Teacher’s Questions for Balancing Rocks Feature


Before reading:

  1. Have you ever been outside and seen a rock balancing and wondered how it got there and how long it had been standing still? How do you think rocks get into a balanced position and stay there?

During reading:

  1. How big are some of the balanced rocks that the scientists in the story are studying?
  2. What would small, balanced rocks in an area tell you about the earthquake activity of the region?
  3. Explain how balanced rocks help engineers construct bridges and dams.
  4. Describe how scientists think the balanced rocks atop the marshmallow stack in the Mojave Desert got there.
  5. How old are the balanced rocks atop the marshmallow stacks? How do scientists know this? Describe one method for dating the rocks.
  6. Compared with other landscapes, do deserts change a lot or a little? Explain why.
  7. How can scientists tell how hard it is to topple a balanced rock without actually toppling the rock?

After reading:

1.  Explain who, besides earthquake researchers, can benefit from the knowledge gained by studying balanced rocks. (Hint: What will it tell community and road planners?)


1. If a developer buys land where there are rocks that have been balanced for a very long time, do you think it’s OK to topple the rocks to make way for construction? Explain why.