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Rocks and Soils

What type of rock floats? In this interactive, you can carry out experiments on different types of rocks to find out their properties then test yourself in the quiz.

Requires Adobe Flash Player.

Skill Level:

Key terminology

Wear, float, permeable, split


Common misconceptions

All rocks will split if you hit them with a hammer.

Rocks do not let water through them.

Rocks will sink in water.


Scientific explanations

  • Chalk is permeable because it allows water to soak through.
  • Pumice floats because it is peppered with holes because it was frothy when it came out of the volcano.


Screen – what it does/how to use it

Click & drag pictures of rocks onto test area.  Pull leaver to test:

  • Does it wear well?
  • Does it split?
  • Does it float?
  • Is it permeable?

Follow by a quiz with feedback.


Teacher interventions

Lower KS2? Can children fill in a table independently to collect information?

Show first screen.  Discuss how many rocks will be tested – decide number of rows

Discuss how many different tests there for each rock.  Decide how many columns.

Allow children to explore website & complete a table.


Extension: ask children to use magnifying glass to find out what different rocks are used for.

Can they think of other rocks that are used in everyday life?


Related lesson plans / class activities

Have a collection of rocks & stones to test:

Ask children to find out which float & present evidence in a table.

Ask children to find out which wear well (use sand paper) & present evidence in a table.

Ask children to find out which rocks are permeable (sit rock on paper towel & drop water onto rock)


Links to related resources

Animation with Sarah Jane Adventures – presented as cartoon.

Click & drag to test the effect of tools on different rocks

Click & drag to build with different materials

Take a tour of a virtual quarry.  Need shockwave software to view.

Video explaining how sedimentary rock is made


Shark quiz

How much do you know about sharks?

Camouflaged animals

Watch this video and see if you can spot the animals camouflaged in the pictures!

Deadly Dinosaurs Jigsaw

Choose one of the nine dinosaur jigsaw puzzles to complete.