What it is: Every year our third grade students do a unit on Rocks and Minerals so I am always on the lookout for fun ways for students to learn and engage. Bitesize from BBC is full of brilliant games and interactives for kids, I use them often but hadn’t run across this one before. The Rocks and Weathering interactive really is fantastic. The video is animated and asks for students participation throughout. It does a wonderful job of breaking down, what can be complex concepts, into manageable, well illustrated parts. The video has some nice features that make it accessible to every student including the ability to turn subtitles on or off and sound on or off. I like the way the animation prompts students to ask questions and to discover answers through “hands-on” models that may not be possible in real life (for example compressing over a long period of time to create sedimentary rock). The understanding that students gain about the different types of rocks is the best I have seen in any of the rocks/minerals materials I have found.
How to integrate Rocks and Weathering Animation into the classroom: The Rocks and Weathering Animation from BBC is a fantastic introduction to any elementary Rocks and Minerals unit. The interactive nature of the animation makes it perfect for whole class viewing with an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer. Pause the animation throughout to further discuss and inquire throughout the animation as a class. Invite students up to the board or computer for the interactive bits as the rocks and minerals “expert”. The animation would also be great as a center activity on classroom computers. Students could visit the computers to view and interact with the animation in small groups while other students read, complete experiments, or other research. Students can also visit the site individually in a lab setting. If students view the animation individually, be sure to give them time to discuss what they learn and ask additional questions that they had with other students. This type of reflection has been SO beneficial in my experience. I always let students keep a notepad application or physical notepad handy to jot down questions and thoughts they have as they view videos like this one.
Tips: Students can view and re-view the animation at their own pace using the pause, back and forward buttons.
Please leave a comment and share how you are using Rocks and Weathering Animation in your classroom!