Teaching Physical Science With Children’s Literature: If You Find a Rock


 “If you find a rock, a nice flat,

rounded rock that sits just right in the crook of your finger,

then you have found a skipping rock.” Or, “Maybe you find a soft white rock

a rock that feels dusty in your fingers.  Then you have a chalk

rock, and you use it to make pictures on the pavement.”

Introduction and Summary

If You Find a Rock written by, Peggy Christian and photographed by, Barbara Hirsch Lember is a whimsical children’s book about the hidden elegance and uses of rocks.  This book inspires natural curiosity and discovery and encourages us all to slow down, relax and discover the natural wonders of rocks.  The author describes many different types of rocks that one might find on a nature walk.  They are described by their shape, size, color and other physical characteristics as well as ideas of what the kind of rock you find might be good for.  Children  have never been able to help collecting rocks and this book gives them a way to classify thier collection.  You might find a splashing rock or a skipping rock or a wishing rock or a resting rock, this book celebrates rocks and where they might be found.

Curricular Connections

This would be a great book to use as a read aloud for young students when introducing physical science.  The book describes rocks, where you find them and what you could do with them in many different ways.  It also describes many physical attributes and characteristics of different kinds of rocks.  This book is definitely a good classroom conversation starter.  The book does not use many scientific terms so it’s a good jumping off point when introducing how physical properties of an object can be described.   It leaves room for the teacher to discuss physical properties like color, shape, texture as well as size and weight of objects.  (K.4 a, b, c, d)

Additional Resources

Here are some useful sites that may accompany this book well.

Try this site that has lots of great information on how to classify rocks and where they come from.  This site can be used with older students or as teacher background knowledge.

This is a nice interactive site that can be used with older kids and to provide background knowledge for younger children.

This is a great site to use for a teacher resource.  It provides a compilation list of many, many websites that a teacher may look through to get information on teaching about rocks.

This website provides ideas for lesson plans about rocks.  It includes four days of plans on different topics related to the physical science of rocks.  The ideas include, What are rocks and how are they formed?, My life as a rock., How do rocks cycle on the Earth?, How can rock properties help to identify rocks?  The site also includes resources for teacher background knowledge and links to other books that may be used with the lessons.

There are so many great sites that have to do with rocks and here is another one.  It is complete with another list of books about rocks that would be appropriate for young readers and activities to build curiosity about rocks.

General Information

Book:  If You Find a Rock

Author:  Peggy Christian

Illustrator:  Barbara Hirsch Lember

Publisher:  Voyager Books Harcourt, INC.

Publication Date:  2000

Pages:  32

Grade Range:  K-4

ISBN:  9780152063542

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