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Montessori Rocks and Minerals Lesson Planning Ideas

on February 15, 2012

As we move into the months of March and April, we continue to be on the look out for ways to employ an interdisciplinary approach to our lesson planning. Last year, a child who had very little interest in physical science was referred to me for tutoring. I used Montessori based hands-on lesson planning and independent research assignments to help spark an interest in this subject. And, like so many students I have tutored using the Montessori approach, it wasn’t long before  I could visibly see a positive difference in how she approached the tutoring sessions.

My student’s interest in learning more about the physical properties of rocks began with learning to apply the Mohs scale of hardness to the specimens she examined. However, her interest didn’t stop there. By engaging in classified reading cards and completing additional research, she began to learn about how these rocks were formed.  Within a short span of time,  she was able to easily distinguish a sedimentary rock from a metamorphic rock based on other criteria, as well.

She seemed to really benefit from the investigatory projects and research assignments and enjoyed reviewing the hands-on Montessori classified reading cards, matching exercises and charts. These latter hands-on activities helped her to review and build on the concepts that she had already mastered. For example, when she studied about metamorphic rocks, this student learned that marble was employed in the construction of the Michelangelo sculpture.

Further research lead her to discover that this particular metamorphic rock  was used to carve the Michelangelo sculpture  and actually came from the quarries near the town of Carrara, Italy.  Hence the name ‘Carrara marble” was coined.

Coincidentally, an interest in learning more about Michelangelo was fostered, as well.  For a biographical reading recommendation, please see  .

At this point in the learning process, this student’s interest in metamorphic rocks was piqued, and she became curious about the uses of other types of metamorphic rocks. By engaging in additional research, she discovered that the metamorphic rock, quartzite, is used to make swimming pools, and that the brilliant blue Lapis Lazuli can be used to create a stunning pair of decorative earrings or embedded in other fine jewelry.

Eventually, my student was able to identify each rock in any random collection presented to her. Usually, each collection contained a mix of igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks. If she picked out, for example, a gneiss specimen, she would identify it as metamorphosed granite, and could tell me why this rock has characteristic stripes.

You can view some of the lessons I used for this student in Montessori at Home: A Creative Teaching Guide for Parents of Children Six through Nine Years of Age and Modern Montessori at Home: A Creative Teaching Guide for Parents of Children 10 through 12 Years of Age  Visit. http://www.amonco.og/bookstore.html for details.

In addition, the following links will lead you to other resources. Nature’s Workshop Plus Inc.offers books, rock and mineral specimens and collections for lesson planning.

A classroom collection of rocks & minerals, igneous rock bag, and Moh’s Scale of hardness Minerals are just some of what you will find by visiting the Schoolmasters’ Science website. See for details.

Farm Country General Store offers a rocks and minerals sticker book that could be used for the construction of matching picture exercises and classified reading cards. See for more information.

 Lab Essentials, Inc. offers a fine selection of microscopes for those interested in examining specimens close up. See to learn more about their offerings.

Rae Peterson, of the Creative Process, offers a nice collection of posters and charts that can be incorporated into your geology and geography lesson planning.  Visit

At rocksandminerals4, you will find detailed information designed for both students and teachers on the following topics: the rock cycle, igneous rocks, earth’s interior, mineral identification, and birthstones. Plus you will discover links to a rock gallery, rock links, and their rock shop.

LORD Company, offers free Montessori Land and Water Forms Cards and Labels for a hands on experience exploring the differences and similarities of Lake and Island, Cape and Bay, Isthmus and Strait, Peninsula and Gulf, and Archipelago and System of Lakes. To access this free download, visit

Some basic rock and mineral information is available from the following web resources:

Finally, point your browser to Amy’s blog This is a MUST read. Once your read through Amy’s in depth lesson planning ideas, marvel at the photos and view the video clips found at this link you will understand why I highly recommend her Rocks and Minerals Lapbook and Unit Study.

Are you looking for links to other Montessori unit studies? Visit Below, is just a sampling of what you will find there.

Italy – Links for a Montessori Unit Study

A Maria Montessori Movie Worth Seeing

Gardening Year Round – Tips from an Expert

AMC Holiday Montessori Grammar Bingo and Extension Exercises

Apples and Oranges – Links for Montessori Unit Study

Study of the Human Respiratory System – Links for Montessori Unit Study

Medical Terminology – Links for Montessori Unit Study

The Human Cardiovascular System – Links for Montessori Unit Study

Cardiology Terminology

The Human Nervous System – Links for Montessori Unit Study

Let’s Go on an Animal Safari – See Part VII

Happy Lesson Planning,

Heidi Anne Spietz

American Montessori Consulting

Montessori for the 21st Century

Celebrating 24 Years of Serving School and Home Educators

One response to “Montessori Rocks and Minerals Lesson Planning Ideas

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