Friday, February 8, 2013

Mineral Madness

Learning about Luster: Dull, Glassy, Metallic
What's the difference between a mineral and a rock?  Not sure? Well, the fourth grade students learned first hand what tests are used to tell the difference!


Thanks to our generous PAC, we were treated to an excellent in-house field trip by Natural DiscoveriesPete Money, owner and presenter, engaged the students with humor, mineral samples, a video-microscope and 3D visuals.

Mineral Samples

Properties geologists use to determine the mineral type include the following: hardness, density, color, luster, and some other secret properties.  Each of these properties were discussed.  Examples were given and students had the chance to participate in these scientific investigations.

The first test included 4 samples (a brick, a piece of coral, a rock & a piece of quartz).  The group used the definition of a mineral to determine if any of those are minerals. 


A mineral is:
  • a solid
  • made by nature
  • never alive
  • has same elements inside

 Another test found a student checking the color of the mineral using a "streak test".  A mineral's color can be determined by the color of the residue left behind.  Taking the mineral sample and dragging it across a piece of rough tile will show the chemical color of the sample. This was done UNDER the microscope which was then projected onto a video screen for all to see. It showed that although Quartz comes in many colors all the 'streaks' come across as white.

Examining Mica!
Along with learning a mineral's properties, students learned how certain minerals are used in many of our everyday items.  Feldspar, for example is used the making of porcelain and china.  Quartz is used in computers and graphite is used in pencils.  Through the use of the above visual students had a great understanding of the uses of minerals today.

This presentation was a great way to get kids excited about Earth Science.  Pete said that the best thing about rocks and minerals is that you can find them right outside your door! Don't be surprised if your budding geologists starting bringing home samples!


 

26 comments:

  1. Your students are so lucky!
    Vince

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. I will say that this program was found and paid for by the Parent Advisory Council. The parents in our school are wonderful as they provide many opportunities for the students. It is through their hard work and efforts that these types of programs are available to us.

      Delete
  2. That was so fun i had a good time it was weird switching classes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I forgot to mention that we were the 'class on the move' so Mr. Money could set up in one class and stay there. It was kind of fun going from room to room to room. The kids all did a great job bringing all your belongings. We might have to try that again sometime! Enjoy your snowy weekend!

      Delete
    2. It was so fun learning about rocks and minerals.It was also fun switching classes.I also loved touching the box turtle and the horseshew crab.

      Delete
  3. I like the new look to your blog!

    ReplyDelete
  4. That day was very confusing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maggie,
      Which part of the day was confusing? The switching classrooms portion or the presentation of minerals? Curious to find out.

      Delete
  5. I thought that the presentation was really cool and interesting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mr. Money had the right amount of information and humor mixed in. I loved his visuals.

      Delete
  6. I liked when he shined the light on the mineral and it changed color

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That really was amazing - seeing the red and green shine was a big surprise. I wish I could remember which minerals those were - I'll have to write to Mr. Money and ask him.

      Delete
    2. i think that rock was pretty cool it mite be used in glow in the dark paint

      Delete
  7. I like moving from class to class and I learned a lot about minerals.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Moving from class to class was good - we really had to be organized. I thought we managed well.

      Delete
  8. That rocks and minerals presentation was awesome! I never knew they use the type of mineral kaolinite in a hershey bar.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't realize that either Zach. I thought chocolate could thicken up on its own but that mineral seems to help. Glad you enjoyed the presentation.

      Delete
  9. I loved the presentation because Mr.Money made it funny, while we were learning!
    I really hope we can do something like this again!
    (I also liked switching classes all day!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maddie,
      He was rather funny wasn't he? He made all kinds of facial expressions along with his jokes. They all related to the minerals somehow!

      Glad you liked the switching of classes too. Nice for a change!

      Delete
  10. I liked the presentation because it was fun to learn about rocks and minerals and how minerals are used in so many of the things we use today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Meagan,
      I think that is what is most fascinating about minerals - they are used in our everyday items. Where would we be without minerals?

      I thought is was great watching you do the 'streak' test under the microscope. Fun!

      Delete
  11. I'm really bummed that I wasn't there. I'm sure it was awesome! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sad you weren't there too because I know this is something that you would love! Perhaps he'll come back for something else.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Delete
  12. I liked the way you organized the blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Vidyut. I really try to plan how I'm going to write it and add pictures - it takes me a little while to figure it out.

      Delete
  13. Learning about rocks and minerals was so fun i learned so many things! It was awesome to touch the box turtle and horseshoe crab. Mr. Money was really funny that was a great activity.

    ReplyDelete

Please feel free to leave us a comment!