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Testing Rocks

In this worksheet, students will be offered a chance to get involved in an investigation on the nature of rocks.

'Testing Rocks' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:  Rocks

Curriculum subtopic:  Different Types of Rocks

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Amy and her brother Sam are finding out about rocks. They have come back from holiday with several different kinds of rocks and they're having fun trying to sort them out.

 

Children looking at rocks

 

"How shall we sort them, Amy?" Sam wanted to know.

"How about seeing if they're hard or soft?" suggested Amy.

"But aren't all rocks hard - isn't it going to hurt if I drop one on my toe?" asked Sam.

"Well, they might be heavy, but not all of them are hard. Some wear away quite easily." Amy told Sam.

 

Selection of rocks

 

Let's see how their rock investigation turns out.

"First of all we need something rough to rub the rocks against to see if any of it wears away - what do you think would work, Sam?" asked Amy.

"Maybe we could try the dog - he goes 'RUFF!'" suggested Sam.

"No, not that kind of ruff!" laughed Amy. "Something that's got a scratchy surface."

 

Which of these do you think would be a good rough surface for Amy and Sam to rub their rocks against to see if they wear away?

sandpaper

towel

pencil rubber

cheese grater

Amy asked Sam what he would do with the rough surface to see if the rock wears away.

 

Which of these answers do you think Sam chose?

rub the rock on the rough surface and see if it's noisy

rub the rock on the surface and see if it breaks

rub the rock on the surface and see if some of the rock is scraped off

When Amy and Sam tested their rocks on the rough surface they found that some of them were quite soft, with a little of the rock wearing off, while others were hard and nothing was left behind.

 

From your knowledge of rocks, tick the ones that you think wore away. (Tick two boxes)

 

 Granite Slate   Chalk Sandstone   Flint Marble 
Granite  Slate Chalk   Sandstone Flint   Marble

 

granite

slate

chalk

sandstone

flint

marble

Amy asked Sam if he'd seen any of these rocks used for anything:

 

"Yes, we used some chalk to mark out the hopscotch course on the path." he remembered.

"That's right," said Amy, "we did."

 

Why do you think Amy and Sam used chalk to write on the path?

because it's permeable

because it's naughty

because it wears away easily

Sam asked Amy what the steps to their front door were made of.

 

"That's granite." Amy told Sam.

 

Why do you think granite is a good rock for making steps out of?

it's easily cut into blocks

it looks really nice

it wears out very slowly

Amy told Sam "There's another test we can try on these rocks, Sam."

"What's that?" Sam wanted to know.

"We can see how permeable they are." Amy replied.

"What's pramble?" asked Sam, puzzled.

"It's P-E-R-M-E-A-B-L-E." laughed Amy. "It means how easily water soaks into a rock."

"How can we do that?" asked Sam.

 

What test do you think Amy told Sam would help them to see if the rocks were permeable?

drop the rock into water and see if it sinks

add drops of water to the rock to see if they disappear into the rock

leave the rock in water for a day to see if it soaks the water up

When they tried their test they found that two of their rocks were permeable.

 

 

 Granite Slate   Chalk Sandstone   Flint Marble 
Granite  Slate Chalk   Sandstone Flint   Marble

 

Which TWO do you think that was?

granite

slate

chalk

sandstone

flint

marble

When water does not soak into a rock we call it an ____________ rock.

 

Which word fits into the gap?

impermeable

inactive

unwettable

Which of the rocks Amy and Sam tested would be best for putting on the roof of their house?

slate

marble

chalk

What makes that type of rock good for roofing?

it looks nice

it's light

it's waterproof

  • Question 1

"First of all we need something rough to rub the rocks against to see if any of it wears away - what do you think would work, Sam?" asked Amy.

"Maybe we could try the dog - he goes 'RUFF!'" suggested Sam.

"No, not that kind of ruff!" laughed Amy. "Something that's got a scratchy surface."

 

Which of these do you think would be a good rough surface for Amy and Sam to rub their rocks against to see if they wear away?

