Rocks & Building

Rocks are everywhere, and like people, strong and distinct in their bodies. Their sizes and shapes make us imagine, like when we see clouds: “This rock looks like a bird; this one moves like a rocking chair.” You can feel a rock in your palm, its weight and angles, as if you are holding music. To find a rock and explore its texture with our fingertips is like holding the creative breath of Earth. The whole Earth is made of rocks and minerals. From the smallest grains of sand to the mountains that we climb, Earth released lava, it cooled, and from it building began. Rocks are especially important, like treasures from which we can begin to erect other things. One by one, on top of and beside each other like cities and countries of sculpture, we compare them: the colors, the lines, the bows and bends in their make up. We compare the sounds as we knock them together, and how cold they become, or how hot in the sunlight. They scatter across Earth, because they are Earth.



Observe your environment:

  • Go to your park, beach, pasture, forest, meadow, or back yard.

  • Bring a magnifying glass. Look for all types of rocks in any size, color, shape, and texture.

  • Feel the rocks, and examine them by holding them up close.

  • Use a magnifying glass to identify their grooves, lines, and features.

  • Squeeze the rocks. Stack them. Look around and see if there are bigger or smaller rocks of the same make up.

  • Scatter them into the environment in which you found them and collect them once again.

You can also make rocks!

Find solid items in your home and wrap them in paper or fabric. Tape or tie them tightly.

Build with these amorphous 3D shapes--your very own rocks!

Perhaps you have Playdoh or clay. These can also be shaped into rocks. 

Day 1_1.JPG



Find rocks as if they are treasure pieces from Earth.


  • Spread out into the environment, collecting as many different types of rocks as possible.

  • Identify how some rocks are different from others.

  • Focus on the fist and the many shapes it can take on as a contour to the design of rock art.

  • Experiment with all materials in the rock formation art, arranging and rearranging them.


Touch with water, pastel drawing, paints, and collage.

  • Explain that most rocks are made of two or more minerals that hardened together, compact, solid, as one piece.

  • Imagine the core and mantle of Earth.

  • Imagine the process of how rocks are created and become structures on land.

  • Sketch color schemes and imagine constructs of lava, volcanoes, minerals, crystals, mountains, and islands.

  • Visualize how grooves, lines, curves, sizes, and shapes settled into the bodies of the rocks.

Draw what you see and imagine:

  • Create these formations and details through sketches and drawings.

  • Can you take photos of your rocks up close and also from a distance?

  • How do they look different up close versus far away?

  • You can also just place them up close and far away to see the difference in your perspective.

  • Do they look larger in one way and smaller in another? 



MINERALS – are two or more chemicals of Earth of which rocks can be made. Rocks emerge from Earth and become structures on land.



Let’s learn the sign language for Minerals.  

Minerals make up rocks.

Here is the sign for Minerals:


Let’s also  learn the sign language for Rocks.  

Here is the sign for Rocks:

Rocks are sometimes cooled pieces of lava from volcanoes. 

Remember the signs for Minerals and Rocks and share them a few times per day with your friends and family.



Touch & Investigate


  • Compare the weight of the rocks by holding different ones in each hand.

  •  Look at your collection of rocks in a mirror.

  • Line the rocks up in the house on different surfaces at different levels.

  • Create temporary designs with the rocks, exploring height and width.

  • Attempt to stack as many rocks as possible on top of each other before the structure falls.

  • Close your eyes and with your palms and fingertips survey these pieces. Open your eyes and place the pieces against your cheek.

  • Discover textures, sounds, colors, and the scale of one rock to another, or one rock to another piece of nature.

Ask and Explore:

  • From which environment were the different types of rocks found? What other pieces of nature were around those rocks? Were there many rocks of this type, or only a few?

  • What is the most unique feature of each rock?

  • Looking into each rock, can you see different colors, grains, or stripes? Where might the different minerals be within the rock, and are the different minerals visible?



Let’s learn the sign language for Building. 

Building is taking smaller pieces and putting them together to form a bigger piece.


Here is the sign for Building:

Remember the sign for Building and share it a few times per day with your friends and family. 



Touch & Investigate

  • On your paper or cardboard, use your fists as the contour to sketch shapes similar to those of rocks with bumps, curves, points, and flat areas.

  • Fill in your drawn contours with your rocks, and draw more shapes around them.

  • Draw, color, and dot the rocks’ contours as you fill them in.

  • Draw or paint the rocks, adding texture to them, imagining the colors and sizes of the different minerals.

  • Brush the rocks with water to investigate their surfaces when wet, to see new hues and raw details and the time it takes each to dry.

  • You can arrange the rocks as sculpture gardens, with accents of paper, twigs, branches, and the fire of color with paints and pastels.


Ask and Explore: 

  • If these particular rocks could become any building or structure at all, what would they become?

  • If they made sounds, based on their shapes and textures, what sounds would they make? What kind of music do the rocks sound like?

  • What inspired us to build and design with the rocks, materials and other pieces of nature as we did?


DAY FOUR: Movement

No matter how big or small, rocks are bold.

  • Stand with your feet planted firmly on the floor or ground and allow your body to take the shape of a rock.

