Investigation into the weathering of different types of rock.

If you teach primary science, see the headings below to find out how to use this resource:

Skill development

Students will develop their working scientifically skills by:

  • Selecting and planning the most appropriate ways to answer science questions, recognising and controlling variables where necessary, including:
    • Carrying out comparative tests.
    • Grouping and classifying things.
  • Drawing conclusions and raising further questions that could be investigated, based on their data and observations.
  • Using appropriate scientific language and ideas to explain, evaluate and communicate their methods and findings.

Learning outcomes

Children will:

  • Compare and group together different kinds of rocks on the basis of their appearance and simple physical properties.

Concepts supported

Children will learn:

  • The properties of rocks vary depending on their type, sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous, and how they were formed.
  • That weathering affects rocks differently according to the properties of the rocks.

Suggested activity use

The activity is suitable for a whole class investigation, taking place over two lessons. The first lesson would look at grouping and classifying rocks, with the second lesson looking to apply this knowledge to a real world application – gravestones.

Practical considerations

Children will need to learn or re-cap their knowledge and understanding of the types of rocks before looking at gravestones.

They will also need prior knowledge and understanding of weathering and factors that affect it.

Hydrochloric acid may be difficult to source in primary schools – alternatives, such as vinegar, could be used.

A risk assessment will need to be carried out for the visit to the graveyard/gravestones. The visit to the graveyard will need to be treated sensitively.

Alternatively, you could take photos of both weathered and unweathered gravestones to show the types of stone commonly used locally.