Teacher Site Map
4thGrade Core
USOE Science Home Page
USOE

 

ELEMENTARY MY DEAR!

If you want to make a car, necklace, or tuna fish sandwich, you have to combine the right materials in the right amounts. Of course the “recipes” for these items are different, but some of their most basic ingredients are the same.

 
On Earth there are 88 basic “ingredients”. These are called elements. Everything on Earth is made of combinations of elements. Oxygen and hydrogen combine to make water. Oxygen teams up with silicon to make sand. Sodium and chloride flavor your French fries as salt. Eight elements are very common. They are considered the “building blocks” for most of the Earth’s crust.
 

ELEMENT

SYMBOL

PERCENTAGE

Oxygen

O

46.6

Silicon

Si

27.72

Aluminum

Al

8.13

Iron

Fe

5.00

Calcium

Ca

3.63

Sodium

Na

2.82

Potassium

K

2.59

Magnesium

Mg

2.09

 
EARTH RECIPES
 

Minerals are special combinations of elements found in the Earth’s crust. We don’t make them. They occur naturally. There are more than 2,000 minerals found on Earth. Out of those, only 12 make up most of the rocks found on our planet.

 
Who Says You Can't Have Your Cake And Eat Rocks Too?
 

We know what you are thinking! Who wants to eat a rock?! Relax. You can eat the rocks made from recipes on this page and learn a thing or two at the same time.

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?

Materials:

  • Clear plastic cups
  • Flavored gelatin, such as Jell-O®
  • Food items to mix with the gelatin (examples)
    • Marshmallows
    • Fruit
    • Coconut
    • Carrots
    • Whipped Cream
    • Nuts

 

What is the difference between a rock and a mineral? Minerals are made from combinations of elements. Rocks are made from combinations of minerals. Make some Jell-o following the directions on the package. Basically all you do is stir the gelatin into boiling water, then add cold water and ice. Pour it into a cup. The gelatin is made from one basic ingredient. Think of the gelatin as a mineral.
 

Plain gelatin is good stuff, but maybe you like your gelatin full of surprises. Do you like strawberries? Then let's stir some into your Jell-o. How about pineapple? Throw it in. Add as many ingredients as you would like to your gelatin. Think of each of these additional ingredients as minerals too. Rocks are combinations of minerals. So you have just created a rock! Be sure to chill your rock until it sets. Rocks are solids, after all!

 
Rocks are solids made of combinations of minerals. Minerals are the building blocks of rocks. Rocks are identified by the minerals they contain.

 

THE INCREDIBLE, EDIBLE ROCK
Be sure to have an adult help you with this activity.
 

Materials:

  • 1/4 cup of butter or margarine
  • 40 large marshmallows
  • 6 cups of rice cereal
  • Various ingredients to represent minerals (raisins, nuts, M&M® candies, chocolate chips, Skittles®, etc.)
  • Sauce pan
  • Bowl
  • Stirring spoon
  • Hot plate or stove
  • Cooking spray or butter to coat hands
 

Procedure:

  1. Pour the cereal into a large bowl.
  2. In a pan melt the butter and marshmallows over low heat.
  3. Pour butter and marshmallows over cereal and stir together.
  4. Add the "minerals" to the mixture you just made.
  5. Wash and rinse hands and then coat them with butter or cooking spray.
  6. Scoop out 1/2 cup of the mixture and press into a rock.
  7. Repeat the above step until all of the mixture has been made into rocks.
 

Analysis:

Wait! Before you eat your rocks, answer the following questions:

 
  1. Are all of the rocks exactly alike? Explain your answer.
  2. Do some of the rocks contain more of certain minerals than others do?
  3. Are some rocks larger than others?
  4. If you were a scientist giving your rock a name, what would you call your rock? Explain your answer.

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.