Rocks and Minerals

Contributor: Hannah Brooks. Lesson ID: 12442

Rocks are rocks. They just kind of sit there until you pick one up to throw or decorate your garden. Actually, rocks are pretty interesting and different! Learn what they are and what they're made of!


Earth Science

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!


You have probably been told that you need to eat plenty of vitamins and minerals. If you knew rocks were minerals, would you be happy about that? What exactly are minerals?

Have you ever heard of minerals?

The minerals that are found in your body are a little different from minerals in nature. Minerals in your body include materials like iron, magnesium, and potassium. Minerals in nature include these substances, plus hundreds of others!

Minerals are materials that are found in nature and have specific characteristics. Characteristics of minerals include color, hardness, density, and streak. Some of these characteristics are easily observed, while others require more complex testing.

Minerals are made up of around 90 elements, or chemicals, found on the periodic table. These elements combine in over 3,000 ways to form different minerals. The elements bond together to form a crystal structure.

Minerals combine together with other substances to make rocks.


Rocks are found everywhere in nature, coming from the Earth's crust below us. We use rocks to build our houses, pave roads, create new products, and design jewelry. Ancient people groups used rocks as tools to make arrowheads and spears.

There are three types of rocks:

  • sedimentary
  • metamorphic
  • igneous

Rocks are classified based on how they form.

Sedimentary rocks form in layers, as small pieces are placed on top of one another.

sedimentary rock

Metamorphic rocks are formed when underground rocks are exposed to high amounts of heat and pressure. This changes the rock's appearance and structure.

Igneous rocks form as a result of materials from under Earth's surface cooling and solidifying.

igneous rock

Each of these three types of rocks can change into another form through geologic processes. Rocks are made up of different types of minerals in and above Earth's crust. Rocks and minerals are very closely related, because they are both contained in materials on the surface.

Rocks and minerals have many uses on our planet, and the type of mineral can determine how the rock is used. Minerals are identified by characteristics like color, hardness, and magnetism.

Create a Venn diagram to contrast minerals and rocks. Discuss your diagram with a parent or teacher before moving on.

In the Got It? section, you will learn more about how rocks form and change.

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