A Rocky Quiz

3.8 based on 8 ratings

Updated on Feb 08, 2012

Grade Level: 3rd - 4th; Type: Earth and Physical Science


  • What is the project about?
  • The rock cycle is a model that describes the formation, breakdown, and reformation of a rock as a result of sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic processes. In this project an electric quiz board that has a question related to the rock cycle will be constructed. When a correct answer is connected to its question, a simple circuit is completed and a miniature light bulb will light.

  • What are the goals?
  • A quiz board will be constructed in which a sedimentary, igneous, or metamorphic rock will be displayed, and the user is challenged to answer a question related to its classification. When the person correctly selects the correct classification, a bulb will light up telling them it is the correct match. This project will not only illustrate a simple circuit but also reinforce the concept that rocks in the Earth’s crust go through cycles of formation, breakdown, and reformation.

Research Questions:

  • What is the rock cycle?
  • What question(s) was asked on the quiz board?
  • What type of rock is displayed on the quiz board?
  • What happens when items are matched correctly on the quiz board?
  • What happens when items are matched incorrectly on the quiz board?
  • Using the rock cycle diagram how was the sample display rock formed?
  • Why does the bulb light up when the correct answer is chosen?

Rocks can be classified into the following three categories: Igneous Rocks are formed from the cooling of molten lava. Volcanic igneous rocks are formed from molten rock that cooled quickly on or near the Earth’s surface. Plutonic igneous rocks are the result of the slow cooling of molten rock far beneath the Earth’s surface. Sedimentary Rocks are formed in layers as the result of moderate pressure on accumulated sediments, and Metamorphic Rocks are formed from older “parent” rock (either igneous or sedimentary) under intense heat and/or pressure at considerable depths beneath the Earth's surface.

    The rock cycle is a model that describes the formation, breakdown, and reformation of a rock by various natural processes which can be summarized in the illustration shown.

    The simple quiz board circuit is based on the concept that an electric current is the flow of electric charge which transports energy from one place to another. However, no current exists unless there is a complete pathway or circuit through which electrons may flow. The flow of electricity through a circuit can be stopped by breaking or opening the circuit with a switch. By closing the circuit the flow of electricity

  • Any required diagrams/pictures (Pictures speak a thousand words!)
  • Digital photos can be taken during the assembly process also the following sites offer down loadable images that can be used on the display board:




  • What materials are required?
  • Metal nail, insulated copper wire, poster board, 2 D-size batteries, miniature light bulb and holder, brass fasteners, glue, an igneous, sedimentary, or metamorphic rock sample.

  • Where can the materials be found?
  • The batteries, insulated copper wire, miniature light bulb and holder are available at most local RadioShack relaters. The brass fasteners glue, even a nail pointer, and Tri-fold cardboard display board can be purchased from an art & crafts supply store. The rock specimens are available from a landscaping supply company.

Experimental Procedure

  1. Gather a granite rock (igneous), or a piece of marble (metamorphic), or a sandstone or limestone rock (sedimentary) from the field or from a landscaping supply company.
  2. Go to following website and download and print-out a copy of rock cycle diagram on this webpage: http://www.cotf.edu/ete/modules/msese/earthsysflr/rock.html
  3. On a large sheet of poster board draw a copy the picture of the rock cycle illustration or enlarge the downloaded diagram and paste it to the poster board.
  4. Punch 2 neat round holes in the top of the cardboard. Glue or tape the electrical light bulb, and holder that will indicate if the correct answer has been chosen.
  5. Attach a wire to one side of the light bulb holder and the end attach to a small nail. This will serve as a pointer.
  6. On the back of the board, connect the question to its correct answer using the paper fasteners and the wires.
  7. Paper fastener connected to wire and the battery in the back. See illustration to the left.
  8. Glue the rock sample unto the board as shown.

Terms/Concepts: Rock cycle; sedimentary rock; igneous rock; metamorphic rock; complete circuit



Title: Collecting Rocks, Gems & Minerals

Author: Patti Polk

Publisher:KP Books ISBN-13: 9781440204159 and ISBN: 1440204152

This book gives easy-to-understand descriptions with interesting supplementary information about rocks and rock collecting. In addition, the book is organized by visual characteristics in a user-friendly format. Large, color photographs help the reader to see minute details and characteristics of each rock sample discussed.

Links to related sites on the web

Title: The Rock Cycle

URL: http://www.cotf.edu/ete/modules/msese/earthsysflr/rock.html

Title: Interactive-The Rock Cycle


Title:Making a Quiz Board

URL: http://www.eduplace.com/science/dw/4/unit/d/pm4.d2.html

NOTE: The Internet is dynamic; websites cited are subject to change without warning or notice!

Mike Calhoun is a consultant for the National Science Teachers Association, a veteran science teacher, and hosts an online science website. Over the years Mike has studied trends in science, education, and finance, conducting research, developing programs, and writing articles on these topics.

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