Hilton Primary School

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Hilton Primary School

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English Activities

The Pebble in my Pocket is a non-fiction book which follows the journey of a single pebble from its formation 480 million years ago. It tells us the history of the earth and explains the geological processes that form rocks and the process of erosion that creates new pebbles all over the world.

This book is a long book which is packed with information and new words for us to learn. We won't be reading it in one go, we will be reading a few pages and making sure we understand all the information before we read the next section.

Before we start reading, pop out into your garden or go for a walk with an adult. See if you can find a pebble.  A pebble is a tiny rock that will easily fit in your pocket - please don't make your adult carry a giant boulder home for you!


Decorate your pebble with some eyes and a mouth.  You could use felt tips or googly eyes if you have any.

If this pebble could talk, what do you think it would say?

Where do you think it has been before it ended up in your house? 

How old do you think the pebble might be?  

Where do you think pebbles come from?

Now we will start to read The Pebble in my Pocket. 

The first pages tell us about what the earth was like 480 million years ago. It sounds like a dangerous place!

The surface of the earth was covered in volcanoes, exploding and filling the air with poisonous gases and shooting red-hot glowing lava into the air.

The book tells us that nothing is living on this land.

Talk to your helper - why is nothing living on this land?

When we write a sentence, we use different types of words. One of the groups of words we use is called verbs.  A verb is the word or words in a sentence that tells you what the person or thing is doing.

Look at this sentence from our book:

The ground shakes.

What is the ground doing?

It is shaking. In this sentence the verb is shakes.

Talk to your helper. Can you work together to find the verbs in these sentences from our book?


Gas hisses from the top of the volcano.

Columns of purple ash shoot into the sky.

Glowing fragments hurl through the air.

The lava cools.

The seas swarm with living things.


Sometimes the verb is more than one word but it is still the part of the sentence that tells you what the thing in the sentence is doing.

Look at this sentence with your helper. Can you see that the verb in this sentence is more than one word?


Nothing is living on this land.


Talk to your helper. Can you work together to find the verbs in these sentences from our book? This time the verb is more than one word.


Everything on this piece of earth is rising.

Two great landmasses are colliding.

Now some things are living on the land.


Sometimes the verb can be harder to find because the words is and are are also verbs. This time the thing in the sentence is being something, that is what they thing in the sentence is doing!

Look at the verb in this sentence.


The pebble in my pocket is round and smooth and brown.


Now work with your helper to find the verbs in these sentences.


The molten rock is nine times hotter than boiling water.

The rocks covering the earth are cold and hard.

Everything is still.

It is 480 million years ago.


Now you can play the verb game with your helper.

  1. You will need to write some verbs onto separate pieces of paper and put them into a bag. You can use the ones below or you can think of some of your own. Some of them are verbs from our book.
  2. Now the person who is going first will need to choose a verb from the bag. Keep it secret from your partner!
  3. Next you need to act out the verb on your card. You can't say anything, you have to mime!
  4. Can your partner guess your verb?


creeping rising pushing
bouncing dancing crawling
sinking slithering shaking


In this book we will be meeting some new scientific vocabulary. To help us to remember and understand these new words, we will be making a glossary to share in class. If you are working at home, start a list on a piece of paper  and your helper can help you to find out what each word means.

So far we will have these words on our list. How many do you already know?

  • volcano
  • molten
  • mantle
  • lava
  • crumple
  • expand

Next we will be learning about The Rock Cycle by reading the pages about how everything on the earth is slowly being broken down into smaller and smaller pieces. This process is called erosion.

This would be a good word to add to your glossary.


Erosion happens in different ways. Read this extract from our book with your helper. It explains one of the ways that water works to cause erosion.

Every winter snow falls. Every summer the snow melts and the sun shines on the rocks. Heat makes the rocks expand. Cold makes them shrink. They expand and shrink, expand and shrink, expand and shrink. Then they crack.


Water seeps into the cracks in the rocks. On cold nights the water freezes. Clear crystals of ice push inside the cracks, wedging pieces of rock slowly apart. Rain falls on the mountains and runs down the rocks.


Everything on the surface of the earth is slowly being eroded and broken down into smaller and smaller pieces. Boulders powder into streaks of mud. Cliffs crumble to grains of sand. The tops of mountains disintegrate into pebbles. It has always happened. It will always happen. It is happening now. All that is needed is time. And the weather.


When the rocks have been broken into smaller pieces, they are carried along by rivers and glaciers, banging and crashing into each other and breaking into smaller and smaller pieces. Eventually these small pieces reach the sea. 

On the beach the gaps between the pieces are filled with tiny fragments called sand. It take a long time, but eventually these layers of small rock pieces and sand are squashed together to make new rocks.

When you are writing about a process like erosion, it is really important to present the information in the correct order so your reader can understand it.

Ask your helper to write down these statements on strips of paper.

Can you put the statements in the correct order to explain how the rain and the changes in temperature between the winter and the summer break rocks into tiny pieces?

You should draw and label the diagrams to help to explain the process to your reader.

Shrinking and expanding makes the rocks crack.

In winter, the water trapped in the cracks in the rocks freezes.

Ice crystals grow and slowly push the pieces of rock apart.

In winter, the cold weather makes the rocks shrink.

Rain falls onto rocks and seeps into the cracks.

In summer the sun shines on the rocks and makes them expand, or get bigger.


Now we will take a look at our other book, A Rock is Lively.


Rocks are made of a mix of ingredients called minerals. They can be beautiful colours and interesting shapes.

We will be looking at some rocks in school and thinking about the colours and shapes that we can see.


If you don't have any rocks to look at at home, you could use these photos of rocks.

When you look at them, think about words you could use to describe the rock.

Is it shiny or dull? Is it smooth or rough? What colour is it? Can you find a really exciting way to describe the colour?

We will finish our week by writing a description of an interesting rock.

You need to write some sentences to talk about how your rock feels when you touch it.

Write about the colours you can see.

Write about whether it is hard or soft and the shape of your rock.