January 13, 2018

Using STEM in Speech: Rocks and Minerals

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For the months of November and December, our STEM unit focused on Geology! A lot of my students surprised me with how into rocks they were and many of them already had some basic knowledge about different rocks and minerals.

Since I have groups functioning at different skill levels, I had to make sure to come up with activities that would fit my students' level of functioning. Here are some of the activities we did to learn about rocks and minerals:








1. Geology Lap Book
My older language students got to make an interactive rock and mineral lapbook. I bought the template for this product on TPT. It is a  great tool for teaching about the layers of the earth, the rock cycle, different types of rocks, the difference between rocks and minerals, features of minerals, and key vocabulary words. It was a great activity, but I should note that this activity would work best with students you see twice a week - even though I pre-cut many of the items, it still took us 3-4 sessions to create the whole thing. My students liked being able to take something home after it was finished. You will need a file folder for each student.

2. Explore Rock Types
This activity allows you to teach students about the three different types of rock and works for a variety of groups. I purchased three different sets of Rock Specimen by Educational Insights: (1) Igneous Rock Collection, (2) Sedimentary Rock Collection, and (3) Metamorphic Rock Collection. We talked about how the different types of rocks are formed and described each rock by its appearance. We then used the included reference sheet to find out the name of the rock. This activity worked well for older language and articulation students. It was challenging to match some of the rocks to the correct picture due to lighting differences in the photography, but we still had fun!


3. Mineral Sort
This activity was probably my students' favorite and was one that I could use with all of my groups, even my younger SDC caseload! Using Dancing Bear's Rock & Mineral Collection Activity Kit, we described the appearance and texture of the different minerals and then used the reference sheet to find the name of the mineral. You can target different skills with this activity, as well, including expressive language, articulation, fluency, and even social skills (sharing the minerals and not fighting over who gets to describe and match a specific mineral). This was definitely a favorite!


4. Making Pet Rocks
This activity was perfect for my younger students and SDC students! Prior to this lesson, I collected some rocks in the park behind our school and washed them. It would have been fun to let my students do this, but we just didn't have enough time. Then I let my students decorate their rocks with googly eyes, pompoms, beads, buttons, sequins, ... whatever! You can use this opportunity to work on appropriate requesting ("I want a blue pompom, please") with lower functioning kiddos. We used a Pet Rock worksheet that is included in this TPT packet by Reagan Tunstall to give our rocks some personality. This was a fun activity and all of our rocks turned out super cute!

Hopefully this gives you some inspiration for your own rock and mineral STEM lesson in Speech! What is another activity you can think of? Feel free to leave a comment!

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