Hard as a Rock

The "Hard as A Rock" program takes students on a journey to investigate everyday objects that come from rocks and minerals, as well as the different characteristics of common rocks. Explore some of the activities we do with the school groups and resources we provide to teachers below. 

They are all free for you to use thanks to the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences at Appalachian State University. If you have questions about any of these resources, field trip opportunities, classroom visits or to request activities for different topics, please our Outreach Coordinator at mckinneymuseum@appstate.edu.


  • Rocks Pre-Assessment- This worksheet can be used to get students to think about rocks and how much they know about them, at the beginning of the unit.  It is also a great primer for their visit to the Geology Teaching Musem or Rock Garden at AppState.
  • Rockin' Words Crossword- Word search of geology-related words. Also includes a fun-facts reading section and the answers to the crossword. To make it more challenging, remove the word bank. 
  • K-2 Museum Handout- An example of a scavanger-style handout students get during their visit to our facilities. Handouts are adapted according to group size, exhibits on display, lenth of visit, etc.
  • Bucket O' Rocks- A bucket full of rock samples organized into four different activities that can be set up as stations. The package here includes the resources for this lesson such as teacher instructions, table signs/ tents, student handout, rock info sheets, etc. You can put together your own bucket of rocks and use the activities we have created with your samples, or borrow one of our "ready to go" buckets through our Loaner Kits program. 

Standard Alignment:

NCSES 1.E.2 Understand the physical properties of Earth materials that make them useful in different ways.

  • 1.E.2.1 Summarize the physical properties of earth materials, including rocks, minerals, soils and water that make them useful in different ways


Students examine rock samples in their classroom.

Other tips for teachers:

  • Want to borrow some resources such as rock or fossil samples? Check out the loaner kits we have available for free. 
  • Related activities can also be found in the Hard as Rock learning module for K-2.
  • If you are intested in visiting our geology facilities or having a guest speaker in your class, please contact us at mckinneymusem@appstate.edu