The Rock Cycle

The Rock Cycle

I can describe the cycle in which rocks are formed.

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The Rock Cycle

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In this lesson, students will learn about the rock cycle and its four main sets of processes:

1. Melting, Cooling and Solidification
2. Weathering and Erosion
3. Deposition, Compaction and Solidification
4. Heat and Pressure

Each set of processes is accompanied by an illustration to help students visualize the rock cycle. There are also multiple flow charts to show the different paths the rock cycle can take.



Learning Objective

Students can describe the cycle in which rocks are formed.


Introduce the rock cycle by describing the earth as a ‘recycling machine’ that continually recreates rocks. Have students compare this to the recycling of an aluminum can. After this, have students review what they already know about geology and the three main types of rocks: igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic.


Take the class step by step through the cycle, with the help of an attention-grabbing visual. Starting with magma forming into igneous rock by cooling and solidification, then sediment forming by weathering and erosion, sedimentary rock by deposition, compaction & solidification, and finally, metamorphic rock by heat and pressure. Check for understanding by having students discuss these processes as you go through them either with the class or with a learning partner. Go over the various pathways a rock can take in the rock cycle and explain The Law of Conservation of Mass. Students will have the chance to test their understanding with a rock cycle labeling activity.


Students respond to ten multiple-choice and true/false questions.


The lesson ends with a final activity of Spin the Wheel to explain what the different processes would do to each type of material discussed in the lesson.

Related lessons

The Gynzy Library has many different interactive science lessons filled with more illustrations and activities to keep students engaged. Lessons related to this lesson about the rock cycle include:

- Types of Rocks
- Weathering and Erosion
- Introduction to Volcanoes
- Describe the Earth's Surface
- Types of Habitats

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