"Activity: Listen to a story and imagine that you are becoming different kinds of rocks over a long period of time. Look at the three major kinds of rocks and discuss the rock cycle.

"Goals: Understand the three main kinds of rocks — sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous — and the differences between them. Realize that rocks change over time and that the process of weathering breaks rocks down into finer pieces, which, over thousands and sometimes millions of years, can change into different kinds of rocks. Understand the rock cycle.

"Age: Older Children

"Procedure: Read the following story while the children sit with their eyes closed. Emphasize that these events would happen over thousands or even millions of years. Later, have them draw pictures of their experiences as a rock as imagined during the fantasy journey. Then look at samples of the three rock types. . . .

Rock to Rock

"Imagine that you are a rock as big as a baseball. Your home is on a sunny hillside and you can sec down into a deep valley with a river roaring far below. You like your home. Sometimes it is very hot there. Can you feel the sunlight warming you?

"During the winter you get worried about the ice that freezes in the crack on top of you. This crack grows bigger each year because the ice pushes hard on the sides of the crack.

"One spring it is very wet, wetter than you can ever remember. The rain pours in little streams rushing down the hillside. Feel the water flowing over you and into the soft mud below.

"Suddenly you feel a rumbling and the Earth begins to shake. You look uphill and a large wall of mud rushes down and sweeps you up. You begin to roll down, down, down into the valley. Ow! You hit another rock and you split along the crack. Now you are two halves rolling down the hill.

"Splash! You land in the river. For days and days you are pushed by the swift, strong waters. Rolling and bumping along you are getting all broken up into gravel and sand. Finally the river enters the ocean and your many pieces settle onto a large, flat area along with millions of pieces of sand, gravel and silt.

"Some pieces settle on top of you and you are getting squished. You yell out, 'Stop pushing!' but more and more weight presses down. Your pieces get pushed and stuck together with other pieces. You are now hardening and becoming a sedimentary rock.

"The pressure grows and you begin to get warmer and warmer. You change color and form into many hard crystals. Now you're a metamorphic rock.

"You keep getting pushed farther down. It is hot. It is boiling hot! Everything begins to melt and you are part of a hot mass of melted rock called magma deep underground. It seems like forever that you are part of this big melted sea of rock. Will you ever see the sun again? You want to be back on your hillside feeling the hot sun and cool wind and rain.

"Wait, you're being pushed up and the Earth is shaking and rumbling again. You can feel yourself rising higher and higher. Fire, ash, dust and steam surround you and, with a loud explosion you burst up out of the top of a volcano. Red-hot lava is all around. You are a scalding, steamy piece of lava shooting through the air when, suddenly, you land on a high point of the volcano away from the hot flow of lava below.

"Slowly the volcano begins to quiet down and the lava cools and hardens. You are now a cold, grey igneous rock on top of a high volcano looking down at a river flowing far below. When the dark ashes blow away and the sky clears, the sun comes out and warms you high up on the volcano — your new home."