K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

Important Announcement about Online Courses and LEARN NC.

Important Message about LEARN NC

LEARN NC is evaluating its role in the current online education environment as it relates directly to the mission of UNC-Chapel Hill School of Education (UNC-CH SOE). We plan to look at our ability to facilitate the transmission of the best research coming out of UNC-CH SOE and other campus partners to support classroom teachers across North Carolina. We will begin by evaluating our existing faculty and student involvement with various NC public schools to determine what might be useful to share with you.

Don’t worry! The lesson plans, articles, and textbooks you use and love aren’t going away. They are simply being moved into the new LEARN NC Digital Archive. While we are moving away from a focus on publishing, we know it’s important that educators have access to these kinds of resources. These resources will be preserved on our website for the foreseeable future. That said, we’re directing our resources into our newest efforts, so we won’t be adding to the archive or updating its contents. This means that as the North Carolina Standard Course of Study changes in the future, we won’t be re-aligning resources. Our full-text and tag searches should make it possible for you to find exactly what you need, regardless of standards alignment.

Learn more

Related pages

  • Rocks and Minerals: Teach your students to be rock hounds with these wonderful rock and mineral resources.
  • Minerals and math: Students will develop ways to create self-devised rules for classifying minerals and relate this information to scientific ways of classifying minerals according to their characteristics. They will then compile this information into a chart and convert parts of the chart into a line or bar graph.
  • Rocks really rock! A lesson on the classification of rocks: This lesson will help students classify various rocks according to specified criteria. It will also help students classify a given rock using selected mineral identification tests. Students will use a graphic organizer to display their findings.

Related topics


Please read our disclaimer for lesson plans.


The text of this page is copyright ©2008. See terms of use. Images and other media may be licensed separately; see captions for more information and read the fine print.

Learning outcomes

Students will learn:

  • how to differentiate between intrusive and extrusive igneous rocks by texture.
  • why some extrusive rocks have holes.
  • why rock, both intrusive and extrusive, varies in color.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

1 hour


  • Large table
  • hot plate and non-stick frying pan or electric griddle
  • spatula
  • ingredients for pancake batter
  • dark chocolate powder or syrup
  • mixing containers
  • paper plates, napkins or paper towels
  • Samples of rock-forming minerals such as quartz, orthoclase and plagioclase feldspar, muscovite and biotite mica, amphibole hornblende, or pyroxene
  • Samples of intrusive and extrusive rocks such as gabbro, diotite, granite, pumice, scoria, obsidian, or rhyolite.


  • Students should have a basic understanding of the rock-forming minerals and their general shades of color (light, medium, dark).
  • Students should know how igneous rocks form and how they are divided into extrusive and intrusive categories by differences in texture due to cooling rates.
  • Students should have an understanding of mineral formation. Fast cooling creates small or no crystals and slow cooling results in large crystals.


  1. The instructor should arrange a demonstration table before the lesson with the minerals, rocks, and pancake-making materials. The rocks should be separated and labeled by name as either extrusive or intrusive. The minerals should be separated into light, medium, or dark shades of color.
  2. The table should be placed so that students can gather around the table for a close up view. The instructor can begin the lesson by reviewing the rock forming minerals and their general shade of color. Next, there should be an explanation concerning how the lesson will model how different textures and colors occur in igneous rocks.
  3. The instructor should designate a volunteer to be the chef to mix up a batch of pancake batter. The batter should be divided into two separate containers. One of the mixtures should be colored dark by adding some form of chocolate.
  4. The griddle should be pre-heated on LOW heat. Place a small amount of both batters on the cooker and allow them to cook slowly. During the cooking process be sure to have students note the gas holes and how they heal themselves.
  5. After both pancakes have cooked, they should be placed on a plate and displayed on the table with the intrusive rocks.
  6. The griddle should be turned on high. Both light and dark batters should again be placed on the cooker, but this time they will be cooked fast. Have students note how with fast cooking, the holes remain! After cooking, display these pancakes next to the intrusive rocks.
  7. Ask the students the following questions:
    • What two factors caused the fast and slow cooked pancakes to look different? (cooking rate and ingredients)
    • What causes holes to develop in pancakes? (gases escaping)
  8. At this point have students return to their seats for the assessment. As students work on the questions, the instructor should use the remaining batter to cook pancakes that could be cut into small pieces and distributed to the class as a reward for satisfactory completion of the assessment. Be sure to supply syrup and plenty of napkins or paper towels!


Directions: Answer the following questions which relates pancake formation to igneous rock formation.

  1. What word can be substituted for cooking when relating pancakes to igneous rocks? (cooling)
  2. What did the pancake batter represent? (lava or magma)
  3. What did the dark colored batter represent? (dark colored lava or magma)
  4. What did the chocolate represent? (dark colored minerals)
  5. What did the slow cooked pancakes represent? (slow cooled intrusive rocks)
  6. What did the fast cooked pancakes represent? (fast cooled extrusive rocks)
  7. What causes holes in some igneous rocks like pumice and scoria? (fast cooling with gases escaping as the lava cools into rock)
  8. Why do some igneous rocks contain the exact same minerals, but differ in looks? (cooling rates and percent of mineral composition)
  9. Name an igneous rock from the samples displayed that contains light colored minerals, but appears dark in color. (Obsidian—light can penetrate the edges of broken pieces)
  10. List other similarities you can think of between the cooking of pancakes and the cooling of igneous rocks.

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Science (2005)

Grade 6

  • Goal 3: The learner will build an understanding of the geological cycles, forces, processes, and agents which shape the lithosphere.
    • Objective 3.04: Describe the processes which form and the uses of earth materials.
      • Rock cycle.
      • Minerals.
      • Characteristics of rocks.
      • Economic use of rocks and minerals.
      • Value of gems and precious metals.
      • Common gems, minerals, precious metals and rocks found in N.C.