A few weeks ago, a few students started to be very curious about the rocks found in our playground. During our time outside, they were constantly searching for rocks, getting great pleasure out of noting their various attributes and characteristics. They started to bring the rocks into class and share the stories with their classmates. We had many recyclable containers in class, and soon they were using them outside for their rock collecting. This created a bit of a rock frenzy, and many other students started to join in the collecting. Even Ms. Powell and I brought in some of our special rocks from home. Noticing how powerful this interest was among the students, we created a place in the classroom for our rocks.
We waited to see how far this interest would last, and it didn't take long before the students mentioned that we needed an "I see, I think, I wonder" chart to place all the observations, theories, and wonders.
The students loved to interact with the rocks. They felt them, studied their colours and shapes, and used a variety of art mediums to express their learning.
We read two wonderful books about rocks. Both books explored the meaning of rocks to people and the qualities they hold deep.
Using these two books are inspiration, some students decided to bring in their special rocks and share with us their rock stories. "Flat rocks are special because when you're sad they make you calm because you can rub your hands against them." D.S. "If it has sparkles on it it's special, just like the purple rock." P.I. "If it has a lot of different colours." D.C. "A rock is special because it has a story." E.H. "Rocks are so special because they can be anything you want!" W.E. "If the rock is a crystal or sparkly, I want to keep it. I have a pink rock that I put it under my pillow and it gives me nice dreams." C.M. "I have a special rock because it's purple and has sparkles on it. I got it from a rock store. C.D. "I like a rock because it's like jewelry. It's in my hand right now! It makes me happy." A.P.
During one of our Knowledge Building Circles, the wonder question "Are rocks alive?", arose from the discussion. The students had many opinions! "I don't think rocks are alive because they don't walk around and think about stuff." A.P. "I think rocks are alive because they're outside on the ground in nature." K.W. "I say no because you can make stuff with rocks like fire, and we can't be fire." M.P. "I think rocks are not alive because they don't have heart, bones, and lungs." A.M. "I say yes, because when see a rock I use my imagination that it's alive." G.B. "I think yes, because they're friends." H.S. "I think rocks are not alive because they don't have mouths to eat. If you don't eat, you're not really alive. And if you want to breath, you need need thin skin and rocks have hard skin." B.S. "I think they're alive because creatures that were alive used to live in them, and they all turned hard after a long long time. Dinosaur bones used to be alive, then they turned to rock." E.S. "I think yes, because when I go home for lunch my mom shows me rocks and I look at them and they are alive. The sun makes them grow." G.M. "I think rocks are alive because they're alive like a friend." D.S. "I think no, because they don't have skeleton bones. They don't have everything we have." W.E. "No, because they don't talk or write, or do anything. They just sit there." E.E. "I think rocks are alive because hey have food inside them." C.M. We decided to create a survey titled "Are rocks alive?" to figure out what most people in our class thought.
We then decided to investigate living and not living a little bit further. We started by looking at items in our classroom and classifying them into the two categories. It was interesting and fascinating to observe the reasoning and critical thinking skills the students were using to justify their placing on the chart. As a whole group, they reasoned, debated and learned to see others points of view.
Stay tuned as we investigate this wonder question further, as well as continue to inquire further about rocks!