Te Kete Ipurangi Navigation:

Te Kete Ipurangi

Te Kete Ipurangi user options:

ESOL Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.

Learning task 3

Expected time frame: 2-3 lessons

These learning activities are designed to revise and synthesise student understandings about the structure of planet Earth and how convection currents work. They also enable students to identify and understand the origin of volcanic or igneous rocks.

Ensuring learners know the content and language learning outcomes

Share the learning outcomes with your students, for example:

  • I can identify some volcanic rocks
  • I understand how volcanic rocks are formed

How does a volcano erupt?

Identifying volcanic or igneous rocks

Note: Several sets of igneous rocks need to be labelled and available for each group to work with.

  • Explain that igneous rocks are rocks that come out of volcanoes.
  • Provide a set of named igneous rocks for the students to observe and feel.
  • Go over the spelling and the pronunciation of the name of each rock.
  • Explain the activity to go with the Rock Identification Chart (Word 35KB) .
  • Ask students to fill in the chart as they examine the rocks.

Note: This chart may be used for self-assessment purposes if the students fold over the names of the rocks in the table headings and try to write the names of the rocks next to their descriptions.

For pictures of volcanic rocks which could be used for a matching task, see Igneous Rocks or Volcanic Rock Types .

Making the abstract concrete

Experiment to show how crystals form

  • Carry out the experiment below to show how crystals form with the class.

Aim: to show how crystals are formed.

Equipment: copper sulfate, evaporating dish, ice, bunsen burner, tripod, gauze


  1. Dissolve copper sulfate in water until no more will dissolve.
  2. Put the mixture into an evaporating dish.
  3. Heat the mixture over a bunsen burner until half of the liquid has gone.
  4. Leave it to cool on the side bench.
  5. Repeat steps 1 - 3 for some more copper sulfate and water.
  6. Leave to cool in a container of ice.

Results: What is the difference between the crystals when you compare the two lots of copper sulfate?

Question: Why is there a difference in the crystals?

Published on: 09 Jan 2018