Science Fun = Summer Learning (and the kids won’t even notice!)

During the summer we sometimes feel like our kids loose some the knowledge that they gained during the school year. I find myself constantly telling my kids to go read a book or work a few pages in their “thinking” workbook. But there are a few, not-so-quiet ways for kids to learn during the summer and they won’t even realize that they are finding out something new.

I designed the Mini Me Geology Rock Detectives line of kits to allow parents to give their kids a fun science kit that not only has large, nice rock and mineral specimens, but has a eBook full of information and ideas to keep your kids busy for hours, rather than in front of the television.

What is Rock Weathering?

Ah, the weather. Rain, wind, snow, ice, heat and cold all affect the nature and appearance of the Earth’s exposed rocks. Rocks and minerals that are out in the open over time will change the way they look due to the weather. The heat and cold will make the rocks expand and contract which can cause cracking and flaking.

Rock Camp was Fun!

I held my annual Rock Detectives Camp last week and it was a blast!

Geology is all around you!

Whether you know a lot about geology or just a little, you probably know that the Earth’s crust and the material below it are made up of rocks and minerals. There are hundreds of varieties of rocks and minerals and each one has its own unique history from the time it was formed to the time someone finds a specimen and adds it to their collection

A Rock Weathering Experiment You Can Do In Your Kitchen!

very day, rocks are subjected to wind, rain and other mechanical processes that cause them to breakdown into smaller pieces and different forms. This process of weathering is part of the rock cycle and causes sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rocks to break down into smaller sediments and soil-sized particles. You can learn a about rock weathering right in your own kitchen! Try this fun experiment to learn more about the mechanical weathering of rocks and post your results in the comments below.

Rock Layer Folding Experiment

lthough the land you stand on seems like it is firmly in place, it is actually moving. The Earth’s crust is divided up into pieces that are called “plates.” These plates are slowly moving around the Earth. While they are moving they sometimes bump into one another which cause the rocks on the plates to fold and push their way into mountains. All rock layers are originally created horizontally. This is a simple experiment that is great for showing the possible effects when pressure is applied to horizontal rock layers.

Metamorphic Rock Pressure & Heat Experiment

Metamorphic rocks are the rocks that were igneous or sedimentary and change either physically or chemically by heat, pressure or hot, mineral-rich water. The term metamorphic comes from the Greek words “meta” which means change and “morph” which means form. This is a great outdoor experiment for colder climates or indoors if you have a shaved ice machine. With this experiment, you can see how pressure and heat can change a rock using this this simple experiment with snow or ice chips!

The Fizz Test for Limestone & Marble Rocks

Many rocks can look alike. Sometimes telling the difference between a limestone or marble and other rocks such as shale and quartzite can be difficult. One way geologists test the rocks is by performing the acid or “Fizz” test. Calcite is the main component of limestone rocks and its varieties like oolitic limestone, fossiliferous limestone, coquina and marble. The calcite mineral is made of calcium carbonate which reacts with acid. Other varieties of calcium carbonate minerals such as aragonite and dolomite will also fizz during this test.

Ask-a-Geologist Q&A #16: What types of rocks were changed by high temperature and high pressure?

Cory wrote to us and asked: What rocks are changed by high pressure and high temperature? Metamorphic rocks are the rocks that change either physically or chemically by heat and pressure. The term metamorphic comes from the Greek words “meta” which means change and “morph” which means form. Metamorphism is a solid state change meaning that the minerals within the rock recrystallize in response to heat, pressure and the chemical reaction with hot fluids without melting the original rock.

Ask-a-Geologist #15: What notes do I take when I find rocks and minerals?

Ellie wrote to us and asked what notes she should take when she finds rocks and minerals. Geologists use fancy notebooks with waterproof paper but a simple notebook and pen will work just fine. Watch this video to find out what notes to take and how to organize your notebook for your collection.