Saturday, August 4, 2012

Rocks & Minerals – mineral identification & rock hunting

We continued with our rock & mineral unit this week by doing a more thorough mineral identification than we were able to do at Cloverbuds and discussing rock collecting and classification. 

We started by using our rock and mineral kit to identify the first 6 minerals.   We did the same tests we did at Cloverbuds but we were able to discuss the results more and test all 6 of the minerals.  Georgie figured out quartz before we even started.  Quartz seems to be his favorite mineral for some reason.  I think he likes the smooth edges.  Vicki loved pulling pieces off the muscovite mica and I finally had to save it from her before there was nothing left.


We made notes about the appearance of each mineral, the hardness and any special characteristics.  We used the magnetic fishing pole from one of our puzzles to check if any of the minerals were magnetic and it worked much better than the small magnets in our test kit.  Only one, magnetite, was magnetic and that led to a discussion about the large pieces of magnetite we saw at the mineral museum.


We then went through the mineral key and used it to identify our minerals.  

After we identified our minerals, we moved on to the rock labs – A Closer Look and Rocks Can Be Grouped.  I pulled out the rocks we collected at the mineral museum dump-site for these labs since it was WAY too hot out to go hiking for rocks.

First we decorated egg cartons to hold their rock collections, using glue, jewels, stickers and paint.


Georgie finished before Vicki since she still LOVES glue and painting, so him and I sat down on the couch to read Let’s Go Rock Collecting out loud.  He read the first few pages on his own then, when he started getting tired, we alternated pages with him reading the ones on his side and me reading the ones on my side.   He had not trouble reading any of the words but does have a tendency to mumble and race through reading, something we’ll need to work on.

Georgie picked out one rock from the collection (a small smooth sided, sharp edged, grey rock that resembled a quartz crystal in shape) to take a closer look at.  He filled in the lab sheet all by himself (!) describing his rock as light, smooth, dull, jagged, solid and gray.  He drew a picture of his rock, weighed it using our spring scale (it was almost too small to register) and measuring it with a ruler.  He guessed that his rock was igneous, which I’m pretty sure is correct but we will explore that more in the upcoming labs.


Vicki spent the whole time we worked on the lab piling the rocks in the scale and watching the indicator swing around.

We finished up by classifying the rocks in different ways, including by size, by color, by texture and by mineral size.

Next we will be learning about the Rock Cycle.

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