STEM Friday

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Books

Rocks and Minerals at STEM Friday


Welcome to STEM Friday. Please leave your contribution in the comments. I’ll add the links throughout the day.

Roberta at Wrapped in Foil has Creep and Flutter: The Secret World of Insects and Spiders by Jim Arnosky.

Sue at Archimedes Notebook is  focusing on pollinators… think you can pollinate a flower as well as a bee can? Find bee-friendly activities here.

Rourke Educational Media is featuring the new books in their line, My Science Library, including The Night Sky, Skeletons and Exoskeletons, The Scoop About Measuring Matter, Let’s Investigate Light, Eating and the Digestive System, and The Amazing Facts About Sound.

I Can Prove It! Investigating Science Cover

Jeff at NC Teacher Stuff, has a review of A Whale of a Tale, which is a new iPad app.

And Shirley at SimplyScience has

Rocks and Minerals

Rocks and Minerals

By Steve Tomecek

Illustrated by Kyle Poling

National Geographic Kids, 2010

ISBN #978-1426305382

Grades K-3


“Rocks are all around us. Have you ever wondered where all these rocks came from? What are rocks made of? Here’s your chance to become a ‘rock star’ an discover the wonderful world of rocks.”

Rocks and Minerals is a terrific introduction to rocks, the rock cycle, and minerals. In a simple, fun way, Steve Tomecek, also known as  “The Dirtmeister,” explains rocks through the Earth’s formation and subsequent cooling, the building blocks of rocks called minerals, and the three groups of rocks and how they formed. Also included are examples of how people use rocks, erosion and sedimentation, and fossils embedded within rocks. The conclusion diagrams the rock cycle. The book ends with an easy to do experiment to show how conglomerate rocks are formed.

The illustrations are shown through the eyes of an unnamed cartoon figure that frolics about as a guide. This book would be a good read-aloud or one a reader might want to read on his or her own. The rocks depicted in the art are shown in large photos that are labeled and a pronunciation is given for the hard-to-say names. This good information would be an excellent way to begin a study of rocks and minerals.


Try the activity suggested in the book and make a conglomerate rock. Then use the same technique to make a sedimentary rock with a fossil inside. You may want to use a smaller cup for this activity.

Use the glue, but include several layers of sand, dirt, and other material with a different grain size (like powered clay, plaster of paris, or even salt) to make the different layers. Place a leaf or small object covered in petroleum jelly or small object between two of the layers. Let the rock dry and open it. Break it apart and see if you can find the fossil.

Another way to do this is to use plaster of paris for the fossil layer. Make the layers, but let the plaster layer dry. Cover the layer and fossil object with petroleum jelly, put the fossil object on top of the plaster layer, and add more plaster and layers. Let this dry and break it open.

Observe the fossil imprint. Then talk about which layer is the oldest and youngest. The bottom layer would be oldest.

National Science Standards: Earth’s material and system.

Book provided by publisher for Librarians’ Choices Review Committee.

Author: Shirley Duke

Bio for Shirley Duke I am a children's writer, science content editor, and presenter. I taught science and ESL in elementary, middle school, and high school for twenty-five years and then began to write for children. I've written 34 books for the trade and educational market and 8 books for an individual. I've written freelance for publishers, book packagers, and individuals. This work includes books, magazines, Booklinks, tests, teacher guides, flashcards, workbooks, ghostwriting, my college alumni bulletin, and blogs. I began writing about fourteen years ago. My first book, No Bows!, was published in 2006. I have most recently been writing science books for the school and library markets. I also have done science content editing for Blue Door Publishing and Red Line Editorial. With Anastasia Suen, I wrote a book on STEM and the Commmon Core for ABC-Clio. It contains 44 lessons for librarians to incorporate more STEM subjects into their lessons while covering the Common Core standards. I also correlated the Next Generation Science Standards and Common core for Kingfisher's Basher series. Look for the Growing STEM column in LibrarySparks that Anastasia Suen and I write. I've spoken at schools, ALA, TLA, TSRA, ALA, NAEYC, universities, libraries, and book fairs and festivals. Visit my website at to see more about me. I also do a few library and school visits.

4 thoughts on “Rocks and Minerals at STEM Friday

  1. Sorry to be late, folks. Besides forgetting until this morning, I’m having computer glitches with my WordPress. So here it is. I’ll put your links in the body, since I’m late!

  2. Today I’m focusing on pollinators… think you can pollinate a flower as well as a bee can? Find bee-friendly activities at

  3. Sorry about your computer problems, Shirley. At NC Teacher Stuff, I have posted a review of A Whale of a Tale which is a new iPad app:

  4. Shirley,

    Sorry to hear about the computer problems. I know they can be frustrating.

    Thank you for finding my post 🙂