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Entries in rocks (1)


Kitchen counter science: rocks, minerals, and crystals

That rock collection that's been taking up so much space on our nature shelf (and in drawers, and on the porch, and on the deck, etc.) is finally being put to good use, and there is much to be said for such a tactile, hands-on science subject as geology.

We studied rocks this week, with our fingers, our noses, and our eyes. We explored the scientific definitions of rock, mineral, and crystal, and the concept of the periodic table within these contexts. We grew rock candy and a salt crystal garden. We broke open a geode. We ran tests on a few mystery minerals to look at such defining characteristics as magnetism, reaction to acids, and hardness. We tried our hands at writing chemical formulas for a variety of minerals and gems.

It has been a week-long process so far, and is still underway. In fact, I suspect that we'll be exploring the subject at least until our rock candy is done growing. Most of the projects required only such things as we already had around the house, but there are a few pet materials that I'm glad we had:
A labeled rock and mineral collection (ours is by American Educational)
A good magnifying glass
Let's Go Rock Collecting, by Roma Gans
The Elements, by Theodore Gray
and a good copy of the periodic table (ours is a laminated placemat)
We also used the Young Scientists' Club Set 3, which was I was glad to have because we'd gotten for more than half off through Zulilly, but honestly it's not worth the full price.

Making rock candy and a salt crystal garden

four days later...

Taking notes and identifying minerals

Busting a geode...