Michigan Rocks



Learning Goals

Instructional Sequence




Michigan Rocks is an Earth Science Unit developed to guide upper elementary and middle school teachers in teaching about Michigan’s unique geology. Complete lessons are available under "Instructional Sequence".

Michigan Rocks engages students in the study of mineralogy, petrology (rock study), geologic time, fossils, and structural geology. Michigan Rocks includes seven inquiry-based lessons in which students will:

  • Identify minerals and rocks
  • Examine patterns present in the physical locations of minerals and rocks found in Michigan
  • Create a time line that represents the major events that have occurred in Michigan
  • Sieve fossils from sedimentary earth material found Michigan, identify the fossils in this material and prepare an identification card
  • Plot the location and age of fossil outcrops on an outline map of the state and search for any patterns in this plotted data
  • Build a model of the Michigan basin that shows the three-dimensional structure of the state

Michigan Rocks also includes:

  • Connections to the Michigan Curriculum Framework for Science
  • Integrated content connections to the Michigan Curriculum Framework for technology, social studies, mathematics, and English/language arts
  • Additional web-based resources
  • Related children's literature suggestions
  • Suggestions for building instructional sequences
  • Background information on geology topics

Michigan Rocks was developed to:

  • Share an innovative inquiry lesson sequence designed to teach about Michigan Geology
  • Provide pre-service and in-service teachers with rich resource for teaching Earth Science, including web connections, integration of other content areas, and related children's literature suggestions
  • Provide teacher educators with a resource for helping pre-service elementary and middle school teachers learn to analyze and modify curriculum materials
Pre-service teachers place minerals and rocks on a Michigan map (Lesson 4). Pre-service teachers cut out geologic layers to construct a model of the Michigan Basin (Lesson 7). A finished model of the Michigan Basin (Lesson 7).

Created by Kristin Gunckel, Jeannine Stanaway, and Blakely Tsurusaki

We would like to acknowledge K Rod Cranson for his initial work on an earlier curriculum unit, MI Geology, that served as a model for the lessons for this website.

Created with support from the Center for Curriculum Materials in Science (CCMS) and Team Two, College of Education, Michigan State University.