause this process to
occur? What do we call the fragments of rocks left by this process? Exploration B Once rock fragments (sediments) have been created, they are usually moved by some force of nature. In this exploration, you will act as this force.
Exploration B Obtain a piece of wax paper and fold it in half. Place one color of your sediment onto the wax paper. Place it in the middle of the wax paper and have it take up an area of about one square inch. Place second color on top of the first color and continue this process with the third and fourth colors. Exploration B
Describe what you did to your starburst pieces in Exploration B. What is the force that moves rock fragments called? What are some of the causes of this force? Exploration B Draw and describe your sediments. The forces responsible for erosion cannot carry sediment
forever. Eventually, the moving water, wind, or ice slows and the sediment is laid down somewhere. What process in nature involves the laying down of sediment? Exploration B As time passes (millions of years), new sediment is laid down on top of older sediment. What is this process of layering sediment called? What forces could interfere with this process?
Exploration B Fold the four sides of the wax paper over the middle section of the wax paper where your starburst pieces are located. This will create a wax paper package where your starburst pieces are safely stored inside. Label the outside of the wax paper with your name. Exploration C
At this point in the rock cycle, imagine layers upon layers of sediment being deposited and stratified over millions of years. Think about what is happening to the lower layers of sediment. The upper layers press down on the layers beneath them. The weight of the new layers further applies force to the layers beneath them, squeezing them tightly together. In this exploration, you will act as this force. Exploration C
Obtain two boards for this exploration. Place your wax paper package between the two boards. Apply force with your hands or feet in order to smash the rock fragments for four minutes. Exploration C Describe what you did to your starburst pieces in Exploration C. What do we call the process of smashing rock fragments?
Exploration C As you were smashing the starburst pieces, think about what is also happening. Watch as your teacher models this. What do the starburst pieces do? What do we call the process of rock sediment sticking together? Your teacher will explain what is happening in this process. Describe the process below.
Exploration C Once your rock has been mildly compressed, carefully open the wax paper package. Observe the new product. Exploration C What observations can you make about your rock? What type of rock have we formed? At this point, fold the wax paper package back up and place it
into a small Ziploc bag and label it with your name using a Sharpie. Exploration D The previous explorations demonstrated how rocks are eventually covered over by other layers of rock and subsequently, buried deeper into the earth. This part of the investigation will demonstrate what will happen next.
Exploration D Warm the sedimentary rock by placing the Ziploc bag (with wax paper package inside) in a beaker of warm water for a few minutes. Your teacher will instruct you on the actual length of time. Next, remove the wax paper package from the Ziploc bag and place the wax paper package between the two boards provided. Place the boards in the vises and clamps provided. Tighten the vises and clamps as tightly as possible and leave it on your table for several minutes.
Exploration D Describe what you did to your starburst rock in Exploration D. What is the purpose of placing the Ziploc bag (and wax paper package) in warm water for a few minutes? What is the purpose of placing the wax paper package between the clamps and vises?
Exploration D Release the pressure on the vises and clamps after a few minutes. Carefully open the wax paper package to examine your new rock. Describe your new rock. How is it different than the rock that was formed in exploration C? What type of rock have we formed?
Exploration E Hot Plate Safety Review Use extreme caution when using a hot plate. Wear safety goggles when using a hot plate. Keep in mind that the entire hot plate gets very hot and remains hot for a period of time even after it has been unplugged. If for some reason your Starburst rock begins burning, remove it from the hot plate using gloves or tongs if need be. If something goes awry with the hot plate, unplug it.
Exploration E Your teacher will give you a sheet of aluminum foil. Fold the sheet of aluminum foil in half. Fold and mold the aluminum foil in such a way where you create a bowl shape. Remove your starburst rock from the wax paper package and place all of it in the aluminum foil bowl. Using scissors, cut up your starburst rock into smaller pieces. This will prevent it from burning when you place it on a hot plate. Place the aluminum foil bowl onto a hot plate and turn the hot plate on. Use a
popsicle stick periodically to gently move the starburst rock pieces around. While your system is running, set up the equipment for the next part of the lab. This involves filling an aluminum pie pan with ice. Exploration E When most of the rock is in the molten (melted) state, remove the aluminum foil bowl from the hot plate. While it is still in the molten state, place the aluminum foil bowl on top of the ice.
Exploration E Describe what you did to your starburst rock in Exploration E. What happened to your rock after it had been on the hot plate for a few minutes? What is the process of changing a material from the solid to liquid state?
Exploration E What is the name for molten rock? What is the difference between magma and lava? Exploration E What happens to the molten starburst after it has been on the ice for a few minutes?
What is the process of molten material hardening over time? What type of rock is formed from cooled molten rock? Exploration E You may now enjoy and eat your newly formed Starburst rock. Remove the aluminum foil from the Starburst rock. Make sure to throw away all pieces of aluminum foil into a trash can.
Be aware that your Starburst rock will be quite sticky. Use disinfecting wipes when you done eating your Starburst rock. Review of Explorations A E Using information from explorations A through E, compare our model of rock formation with the processes that occur in the natural world. Use the following word bank: Cementation (Lithification), Compaction, Cooling, Deposition, Erosion,
Igneous Rock, Heat, Pressure, Magma/Lava, Metamorphic Rock, Melting, Sediment, Sedimentary Rock, Stratification, and Weathering. Model Process Cutting the Starburst into small pieces with scissors Small pieces of Starburst Moving Starburst pieces to wax paper Placing Starburst pieces onto wax paper
Layering Starburst pieces Smashing Starburst pieces by Standing on Them Process of Starburst pieces sticking together Type of Rock Formed due to processes above Placing Starburst rock into warm water for a few minutes Crushing Starburst rock with vises and clamps Type of rock formed from being crushed with clamps and vises Placing aluminum foil bowl with Starburst pieces on hot plate Molten Starburst
Trays with ice Type of rock formed after being placed on hot plate and in ice trays Actual Process/Product
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