Rock observations activity

Discovering Geology — Maps and resources

When in the field, a geologist may not know what rock they are looking at so they must make some observations. These observations can then help them identify what
type of rock they have found.

As a geologist, you will need to make notes on each different rock to help you identify it. Using some rock samples, complete the table below. These rock samples might come from your local beach, garden or park.

School activity


  • worksheet (one per student)
  • rock observations sheet (one per student)
  • My field notebook (one per student)
  • rock samples, from either the BGS Rock Kit or your own samples. If you do not have access to geological specimens then you may wish to gather materials from a local beach, park, etc. but this activity works best with a variety of samples to illustrate to students how rocks differ.

Using the rock kits, set up rock observation stations around the classroom with two
or three samples per table. The worksheet has enough columns for three stations,
but you may wish to have more depending on your class size. Students work their
way around the room making observations and completing the table for each of the
specimens they observe.

This activity is designed in a way that it can be done under independent working or
as a small group activity.

You may wish to separate the tables by rock group, for example igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic, or you may wish to have one sample per table and encourage students to converse and make observations together.

You may also be interested in

Ammonite p815563

Discovering Geology

Discovering Geology introduces a range of geoscience topics to school-age students and learners of all ages.

Show more
Maps and resources feature image P542895

Maps and resources

Download and print free educational resources.

Show more


What is a fossil and why do we study them? Explore the different methods of fossil preservation.

Show more

Was this page helpful?

  • How can we make this section better?*

  • Please select a reason*

  • How can we make this section better?*