Earth Science Education logo and mountains
Rocks and Minerals of Salt Lake County

Stories - The Literacy Connection

Elementary school teachers generally are good story-tellers. We encourage you to use those talents to tell the story of rocks. "Reading the story the rocks tell” means (1) recognizing important physical properties of rocks and (2) treating them as the clues to solve a mystery. Sharing the clues of the story encourages curiosity, observation, and logical thinking.

Earth Science Education wants you to enjoy the challenge of responding to “What is my rock?” Avoid the exotic. Develop an understanding of common rocks, the rocks that children pick up near their homes or in local canyons and think of as "their" rocks.

An understanding of how we learn about rocks and minerals is a good foundation for learning other aspects of earth science such as environmental geology, geologic resources and earth systems.
Every rock tells a story.

We consider it "success" each time you figure out:

  1. why the rock (sediment) looks the way it does today and,
  2. what was the bedrock source of the rock (sedimentary, igneous or metamorphic).

With just those two pieces of information you can tell the story of the rock’s journey to its present status.

We hope you never again experience “rock anxiety,” that panicky feeling when you don’t know "The Answer". Please don't ask students to memorize dozens of rock names or mineral names. The rock's story is the science. Understand the story and you understand the science.

Please remember…

Teach the story, and you teach earth science.
Teach weird vocabulary, rock names and perpetuate the myth that science is boring.