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Rocks and Soils

Learning Objectives


  • Understand that rock is under all surfaces
  • Sort rocks through their different characteristics
  • Investigate different types of soils
  • Understand soil is made up of air, water, humus and rocks
  • Use soil sieves to separate materials


  • Name soil types: Loam. sandy, clay, chalky
  • Name rock types: Igneous, sedimentary, metamorphic
  • Name a variety of rocks i.e. Granite, sandstone, pumice, limestone, shale, marble, basalt, slate

Key words/phrases

Texture, permeability, igneous, sedimentary, metamorphic, sieving, separation, hardness, classification, volcanic, pressure, fossils, mineral


Centre staff will welcome your group and describe the day’s programme, learning objectives, and the health and safety issues. (10 mins)

½ Day Course Programme

Centre based

  • Question: What is soil? (5 mins)
  • Activity: Dirty hands test: Identifying properties of soils. 10 groups (25 mins)
  • Question: What is rock? (5 mins)
  • Question: What types of rock are there? (10 mins)
  • Activity: Rock sort. Classifying rocks based on characteristics.10 groups (15 mins)
  • Activity: Hidden treasure: Using soil sieves to find the gold from a mixture of materials. 10 groups (10 mins)
  • Y5/6: Igneous, Sedimentary, Metamorphic activity: School grounds. Collecting 10 rock types on the picture orienteering course and sorting them into Igneous, Sedimentary or Metamorphic. (15 mins)

Detailed activity sheets are provided so that the pupils can record their results.


Back at the Centre the group will reflect on their day and consider how well the learning objectives have been met.

Safety Considerations

Weather Conditions and clothing

This activity is based indoors so no outdoor clothing is required. However, more than likely the other ½ of the day will be outdoor based so refer to the information below.

Some outdoor clothing and footwear is available at the Centre but please ensure that children are dressed warmly and have suitable waterproof outerwear. Activities will take place in all but the most severe weather conditions. The centre teacher will contact the group leader if conditions are unsafe for the visit to continue.

Equipment supplied

10 Rock sets, 10 soil sieves with treasure kits, 10 white trays, 10 pipettes, soil samples, 20 sample pots, picture orienteering course, first aid kit

Equipment needed from school


Other Information

The actual programme may vary depending on the number and needs of pupils, length of visit and weather conditions.


Y3–4 two soil types to investigate. Y5-6 three soil types. Differentiated results sheets. Additional terminology when appropriate: Igneous, sedimentary, metamorphic, magma, extrusive, intrusive, particles