Sure, rocks aren't exactly the most exciting item to spend your afternoon with. But as an exercise in descriptive writing, they're just about the best thing you can find. Big, small, brown, gray, smooth, rough—and that's just getting started! There are hundreds of properties which you can describe, so get your geology goggles on and get ready to rock your child's science skills.
What You Need:
- Container for storing rocks
- 10 different varieties of rocks
- Index cards
What You Do:
- Get on your best explorer gear, and take your child on a rock hunt! Try to find 10 interesting-looking rocks, and encourage your child to look for ones that are not alike.
- After you've collected your 10 rocks, ask your child to pull one out and describe it. Don't let your child get away with statements like, “It's cool-looking.” Ask her to be specific by observing its properties, i.e. what color it is, what shape, what texture it has, etc.
- After you've practiced forming detailed descriptions of the rock, you are ready to play the Guess My Rock! game with your child. First, dump the rocks out on a table and line them up side-by-side. Both you and your child should observe each rock carefully, and secretly select one that you'd like to describe as a scientist. You cannot let the other person know which rock you have chosen! After each choosing a favorite rock, both you and your child should write down a description of your rock using as many details as you can. Use an index card and clipboard to record the rock's details.
- After a few minutes spent writing down your rock's properties, switch clipboards and try to figure out which rock the other person chose. The object of the game is to have the other person guess your rock using the descriptions that you have made! The more detailed you are as a scientist, the easier it will be for your partner to know which one you picked.
Vanessa Genova DeSantis has been teaching for fourteen years in public and private school settings in grades 4-8. She is also an educational freelance writer as well as a private tutor for elementary, middle, and high school students.