Rockin’ ‘Round the Rock Cycle

After a fun introduction to rocks and minerals all together, Ryan (8) and I went a little “deeper” into the study while the girls played and did other projects. This is one way we often adapt lessons to fit their different ages.

rock cycle clip art by Keeping Life Creative

During our rock and geode collecting field trips, we’d wondered how rocks were formed, and so we began to learn more about the rock cycle through several kid-friendly videos we found online:

Rock Cycle videos for kids

Bill Nye the Science Guy

The Rock Cycle (short, simple, animated)

The Rock Cycle (demonstrated with jelly beans)

The videos offered great visuals and to test our understanding we practiced by creating our own rock cycle together on the white board with printed and laminated clip art images.

printable rock cycle visuals

The first time we saw an image of the rock cycle it confused us with all the all the arrows going all over. But once we realized the cycle is kind of like a “choose your own adventure” for rocks, it made more sense. So we started with the basic “story” which starts with an erupting volcano. When the magma (hot lava) cools it becomes igneous rock. Then over a long, long time the wind and rain and water weather and erode the rock until it becomes tiny pieces of sediment. Sediment deposits in layers (at the bottom of rivers, for example) and over a long, long time, lots of these sediment layers build up. They become compressed and compacted and cemented together with minerals, and form sedimentary rock. When sedimentary rock goes through heat and pressure it becomes metamorphic rock. Metamorphic rock can get so hot it melts, and once again becomes magma.

But wait! That’s just one “adventure” rocks can go through to form. This is why the extra arrows are in the middle of the cycle image. Igneous rocks can also go through heat and pressure, or melt; sedimentary rocks can weather and erode, or melt. And metamorphic rocks can also weather and erode–taking these different rocks through different processes in the cycle. The videos really helped me understand this better. Love that this homeschooling adventure is educating me as much (or more) as the kids.

We made some “Rock Cycle Cookie Bars” to review one part of the process. Food always makes lessons more fun!

rock cycle cookie bars

We also tried to replicate the experiment demonstrated in the jelly bean rock cycle video. We picked out a lot of our least favorite jelly beans for the experiment, and didn’t consider that melted coffee and black licorice jelly beans would make a house smell so bad(!), but once things aired out, we agreed it was a fun project. Later that night I heard Ryan describing the (jelly bean) rock cycle to his dad–a great confirmation to me that he understood the basic process.

the jelly bean rock cycle experiment

{He kept laughing because the “igneous rock” was so stinky.}

Then to finish up our rock study, Ryan created his own mini version of a rock cycle on a paper plate.

printable paper plate rock cycle activity

And that wraps up our two-week rock study! We had a great time, I have a better appreciation for the rocks I pull out of my kids pockets when doing the laundry, and I’m hoping this geology introduction will leave good memories so they’ll be excited the next time a “rock” unit comes around.

If any of these activities (plus several more!) interest you, they’re available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

All About Rocks by Keeping Life Creative

{Clip Art} | {Printable Activities}


  1. Hi, Pam!! Thank you so much for your adorable Christian printables for the flannel board. Will you please consider making printables for the miracle of the loaves and the fishes. I teach in a Christian preschool and I would love to have this set to go along with my stories and art project. Thank you, Leanne


    pameladonnis Reply:

    I can! I’m in the middle of a huge scripture story project right now, when would you need it?
    xoxo, Pam


  2. Thank you for showing us how you use these great printables. What a wonderful talent you have; thanks for sharing it with us. I’m excited to see that you are working on another scripture story project; we really enjoy using those with our family.


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