Saturday, November 17, 2012

Rock Show

Recently we took a field trip to a rock, gem and mineral show.  This was my first, as well as the girls' first, trip to one of these shows.  It was a lot of fun. 

We attended a class arranged for our CC group.  Each group of two or three kids was given a "rock identification kit."  The teacher told the kids to take one rock at a time and had the kids take that rock through 5-6 tests to identify what kind of rock it was.  The tests were: is it metallic? is it hard?  is it dark?  does it smell?  does it taste salty?  does it have cleavage?
To determine if the rock is hard, the kids were taught to rub it against a white tile, to see if the rock leaves streaks.  They also had a nail in each kit, which the kids could use to try to scratch the rocks.
To determine if the rock tastes salty, you rub your finger on it, then lick your finger.  Unknown Rock Number Seven tasted very salty, like a french fry.  Sabrina LOVED this and conducted this test a dozen times.
None of us could figure out how to tell if a rock had "cleavage."  The teacher tried to explain it, but was not very good at explaining things at a basic enough level for young children.

One of the unknown rocks I think was chalk, because it wrote white on colored paper.  Catherine loved that.  The orange sheet in front of Catherine shows the matrix of tests you do to identify the rock.  Each question is answered "yes" or "no," which leads to the next question.
After the identification class, we wandered around the show to all the booths.  The girls made it their goal to touch EVERY SINGLE rock they could find.
 And there were LOTS of rocks.  I mean LOTS. 
In addition to the rocks, there was also lots of jewelry.  We bought $2 grab bags of rocks for the girls, which they loved.  As soon as we got home, they played with their rock collection. 

This was a great field trip!  To be honest, I don't think my girls could name a single rock and there is certainly no way they could use the "system" they were taught to identify an unknown rock.  But, they were introduced to the fact that there is huge variety of rocks in the world and you can conduct tests on them to identify them.  Which is about as much as I know about the world of rocks!

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