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Cooper Students Cook Up Science Experience

The shapes and sizes of rocks are ever changing. In a recent science unit, Cooper Elementary School third graders learned about the three types of rocks: igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic and applied that knowledge through interesting experiments. Third grade science teacher, Margaret Heyn, believes students learn principals of science more clearly when they experience them hands-on as they did recently when they created edible rocks in a simulated experiment that mimicked nature's process.


In the classroom, heat changes substances much like heat changes rocks in nature. Igneous rocks form when air gets trapped inside pumice as molten rock from a volcano cools quickly. In the classroom, a simulation of the process occurred when marshmallows were melted, rice cereal was added, and the combination cooled quickly. Just as sedimentary rocks are created over time in a layering manner in nature, so too were graham crackers, chocolate chips, coconut, and nuts layered in the classroom. As heat and pressure change limestone to marble, and shale into slate deep inside the earth, students swirled light and dark chocolate into a faux metamorphic rock to replicate nature's changes.

Though students are warned never to use taste when identifying rocks, the use of their fifth sense was encouraged in this cooking experiment. As the children delighted in eating the ‘rocks' they had created, they understood more deeply how the formation of rocks, like cooking, is all about change.

Sheboygan Area School District Press Release
February 8, 2011