Key Idea: The loose rock material on the surface of the earth broke off from the solid rock layer (bedrock) that makes up the outer portion of the earth.

Students are expected to know that:

  1. Broken rocks form a relatively thin layer of loose rock material on the surface of the earth.
  2. Most of the loose rocks on the surface of the earth originally came from the breaking of the solid rock layer (bedrock) that makes up the outer portion of the earth. These rocks continue to break, such that large loose rocks (e.g., boulders), are broken down to even smaller rocks (e.g., sand).
Frequency of selecting a misconception

Misconception
ID Number

Student Misconception

Grades
6–8
Grades
9–12

WEM109

No loose rock material on the surface of the earth was ever part of the earth's solid rock layer (AAAS Project 2061, n.d.).

See the Original Project

WEM103

The small loose rocks on the surface of the earth were never part of the solid rock layer (AAAS Project 2061, n.d.).

See the Original Project

WEM102

The large loose rocks on the surface of the earth were never part of the solid rock layer (AAAS Project 2061, n.d.).

See the Original Project

WEM100

Very large rocks the size of boulders do not come from breaking off from earth's solid rock layer (AAAS Project 2061, n.d.).

See the Original Project

WEM099

Very large rocks the size of boulders do not come from breaking off from larger rocks (AAAS Project 2061, n.d.).

See the Original Project

WEM098

Very large rocks, such as boulders, have always been the way they are today (AAAS Project 2061, n.d.).

See the Original Project

WEM034

Large rocks (such as boulders) have always been loose rocks. They were never part of earth's solid rock layer (AAAS Project 2061, n.d.).

See the Original Project

WEM033

The rock material of sand was never part of earth's solid rock layer (AAAS Project 2061, n.d.).

See the Original Project

Frequency of selecting a misconception was calculated by dividing the total number of times a misconception was chosen by the number of times it could have been chosen, averaged over the number of students answering the questions within this particular idea.