Beacon Lesson Plan Library

The Rock Cycle Graphically Organized

Lois Walsh
Bay District Schools


Science students use the prereading strategy of discussion and then use a graphic organizer to help guide reading on the topic of the rock cycle.


The student selects and uses appropriate pre-writing strategies, such as brainstorming, graphic organizers, and outlines.

The student knows that Earth's systems and organisms are the result of a long, continuous change over time.


-Pencil (not pen since changes may be needed to be made)
-Earth Science Textbook, encyclopedia, or other reference material
-Colored pencils (red, blue, yellow, and green)
- Optional: Florida Curriculum FrameWork Science PreK - 12 Sunshine State Standards and Instructional Practices.


1. Read over procedure and gather materials.

2. Read over textbook and make a sample graphic organizer.

3. Color or highlight sample graphic organizer.

4. For summative assessment: Modify sample graphic organizer into a quiz. Simply delete some of the information and insert a number. Being able to write on the graphic organizer helps the students who struggle more with this note taking technique.

5. Present the lesson.

6. Check for understanding at each step.


1. Introduce the title/topic of the rock cycle. What does it mean?

2. Question students about the major groups of rock types. Discuss or list on the board and solicit guesses:
-How many? (3)
-Names? (Igneous, Metamorphic and Sedimentary)
-How might they cycle? (change)

3. Explain what a graphic organizer is. Make sure students know that is more than just notes. It is a visual picture and an organization of the information. For examples and types see pages 154 to158 of the 'Florida Curriculum FrameWork Science PreK - 12 standards and Instructional Practices.'

4. Draw a Rock Cycle Graphic Organizer outline or beginning for students to copy on their paper.
(using the overhead or board; see associated file)

5. Explain that rocks donít stay the same. They are part of a dynamic system. There are 2 types of changes: a rock is being made or it is changing from that rock. This is the process/ the action or the cycle.

6. Students are to read the chapter and record the processes going on in the rock cycle. Drawing in arrows labeled according to the processes at work does this. Give an example (see associated file).

7. Allow students time to read and fill in their graphic organizers. Circulate and monitor their progress, to model and answer questions.

8. Check for understanding after about 5 to 10 minutes and fill in the next one or two processes. This may or may not be necessary; teacher can determine based on the class & the progress.

9. When the class has finished with their graphic organizers, review. This can be the next day or at the end of the class period.
- To review as a class the teacher or a designated student can draw a graphic organizer on the board or overhead projector and fill it in as the processes are discussed Students can even reread parts of the textbook for clarification or modeling.
- This could also be done by pairs of students, comparing and modifying their graphic organizers before they return to the large group for a double check.

10. Then give an individual practice. This coding guideline should be listed on the board/overhead or in a handout:
Do you see relationships of the rock cycle?
Outline the box or the arrow:
1- yellow = material
2- red = major type of rock
3- green = building or making rock
4- blue = breaking down rock

11. Check orally for understanding of the relationships in the rock cycle and discuss if necessary.

12. Assess understanding of construction and reading a graphic organizer.


Formative assessment is done when the class meets as a whole. Extra practice, peer turoring, etc. may need to be added by the teacher.

Assessment: Assess graphic organizer, construction & use, and the rock cycle sequence with a quiz format divided into 2 parts:
Part 1 will have a teacher constructed graphic organizer with the title, at least one type of rock, one material and 4 processes missing with blanks to be filled in as part of the quiz.
Part 2 will be constructing a graphic organizer from a paragraph on other earth changes. A paragraph from a textbook on diamond formation or metamorphic / sedimentary rock formation would be very appropriate. Mastery would be: one main idea, 3 supporting details in the graphic organizer or one main idea and 3 sequenced steps depending on the text chosen.


Use the same procedure in the next chapter/topic.
Teach other note-taking techniques and then allow students to choose which one they use.
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