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OACS releases Grade 4 rocks and minerals curriculum

Written on June 5th, 2009

New unit highlights God’s creation and how to responsibly use His gifts

A new rocks and minerals curriculum released by the Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools (OACS) is a Canadian resource for Grade 4 students to learn about the natural world around them, says curriculum publications managing editor Nellie van Donkersgoed.

The unit — Rocks and Minerals: God’s Creativity, Our Responsibility — has students explore the unique designs and uses of rocks and minerals.

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“The study of rocks and minerals at this age level will give the students a bigger picture of the natural world around them, and give them a more three-dimensional sense of the physical space they live in,” says van Donkersgoed, noting people often tend to ignore surroundings like rocks.

The unit includes seven activity-based lessons for 19 class periods, integrating the Ministry of Education curriculum expectations and OACS goals.

The unit’s thematic statement says students will discover how rocks and minerals were used in Bible times, where they are in our daily lives and how much people depend on them.

In the second lesson students engage in a scavenger hunt around their home, which may encourage them to think about rocks and minerals in a new way when they realize items like batteries and mattress springs have components derived from those elements, says van Donkersgoed.

A key resource in the unit is a hands-on student field guide with a rock kit. The students test and record the properties of a range of rocks and minerals, and also name the rock or mineral.

“Naming elements around you is important, if you name it, you can own it,” she says.

The final topic is mines. Students are challenged to plan and develop a mining company. This involves thinking about choices to reflect God’s care for His world as well as the mine’s effects on people and the environment.

Hugo Marcus, the Alliance’s director of curriculum publications, included the delivery of the units with his regular visits to the schools, saving postal costs as the rock kit is quite hefty, notes van Donkersgoed.

The rocks and minerals unit is one of several junior science units the Alliance is working on, and is available to any interested school. To learn more, contact the OACS at 905-648-2110 or e-mail orders@oacs.org.