During my last year in college, I “accidentally” took a geology course (stop me if you’ve heard this before…). I loved that class more than any other class and, if it wasn’t my last year in college, I may have likely changed my major right then and there.
I used to carry a rock pick with me everywhere I went because I loved collecting rocks. My husband use to complain any time we moved because of all the rocks he had to move too! I’m a rock collector. A HUGE one! I love rocks and minerals so when we start teaching that every year, I get so excited!
This year when I was teaching rocks and minerals, I actually brought in my own set and let the kiddos handle my precious materials. It was hard, but they really enjoyed it. I love to point out all the amazing characteristics of certain rocks and minerals – that some are magnetic, that some have glittery glass in them, so on.
After we discussed the characteristics and took notes, we briefly played a game from my Rocks and Minerals Unit, much like “Who Am I?” (And now it just dawned on me that I love mysteries and utilize the “Who Am I?” concept frequently!). I make up cards with each of the names on them – sedimentary rocks, metamorphic rocks, and igneous rocks. I then hole punched them, added a little string, and voila! We had a game ready to go!
I had the students face away from me and placed it on their back. Students then had to walk around and ask other students questions. The question could only be a yes or no question such as “Does my rock form from heat?” (They were not allowed to say, “Is my rock metamorphic?”) Just by asking questions the student who is answering has to think about what they know to respond. (What about those students that don’t really know and may mislead someone? I always suggest to my students to ask the same question a few times to different people to be sure – especially if something doesn’t match up.) Once students thought they knew their rock, they had to sit in their chair but not turn it around. After all the students were sitting, I called on students to tell me what their rock was and why they thought so. Then they would have the “big reveal” of turning it around and finding out if they were correct. The students really enjoyed it and it was a fun (and brief) way to review!
This could easily be adaptable to minerals or even specific names of rocks, like Pumice and Marble. That is one thing I have always liked about these questioning strategies is just how easy it is to review nearly any concept – and it doesn’t involve a lot of prep. In fact, an index card and a marker to write the word is nearly all it takes (other than string- but you could attach it to the student’s back another way.).
It’s an oldie but a goodie! I hope you give this engagement strategy a good ol’ try!