If you are looking for quick, no prep activities for first grade students to learn and write about rocks, soil and water then you are in the RIGHT PLACE!
I'm a first grade teachers and let me be honest by saying that planning social studies and science is never top on my priority list!
That was UNTIL I realized there are some hidden gems in the form of golden opportunities when it comes to my science instructions.
Read this post if you want to learn how to build in intervention time and meaningful writing opportunities while teaching your first grade students about Rocks, Soil and Water.
The main things students need to know in first grade are:
- Compare Soil by size, texture and color
- Identify and describe sources of water
- Identify how rocks, soil and water are used to make products
Learning the Facts about Rocks, Soil and Water
Okay, “Guided Research” sounds like a super formal term… but what it really means is that these are the activities that we do together as a class and there is typically a right or wrong answer.
This is where I introduce new vocabulary and I am “guiding” students through books or videos to find new information. We are then recording that new information on a simple recording sheet.
These activities are completed at the beginning of the unit when students are just starting to build their knowledge base, so these activities might seem easy, but remember, they are BUILDING their knowledge on the subject.
This unit includes excellent color photograph examples of rocks, soil and water that provide great visuals for first grade students.
I love using open ended prompts like the one you see on the left on the “All About Water” or “All About Rocks” worksheet.
I love the freedom that it gives me as a teacher to lead the discussion where I need it to go, but I also love that it gives students an opportunity to get really creative.
You can easily differentiate this activity by having students draw, label or even write complete sentences.
Interactive Rocks, Soil and Water Journals
Next up comes cut and paste activities. These are PERFECT for when students are ready to become a little more independent.
You can still complete these together as a class, OR you can have students complete the activities independent FOR… wait for….
EXTRA INTERVENTION time for math and reading!!
YES! I use my last 30 minutes of the day (for social studies or science) to sneak in a little more intervention time.
I get my students going on an independent activity such as a cut and paste, then I pull back a group of 3-4 students for extra reading or math intervention rather than having them complete the social studies activity… because what's really more important?
You can read more here:
Independent Writing about Rocks, Soil and Water
I always love to wrap up my first grade rocks, soil and water unit with independent writing.
I feel like this is the optimal way for students to show me what they have learned and also improve on their writing skills!
For students who are pretty independent, I let them work on their own. For students who are struggling a little bit, I write out sentence stems for them to use such as “Rocks can be used to make ___.”
I always like to encourage students to use real life examples in their writing which is SO easy for rocks, soil and water because they are all around us!