School In The Park - 4th Grade Writing Opportunities

Writing Room

Activity Template

Writing Room Sample Activity

Available Book


Units of Inquiry Assessment Rubrics


Natural History ROT#2
Rocks & Minerals


Reflected Student Understandings



Personal Narrative

• Pretend you are the mineral Calcite.  Describe how you have changed by going through the rock cycle (from sedimentary to metamorphic to igneous rock).

• Describe how you decided which minerals you had.  Explain how to use the characteristics of minerals to find out what an unknown mineral is.

• Pretend that you are a rock-eating ogre.  Write a recipe for a rock dinner.  You  can make gravy from bentonite and salt your hematite with calcite.  What crazy recipe will you devise?  Granite granola with extra feldspar chunks?  A sediment sundae with hot lava sauce and fossil sprinkles?

• You wake up in the morning with a superpower; you can pass through solid rock and you can withstand super hot temperatures and poison gases.  Journey inside a volcano and describe what you see.  What is going on deep below the surface that is causing molten rock to come to the surface?

Remember to:
• include a beginning, a middle, and an end;
• use details; and
• use correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization




Arch Diagram

Branching Diagrams

Central Idea Graph



Cycle Graph

Descriptive Writing

Matrix Diagram

Web Diagram



Response to Literature

Story: A Different Kind of Hero (available in the NH classroom)
Select a section from this story that describes the difficulty Renny has when he befriends a Chinese boy.  Have students read the selection and mark the story or make notes.  After they read,  they write an essay on how difficult it is to follow your conscience when it conflicts with your family/social group.

Story:  Digging for Dinosaurs (available in the NH classroom)
Select a section from this story that illustrates why a museum might provide information you need to follow your own interests.  Students can explain what Dan learned from his experience.

Remember to:
• show your understanding of the story,
• give examples from the story, and
• use correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization



Information Reports

• Article: The Disaster Twins
Read the article.  You may mark the article or make notes.  Then use the information to explain what causes earthquakes and what are things one can do to be safe in one.

• Use at least two of the books on rocks/minerals.  Choose one mineral.  List  3 – 5 questions you would like to find out about this mineral and write a report on that mineral.

• Pretend you are a geologist working for the City of San Diego.  There is a new housing development that is planning to build several homes on an area of land you have surveyed.  You learned there is a layer of bentonite beneath the land they want to use.  Write a report to the City explaining why they should not approve this new development.

• Pretend you are on location as a news reporter.  Report on one of the following:
--an earthquake
--a fossil discovery
--a landslide

•  If you were a mineral, which one would you be?  Describe your color, your luster, your hardness.  Do you break with parallel lines or do you fracture under stress?  Match your personality to these qualities.

Remember to:
• create a main question about the issue or situation
• include facts and details to support your question
• use more than one source of information
• use correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization





Summary of Reading


• Article: Surtsey is Born
Read the informational article on the following page.  You may mark the article or make notes.  After you read, write a summary of what you have read.

• Write an obituary for a igneous rock (this is available in more detail on the SDNHM website)

Remember to:
• state the main ideas of the article;
• identify the most important details that support the main ideas;
•use your own words in writing the summary; and
•use correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization.



NOTE: If you want to use resources from the museum, please contact the museum educator