Information for Rocks and Minerals

We are completing a short review unit on Rocks and Minerals.

Test Date will be determined later.

Read all of the following material to help you prepare for the test.

Science Vocabulary for Rocks and Minerals

Minerals are naturally occurring, nonliving solids that have a specific chemical makeup and a repeating structure.

Minerals are identified by their properties.

Some mineral properties include color, streak, luster, and hardness.

Minerals come is a wide variety of colors and some minerals can be found in many colors.

Steak is the color of the powder left behind when a mineral is rubbed against a white tile or a streak plate.

Luster is the way a mineral's surface reflects light.

Hardness is a mineral's ability to resist being scratched.

Hardness is determined from Mohs' Hardness Scale.  The scale is from 1, talc, the softest, up to 10, diamond, the hardest.  A higher number can scratch a softer number.  A human fingernail has a hardness of 2.5.  Glass has a hardness of 6.

Some minerals have unique or special properties.  Some minerals can refract light, some can be magnetic, some can produce a double image, and some can glow under certain light conditions.

A rock is a natural substance made of one or more minerals.

Igneous rock is formed when melted rock cools and hardens.

Sedimentary rock is formed when sediments are presses together.

Deposition is the process in which sediment settles out of water or is dropped by wind.

Metamorphic rock is formed with great heat and great pressure is applied changing rocks into new forms. 

Igneous rocks can form under the earth's surface and on the earth's surface.  If an igneous rock forms under the earth's surface it will have more time to cool and harden and the crystals will have more time to develop.  If an igneous rock forms on the earth's surface it will cool and harden quickly and therefore the crystals will have less time to develop.

Sedimentary rock forms from layers and layers of sediment pressed together with great pressure.  Sediment is the pieces of rock that have been worn away from other rocks.  This sediment gets deposited, or dropped in another place after being moved by wind or water.

Sedimentary rock layers may have fossils of ancient organisms.

Metamorphic rock is can be formed deep inside the earth, inside mountains, and even near volcanoes.

Weathering is the process of rocks being worn away by natural forces.

Erosion is the process of moving sediment by wind, water, or ice.

The rock cycle is the continuous process in which one type of rock is changed into another type of rock.

The weathering of rock can occur because of wind, rain, flowing water, ice, and sunlight (and other factors).

Rocks weather (are worn down) at different rates depending on their level of hardness and the forces acting on them.

Igneous rocks are created by great heat.  Volcanoes produce igneous rocks.  Inside the earth the melted rock is called magma and on earth's surface melted rock is called lava.  Once the magma or lava cools and hardens it becomes igneous rock.

Sedimentary rocks are created by great pressure.  First, rocks are worn away, then the bits of rock are carried by wind or water and then deposited in another location.  Then more bits of rock are layered upon the first.  After millions of years the pressure causes the bits to be cemented together forming sedimentary rock.

Soil is formed from weathered rock.  Good farming soil has pieces of decaying plant and animal matter. 


15 Likely Test Questions (depending on time and coverage of material):

1.  The way a mineral reflects light is its _______.

2.  Rocks are broken down into sediment during _______.

3.  Rock changed by heat and pressure is known as _______.

4.  Rocks continually change into other types of rocks in the __________.

5.  Pieces of sediment settle out of water or wind during ________.

6.  Rubbing a mineral sample against a white tile tests the mineral's _________.

7.  A naturally occurring solid with a repeating structure is a ___________.

8.  Pieces of sediment that have been pressed and cemented together form  _____________.

9.  Melted rock cools and hardens to form  ________________.

10.  Wind and water carry sediment from one place to another during the process of _________.

11.  Define a rock and a mineral.

12.  List three components (ingredients) of soil.

13.  Describe two processes that change rocks.

14.  What are the steps that would cause good farming soil to be formed?

15.  What might make a rock weather quicker than another rock?

Possible Bonus Questions:  

                1.  Describe Pangea. 

                2.  Write a short paragraph on plate tectonics. 

                3.  Why does our Temperate Deciduous Forest biome have good soil?


 rock   igneous rock  properties   erosion 
 mineral  metamorphic rock  luster  weathering
 rock cycle  sedimentary rock  hardness  Mohs' Hardness Scale
 soil formation  Pangea  streak deposition


Questions to Know:

What makes a Mineral a Mineral?

What are some uses of Minerals?

How does each type of rock form?

How is a rock different than a mineral?

What role do weathering and erosion play in the rock cycle?

What are some properties of minerals?

What tests do you perform to categorize a mineral sample?