The aim is to simulate some of the ways in which metamorphic rocks are formed, and to explain how both increased pressure and heat affect the formation of the different types of metamorphic rock.

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

Skill development

Children will develop their working scientifically skills by:

  • 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 findings.
  • Asking their own questions about scientific phenomena.

Learning outcomes

Children will:

  • Compare and group together different kinds of rocks on the basis of their appearance and simple physical properties.
  • Describe in simple terms how fossils are formed when things that have lived are trapped within rock.

Concepts supported

Children will learn:

  • How metamorphic rocks are formed, and how this process can alter the properties of the new rocks.

Suggested activity use

These three activities provide an excellent opportunity for children to explore the process of metamorphic rock formation. You can choose to carry out all three with the whole class and have a carousel of activities for children to explore. You could choose to use one of the activities as a class demonstration (boiling egg) before allowing children to carry out the other two.

Practical considerations

When using these activities, be careful not to introduce or reinforce the misconception that metamorphism involving high pressures only happens during mountain-building – whereas actually the pressure from burial can be great enough to cause metamorphism to occur.

Also, make sure that students realise that the time and temperatures simulated in the activities are not the same as those required for the actual rock formation.

Additional support may be needed if the activities are to be carried out as a carousel.

The egg activity may be better as a class demonstration due to risks involved with boiling water and potential allergies to eggs. It is unlikely that a Bunsen burner will be available for use in a primary school, therefore alternative sources of heat will need to be considered.

You will need to provide the equipment and materials outlined in the resource, including samples of metamorphic rock.

Please be aware that the curriculum links at the beginning of the document are out of date.