CORRECT ANSWER
sandpaper
EDDIE SAYS
The best option is sandpaper as it's quite a rough surface and will rub off tiny bits of soft rock so you can see them. A cheese grater will make soft rocks break into pieces and may grate your fingers! The others are too soft to affect rock.
  • Question 2

Amy asked Sam what he would do with the rough surface to see if the rock wears away.

 

Which of these answers do you think Sam chose?

CORRECT ANSWER
rub the rock on the surface and see if some of the rock is scraped off
EDDIE SAYS
Soft rocks will leave some tiny bits behind when you rub them on the sandpaper - that's how you can tell they're quite soft.
  • Question 3

When Amy and Sam tested their rocks on the rough surface they found that some of them were quite soft, with a little of the rock wearing off, while others were hard and nothing was left behind.

 

From your knowledge of rocks, tick the ones that you think wore away. (Tick two boxes)

 

 Granite Slate   Chalk Sandstone   Flint Marble 
Granite  Slate Chalk   Sandstone Flint   Marble

 

CORRECT ANSWER
chalk
sandstone
EDDIE SAYS
Both chalk and marble are soft enough to have little bits of them rubbed off on sandpaper, so you can see a smear of rock left behind. The others are much harder and the surface may just scratch a little.
  • Question 4

Amy asked Sam if he'd seen any of these rocks used for anything:

 

"Yes, we used some chalk to mark out the hopscotch course on the path." he remembered.

"That's right," said Amy, "we did."

 

Why do you think Amy and Sam used chalk to write on the path?

CORRECT ANSWER
because it wears away easily
EDDIE SAYS
Chalk is a soft, white rock that is ideal for writing on surfaces like a path because it leaves a white chalky mark behind. That's why chalk was a favourite of teachers for writing on blackboards!
  • Question 5

Sam asked Amy what the steps to their front door were made of.

 

"That's granite." Amy told Sam.

 

Why do you think granite is a good rock for making steps out of?

CORRECT ANSWER
it wears out very slowly
EDDIE SAYS
Granite is great for things like steps which are going to be used again and again. It's a tough rock that lasts a long time and only wears down very slowly, so all those shoes walking on it will take centuries to make a dip in it!
  • Question 6

Amy told Sam "There's another test we can try on these rocks, Sam."

"What's that?" Sam wanted to know.

"We can see how permeable they are." Amy replied.

"What's pramble?" asked Sam, puzzled.

"It's P-E-R-M-E-A-B-L-E." laughed Amy. "It means how easily water soaks into a rock."

"How can we do that?" asked Sam.

 

What test do you think Amy told Sam would help them to see if the rocks were permeable?

CORRECT ANSWER
add drops of water to the rock to see if they disappear into the rock
EDDIE SAYS
Permeability tests work quite quickly: dribble a little water on top of the rock and you'll soon see whether it soaks in.
  • Question 7

When they tried their test they found that two of their rocks were permeable.

 

 

 Granite Slate   Chalk Sandstone   Flint Marble 
Granite  Slate Chalk   Sandstone Flint   Marble

 

Which TWO do you think that was?

CORRECT ANSWER
chalk
sandstone
EDDIE SAYS
Interestingly the two soft rocks were also the permeable ones - water can slowly soak into both chalk and sandstone because the spaces between the grains or particles of rock are big enough. The others have smoother surfaces with small, tightly packed grains that won't let water through.
  • Question 8

When water does not soak into a rock we call it an ____________ rock.

 

Which word fits into the gap?

CORRECT ANSWER
impermeable
EDDIE SAYS
Impermeable rocks, like granite and marble, do not let water through them - it just runs off the surface.
  • Question 9

Which of the rocks Amy and Sam tested would be best for putting on the roof of their house?

CORRECT ANSWER
slate
EDDIE SAYS
Slate is best - it's impermeable and splits easily into thin sheets; chalk would allow water through (messy!) and would crumble away while marble would be way too heavy (and expensive).
  • Question 10

What makes that type of rock good for roofing?

CORRECT ANSWER
it's waterproof
EDDIE SAYS
Slate is impermeable (being waterproof is an important part of the roof!) and splits easily into thin sheets that fit neatly on to the roof, so it's a popular choice for many houses.
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