Rock Cycle Puzzle, Alison’s Montessori

Geology, 6-9

Geology is the study of the Earth. All science fields are involved in observing and measuring the Earth’s dynamics. In elementary level, we previously studied the following:

  • The clock of Eras & Timeline of Life
  • Formation of the Universe (Big Bang theory)
  • Formation of Elements (Stellar Nucleosynthesis)
  • Formation of the Planets
  • Parts of a Volcano
  • Minerals and Rocks (Chemical bonding and Mohs scale of hardness)
  • Atoms

We were ready to use the Rock Cycle Puzzle in context. We knew how the Earth was formed, and that it still had intense phenomena happening underneath the crust.

The Rock Cycle with nomenclature cards set contains:

  • A wooden puzzle with a ridge, wooden labels and arrows
  • A control for errors chart
  • 10 three-part nomenclature cards
  • 10 cards with cloze test (blank), labels, and pictures
  • A booklet
  • A labeled A3 format chart
  • A unlabeled A3 format chart
  • A master copy of the Rock Cycle to color and label

We started with reading the nomenclature cards (see below), and placing them on the mat. My 7 year old learner has progressed in reading and was able to read without assistance. The vocabulary was accessible for him (crystallize, erupt…). This work offers reading opportunities, and vocabulary enrichment applicable in other fields. The cloze tests cards will be used later, to do self-assessment.

We worked with the puzzle, taking it apart, talking about each part’s function in the cycle (volcano layers, sediment layer from weathering, clouds, rain, ocean floor…). We then placed the wooden labels and arrows to show where each phenomenon is happening, and how rocks circulate.

Wooden puzzle with ridge to grasp
Sharp-edged materials are meant to provide an enhanced sensory experience
Parts can be taken apart distinctively

As we worked with the materials, I explained the rock cycle perpetual process, using extra information from Montessori Research and Development Geology Elementary manual. This manual is to inform my practice. It gives me the logical sequence of learning, and scientific information in a friendly manner. The Rock Cycle puzzle with nomenclature cards makes it possible for me to make learning concrete. I share with you a page of the table of contents so you can see what informs my decision to use such materials with the children.

Montessori Research and Development Elementary Geology I

This type of material allows the children to revisit concepts, learned together, independently. I leave it on the shelf, and it is so attractive that the children often choose to revisit it. Repetition is then happening without the help of the adult.

Labeling the puzzle, placing the arrows

At the end of the learning experience, the children often have the choice to color an blackline diagram of the puzzle. Sometimes the materials come with a booklet to complete as well. Children are able to integrate their knowledge even further by coloring the outline, which makes them pay close attention to details. Then they hand label their map. I think that’s their favorite part after manipulating the puzzle.

Master copy of blackline diagram
Blackline diagram with unlabeled chart to help with the colors without giving the names

I hope you enjoyed this post. We truly love working with our wooden puzzles from Alison’s Montessori. If you are interested to presenting the children rocks specimen, check out this link!

Disclosure: this experience was made possible thanks to Alison’s Montessori for having the confidence in their house-made products, and letting us try the puzzle at no cost, with no requirement on my part. I do write unbiased honest reviews, because I only write about products that work for us.

Using arrows on large chart, unlabeled

Ready for a lesson?


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