  • Once you find its form, allow your breath and your voice to make the sound the rock would make.

  • Move from one formation of rock to the next and make the sound of the rocks transforming from one shape to the next.

  • Your rock may stand, curl up, stretch out, or bow, and its sound is a free part of your imagination.·      


Ask and Explore: 

If the rock walked, hopped, or moved, how would it do so? Find that movement.

  • Become the smallest rock you can and let your body rock slowly forward and back or side to side.

  • Use your voice to imagine and become the shape of rocks, and how rocks might be moved by wind and objects.

  • Each time, you can imagine the life of a rock in its stillness, movement, and sound.

  • Imagine yourself to be many different minerals moving around, swirling, freezing, and hardening inside of your rock.

DAY FIVE:  Music and Meditation

Music with Angus: 

Each week Angus shares with us musical ideas and musical dynamics related to our theme. This week as we explore rocks and building, Angus will explore and demonstrate the musical motions of adagio and allegro! 


Adagio and allegro are practically opposites. 


Adagio describes music that moves very slow. When we think of a stone we may think of strength and stillness, and that rocks take a very long time to form. Nature can also be dynamic and fast like allegro, particularly the type of nature that may surround a rock.  Let's listen to Angus's music build, just like our rocks, to these musical ideas. 

Adagio & AllegroAngus Davidson
00:00 / 10:18


We breathe by becoming still and calm, our legs crossed before us.

Closing our eyes, we remember all of the rocks, real and imagined.

Using our hands and arms to move with our breath, we twirl them, as we inhale from our nose or mouth.

Exhaling, also twirling our arms, we decide to make whatever sound we want, from singing to laughing, to howling, to humming, as we continue to focus on the rocks.

Here are our breaths:

We breathe as Earth cooling and becoming rock.

We breathe as a rock taking distinct form and settling onto Earth.

We breathe as each rock finds itself moved by the wind and our hands.

We breathe and remember that rocks move, through the movement of people, objects and seasons on Earth.

We breathe as we remember rocks to be thousands and millions of years old.


We can bring calm to our days and nights through listening to words and thoughts that remind of the peace within us and the vast expanse of our imagination.
Here in the As A Rock Meditation Khahtee

leads us in a meditation for thinking about the life of rocks on Earth. 

Imagine You Are A Rock Khahtee V. Turner
00:00 / 05:28


Artists use many different materials to make sculptures.

Often sculptors will use elements from nature to create their art pieces.


Have you ever heard of the sculptural artist Pinuccio Sciola?


As a sculptural artist, Pinuccio believes in making music from the rocks and stones through which he builds his art. He believes in releasing the music from his stones. For Pinuccio, rocks have voices that sing, and we can find those voices. Limestone is a type of rock, and his limestone sculptures, for example, sound like liquid when they are played, because limestone is just water that has turned into a fossil! Here is are some of his videos with his big rock formations as sculptures and the music that he makes from them. 







Stonehenge in the Evening.jpg
Stonehenge from above.jpg

Have you ever heard of Stonehenge?

Over 5000 years ago an incredible project of stone sculpture and installation called Stonehenge took place on Earth in England’s Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire. People, our ancestors who lived thousands of years ago, made this huge circle of standing stones.

Stonehenge is a place where tens of thousands of people go each year to visit and try to understand the mystery of how the rock structures were organized and made. The mystery of the stones is as big as the stones at Stonehenge themselves! 

The full shape, weight, and height of these massive stones make it very difficult for us to know how humans many thousands of years ago were ever able to arrange them without construction equipment. Most of the stones were heavier than an elephant! And Stonehenge was not just a project that took many years to build until completion; it took about 1000 years to complete altogether.

Can you imagine different people working together for over a 1000 years on the same project?

People hypothesize that the stones were used as a calendar, as a healing place, or as a type of ancient computer.


The sunshine does land on the stones in very specific places during the day, weeks, months, and years; allowing people to tell time, feel better in the sunlight, or use the sun to guide them to answers. 

Stonehenge is made up of larger stones in a circle surrounding smaller stone circles inside!


See more about the history and creativity that went into making Stonehenge:

Can you imagine what it might be like to visit Stonehenge and run upon the grass and around these massive stones? Can you draw or build your own Stonehenge inspired design? What is it for and how do people use it?  Where is it on Earth? 



We’d love to know how you are creating and playing related to rocks and building. If you’d like to share your ideas, projects, and creative work with Studio and your class, you can send your teachers a photo of something that you did, made, or displayed. Each week we will put together a mosaic to share with your class and our Studio community with all shared pieces included.  



Here is the sign for Gratitude!

Having gratitude is looking at our life--the people, our environment, our experiences--and being thankful for that which brings us happiness, joy, and growth.

  •  What are some of the parts of your days that give you the most happiness? 

  • Is there a place in nature in which you feel especially happy and a sense of freedom? By water, under a tree, running freely in a plain under the clouds? What gratitude do you have for this special environment?

  • Is there someone in your family or a friend for whom you hold a special amount of gratitude? Why are you so thankful for this person in your life? 

Gratitude is a practice of being able to focus on the best of our lives, which allows us to feel happier altogether and be more creative.

Portrait Indian family at home. Grandpar