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Types of igneous and metamorphic rocks

Examples of how rocks are used

Rocks can be used in different ways because they have varied properties. For example, some are very hard and take a long time to wear away, while others are softer but easier to carve and shape.

The photographs on this page show examples of rocks used as building materials at the National Coal Mining Museum:
  • Roof tiles: Slate makes an ideal material for tiles, as it is resistant to weathering. It also acts as an insulator, helping to keep heat inside the building below.

  • Building materials: Sandstone is found locally to the National Coal Mining Museum in Wakefield, so it has been used to construct many of the older buildings on the museum site. The sandstone steps and sandstone walls on the Winding Engine House are pictured on the right.

    - Why do you think the sandstone steps are uneven?
    - What does this tell you about sandstone?

  • Cobbles: This cobbled path is made of a stone called granite, because it is takes a long time to wear away.

Discussion ideas:

  • What properties would be most important if you were choosing material to build:
    - A roof in a cold climate?
    - A lighthouse?
    - A busy road?
    - A tiled floor in your home?

View other relevant My Learning resources or see the teachers' notes page for discussion and activity ideas. 

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