Outstanding Science | Primary Science Resources for the National Curriculum

Primary Science Resources for the National Curriculum

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KS2 - Year 3 Rocks

Learning objective

I can explain how fossils are formed.

Children explore how fossils are formed in sedimentary rock. They learn that some ancient organisms died, were covered soon after death, formed fossils and were then uncovered. Children create their own process description with diagrams by cutting and pasting, or draw their own diagrams and write their own descriptions.

  • 3c2: describe in simple terms how fossils are formed when things that have lived are trapped within rock
Fossils are the remains of ancient organisms.
Fossils are formed when an organism dies, is quickly covered by sediment, which over millions of years becomes sedimentary rock containing a fossil.
Only a small fraction of dead organisms leave a fossil.
Fossils tell us about ancient organisms, many of which are extinct.
An extinct organism is one of which there are no longer any living examples.
A palaeontologist is a scientist who studies the ancient past.
Year 3 Rocks | Outstanding Science

Observing rocks Investigation

Outstanding Science Year 3 | Rocks | OS3C001

Learning objective

I can observe and describe the properties of rocks.

Children use a hand lens to look at a selection of rocks. They make observational drawings and describe them with the help of a word bank. Children try to identify the name of each rock and whether it contains grains, crystals, or fossils.

  • 3c1: compare and group together different kinds of rocks on the basis of their appearance and simple physical properties
A magnifying glass can be used to examine objects in closer detail.
Rocks can be described as smooth, rough, shiny, dull, sparkly, heavy, light, regular, irregular, sharp, flat, round, jagged or dark.
Some rocks contain features such as crystals or fossils.
Year 3 Rocks | Outstanding Science

Testing rock hardness Investigation

Outstanding Science Year 3 | Rocks | OS3C002

Learning objective

I can test and compare rocks based on their hardness.

Children carry out an investigation to place a selection of 8 rocks in order of hardness. They predict and then test whether a rock can scratch each of the other rocks. They use their simple results table to create a frequency table and bar chart, and finally attempt to place the rocks in order of hardness.

  • 3c1: compare and group together different kinds of rocks on the basis of their appearance and simple physical properties
Some rocks are harder than others.
The hardness of rocks can be discovered through investigation.
Year 3 Rocks | Outstanding Science

Investigating rocks Investigation

Outstanding Science Year 3 | Rocks | OS3C003

Learning objective

I can investigate the properties of rocks.

Children investigate the properties of rocks. They predict and then observe whether 8 different rocks can be scratched with a nail, are porous, or can float in water. They use their results to create and label a 1-set Venn diagram.

  • 3c1: compare and group together different kinds of rocks on the basis of their appearance and simple physical properties
Porosity is the ability of an object to allow water to pass through it.
Rocks have different properties.
The properties of rocks can be discovered through experiment.
On a Venn diagram, the objects placed within a set have a given property, while those outside the set do not.
Year 3 Rocks | Outstanding Science

Animals and their fossils Worksheet

Outstanding Science Year 3 | Rocks | OS3C005

Learning objective

I can describe fossils and guess how they were formed.

Children research and discuss some different types of living things whose remains have become fossils inside sedimentary rock. They learn that fossils are rare and often incomplete. They look at 4 images of fossils, label what they can see, and make a drawing of what the organisms might have looked like when it was alive.

  • 3c2: describe in simple terms how fossils are formed when things that have lived are trapped within rock
Organisms are living things.
Fossils can tell us about organisms that lived millions of years ago.
Palaeontologists are scientists who use evidence such as fossils to find out about the distant past.
More ancient fossils are often found at a lower depth.
Few dead organisms leave fossils.
Fossils are often incomplete and palaeontologists need to infer what the entire organism looked like.
Year 3 Rocks | Outstanding Science

Investigating soils Investigation

Outstanding Science Year 3 | Rocks | OS3C006

Learning objective

I can investigate what soils are made from.

Using hand lenses, children explore two different soil samples. They identify differences and similarities, looking for sand, plant parts, water and minibeasts. They create an observational drawing and write a description of each sample.

  • 3c3: recognise that soils are made from rocks and organic matter.
Soils are vital for plant growth.
Soils are an important habitat.
Soil may contain sand, small rocks, humus, air spaces, minibeasts, seeds, roots, or other parts of plants, and human litter or rubbish.
Humus is made of dead or rotting organisms.
The components of soil can be discovered through observation.
Different soil samples may contain different components.
Soil may contain harmful materials and it is important to use safety equipment when handling them.
Year 3 Rocks | Outstanding Science

Soil composition Investigation

Outstanding Science Year 3 | Rocks | OS3C007

Learning objective

I can examine what a soil sample is made from.

Children examine a soil sample. They mix it with water inside a bottle, then allow it to settle. They draw and label its initial appearance, and then its appearance after several days. They discuss how it changes over time.

  • 3c3: recognise that soils are made from rocks and organic matter.
Soils are composed of different materials.
The components of soil can be separated by mixing in water and settling.
Soil can contain harmful materials and we should follow hygiene procedures when handling them.
Year 3 Rocks | Outstanding Science

Rocks and their properties Worksheet

Outstanding Science Year 3 | Rocks | OS3C008

Learning objective

I can match rocks to their properties and suggest uses for them.

Children learn that rocks can be placed into three categories - sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous. They examine pictures of 8 familiar rocks - chalk, diamond, sandstone, slate, granite, flint, marble and limestone - and match them to their descriptions and physical properties. They suggest potential uses for each of these rocks.

  • 3c3: recognise that soils are made from rocks and organic matter.
Sedimentary rocks are formed by loose material settling and being compressed into layers of rock.
Metamorphic rocks have been subjected to great heat and pressure over a long period of time, causing them to change.
Igneous rocks are formed at very high temperatures, often deep within the Earth.
Rocks have different properties, and therefore different applications.
Year 3 Rocks | Outstanding Science