Teacher Site Map
4thGrade Core
USOE Science Home Page

Rocks, Minerals, and Soils Introduction

Mike learns that Utah has three land regions: the Great Basin, the Colorado Plateau, and the Rocky Mountains. Mike and his father Dale, who is a geologist and a "rock hound", love to hike these regions. As they hike, Dale collects samples of rocks. Dale teaches Mike that there are three types of rocks: sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic. These rocks are always changing as part of the rock cycle. Geologists from all over the world come to Utah to study Utah's various rock formations.
Mike and Dale travel up Farmington Canyon located in Davis County. As they hike, they notice the rocks have a striped or banded appearance. These rocks they see in Farmington Canyon are a type of gneiss. Dale explains that they are metamorphic rocks. These rocks are once sedimentary or igneous, but then change into metamorphic.
The next weekend Mike and Dale traveled to the Colorado Plateau region of Utah. They go to Bryce Canyon National Park in Garfield County.
Bryce Canyon is made of sedimentary rock. Erosion forms the hoodoos, columns, and interesting rock formations. The sandstone in Bryce Canyon is red and pink. The color forms from iron in the rocks that oxidizes or rusts.
Mike and Dale's final hike destination is central Utah near the town of Fillmore, the Territorial Capital.
They travel west from Fillmore to the volcanic fields. These volcanoes are under Ancient Lake Bonneville. There are lava tubes and vents to explore. The type of rock we find here is scoria. Scoria is an igneous rock that we use in our barbeque grills. In the lava fields you can also see aa ( ah' ah'). This is a Hawaiian term for the basalt that forms in columns.
In this unit you learn more about how scientists determine what Utah’s very distant past was like by studying evidence found in the present. Also, you learn more about the rocks and minerals that provide us with clues to a world we can only imagine. So get ready to rock! This unit is all about rocks, clues and you!
Mountains of Minerals It's All Downhill From Here!
What Do You See? Sizing It Up!
Order In the Rocks

What Layers Are There?

What Kind of Rock Am I? Youv'e Got What I Need!
Help...I'm Falling Apart! Keeping Soil In Its Place
Home Sweet Home Plants Without Soil?

Download the plug-ins: Get Adobe Acrobat Reader , and Get Quicktime Player. (The QuickTime plug-in is needed to play sounds and movies correctly.)

Want to share photos of you or your friends doing this activity? Send it in an e-mail with the following information:

  1. The title of the activity
  2. The URL (Internet address)
  3. Your name.

Remember that no pictures can be used that show student faces or student names on it. 

Teachers should view the Teacher Site Map to relate Sci-ber text and the USOE 4th grade science core.

Updated October 24, 2008 by: Glen Westbroek

Science Home Page | Curriculum Home Page | 4th Grade Science Core Home Page | USOE Home Page

Copyright © Utah State Office of Education.