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Rock Day

Social Studies Lesson
for Rock Day

The students will locate Mt. Rushmore on a map and be exposed to the history of the monument.


  • A link to the following site http://www.travelsd.com/parks/rushmore/index.htm

  • A book, if available, about Mt. Rushmore, such as Curious George and the Hot Air Balloon by Margaret Rey (for younger students) or Mount Rushmore (Building America) by Craig A. Doherty (for older students).

  • A map of the United States.


  1. Discuss with the students how mountains are formed from rock.  The amount of depth will depend on the age of the students.  If appropriate discuss plate tectonics and how the earth's plates have pushed against one another forming the mountains.

  2. Introduce the students to one of the famous landmarks in the United States, Mt. Rushmore.  Read the chosen book and/or view the above mentioned web site with the the students. Allow them to see pictures of the carvings, etc.  Discuss the history and the creation of the monument.

  3. Display a map of the United States. Have the students locate South Dakota on the map.  Where is South Dakota in relation to the students' home?  North, South, East, or West?  How would the students travel to South Dakota?

  4. If time allows, continue the lesson with locating other mountains on the map.  Allow each pair of students to pick one of the mountains from the Mountains Worksheet (have the paper cut up and the pieces placed in a container) and locate its home state on the map.  The following link may be helpful if more mountains are needed http://www.americasroof.com/usa.shtml. 

Other Lesson Ideas

  1. Conduct a similar lesson to the above one on the Grand Canyon.  The following link may be helpful http://encarta.msn.com/find/Concise.asp?z=1&pg=2&ti=761560790.

  2. Locate other famous monuments which are made of rock.  For example, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and El Morro (Inscription Rock).  Use the following link to help with finding other monuments made of rock http://www.nps.gov/.

  3. Have a lesson on how many early tools were made of rock, such as arrowheads.

  4. Have a local geologist come in and speak about his/her job.


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