Visit Nonfiction Monday at Jean Little Library.
By Steve Tomecek
Illustrated by Kyle Poling
National Geographic Kids, 2010
“Rocks are all around us. Have you ever wondered where all these rocks came from? What are rocks made of? Here’s your chance to become a ‘rock star’ an discover the wonderful world of rocks.”
Rocks and Minerals is a terrific introduction to rocks, the rock cycle, and minerals. In a simple, fun way, Steve Tomecek, also known as “The Dirtmeister,” explains rocks through the Earth’s formation and subsequent cooling, the building blocks of rocks called minerals, and the three groups of rocks and how they formed. Also included are examples of how people use rocks, erosion and sedimentation, and fossils embedded within rocks. The conclusion diagrams the rock cycle. The book ends with an easy to do experiment to show how conglomerate rocks are formed.
The illustrations are shown through the eyes of an unnamed cartoon figure that frolics about as a guide. This book would be a good read-aloud or one a reader might want to read on his or her own. The rocks depicted in the art are shown in large photos that are labeled and a pronunciation is given for the hard-to-say names. This good information would be an excellent way to begin a study of rocks and minerals.
Try the activity suggested in the book and make a conglomerate rock. Then use the same technique to make a sedimentary rock with a fossil inside. You may want to use a smaller cup for this activity.
Use the glue, but include several layers of sand, dirt, and other material with a different grain size (like powered clay, plaster of paris, or even salt) to make the different layers. Place a leaf or small object covered in petroleum jelly or small object between two of the layers. Let the rock dry and open it. Break it apart and see if you can find the fossil.
Another way to do this is to use plaster of paris for the fossil layer. Make the layers, but let the plaster layer dry. Cover the layer and fossil object with petroleum jelly, put the fossil object on top of the plaster layer, and add more plaster and layers. Let this dry and break it open.
Observe the fossil imprint. Then talk about which layer is the oldest and youngest. The bottom layer would be oldest.
National Science Standards: Earth’s material and system.
Book provided by publisher for Librarians’ Choices Review Committee.