Use these cool new tools to discover the name of your mineral!

Accessories Kit Blog Image_August 21 2016

As someone who loves rocks and minerals, finding a new sample is super exciting. Geologists use some very basic tools to help them determine the name of a rock or a mineral. Identifying a sample starts with discovering the names of the mineral or minerals, in the case of rocks.

The tests that geologist use for minerals include:

Examination: Use a hand magnifier to determine luster, cleavage, shape and color of a sample. A rock hammer is sometimes helpful in determining cleavage and color if you don’t mind breaking your sample.

Hardness: Use the Mohs Hardness Scale, old pre-1982 pennies, paper clips, glass plates, and your own fingernail to determine the hardness of your sample.

Streak: Use white and black streak plates to determine the streak color (the color of a mineral powder) to help make an identification.

Fizz Test: Use fresh lemon juice or vinegar on a fresh surface of your sample. Hydrochloric acid is the most common acid used by geologist but it is not easy to purchase and lemon juice and vinegar are a better choice for children. Since lemon juice and vinegar are a weaker acid, use a paper clip to scratch the surface of the sample to removed any weathered outer layer. The lemon juice or vinegar will react best on a fresh sample area. Remember, if your sample fizzes, it is made of calcite!

Mini Me Geology’s new Rock and Mineral Testing Kit has everything you need to get started with identifying your samples.

Each Kit Includes:

      • Mini Me Geology Hand Lens with 3x and 6x magnification helps you see your samples closely,
      • Pre-1982 age penny,
      • Large metal paperclip,
      • Glass plate,
      • White streak plate,
      • Black streak plate,
      • Information cards that teach you about the Mohs Hardness Scale and how to perform each test. These cards include instructions for hardness testing, explain how to perform the streak test and how to focus your new hand lens so you can see the details of your rocks and minerals.

As you gather your data from testing each sample, a flow chart is a helpful tool to find the final identity. Mini Me Geology has free basic identification flow charts that you can download and print. For advanced studies, we also offer identification posters which explain the properties 10 of the most popular minerals. We also have posters for igneous rocks, sedimentary rocks, and metamorphic rocks.

If you need help testing your samples, you can always contact us and our geologist will help you!

Our Newest Mineral Kit: Mineral Observation, Hardness & Streak Testing Kit

Hardness Kit Key Image_textWe are thrilled to introduce our latest mineral kit, the Mineral Observation, Hardness and Streak Testing Kit. This new kit will teach your kids to make scientific observations, test the hardness of minerals using the Mohs Scale and the using streak plates, and compare the properties of the samples in the kit. The kit includes eight mineral samples from the Mohs Hardness Scale: talc, gypsum, calcite, fluorite, apatite, feldspar, quartz and corundum. You also receive a hand magnifier, white streak plate, black streak plate and information cards with details on each mineral sample and instructions on how to perform the tests.

Mineral Observation
The hand lens with 3x and 6x magnification helps you see the samples closely while you explore the world of minerals. To examine the minerals, look through the larger, 3X, area of the hand lens first.  This section magnifies the sample to a size three times larger than actual. If you want to see part of the sample even more closely, use the smaller, 6X, area which magnifies the sample to six times its actual size.

Mineral Hardness
Mineral hardness an important key in the identity of a sample. Friedrich Mohs
, a German geologist, developed the Hardness Scale in 1812. The Mohs scale is a relative scale which lists the hardness of 10 common minerals. Talc, #1 on the scale is the softest and diamond, #10, is the hardest. Other common household item have also been assigned to the hardness scale such as glass, fingernail and  penny. The information cards in the kit include a copy of the Mohs Hardness Scale and instructions on how to use the minerals and household items to determine the hardness of each sample. Hint: each sample has a different hardness.

Mineral Streak
Mineral streak is the color of the sample in powdered form. Usually, you use a white streak plate for dark minerals and a black streak plate for light colored minerals. As you scratch the mineral across the plate, a small portion will break apart and form a powder on the surface of the plate. This powder color is the streak. Often, the streak is the same color as the mineral; however sometimes the streak color is different than the outward appearance of the mineral which is a great clue to the mineral’s identity.

Need Help?
The mineral samples are not identified when you receive the kit because we want you to use the hardness and streak test to help you determine the identity of each sample. If you need help, the image shown above identifies each sample. The samples in your kit should look very similar. As always, if you have additional questions about using the Mohs hardness scale or the streak plates, please contact us and we are happy to help.

Moooom, I’m Soooo Booooooored!

Rock DetectivesHave you heard it yet? “Moooooom, I’m Soooooo Booooooored!” It doesn’t take long for kids to get bored once school is out. Keep them busy and save summer boredom with the Rock Detectives kits! Each kit has hours of activities and fun to keep your kids busy all summer long. They will even learn something, but you do not have to tell them that.

We have six Rock Detectives kits to occupy your kids this summer. They are:

  • Mineral Mission
  • Crystal Experiments
  • Crystal Geometry
  • Igneous Investigation
  • Metamorphic Mystery
  • Sedimentary Sleuthing

Each kit has a theme and will teach your kids about a different type of rock or about the unique properties of minerals. Every kit has 6 or 7 Large Mineral or Rock Samples and a Mini Me Geology custom Hand Lens with 3X and 6X magnifications.

The best part of each kit is the 30 page, full color E-book on CD. The printable E-book includes:

  • rock and mineral information
  • sample identification activities
  • word puzzles and mazes
  • coloring pages
  • experiments
  • an adventure story writing exercise for your geology detective
  • activities including making a personal geologist’s field notebook and your very own rock collection box

Whew! That’s a lot of fun!

You can preview the E-books for all of our kits by clicking here. Questions? Just email us and we will help you with anything you want to know about the kits. Happy Summer!


Introducing Our Newest Addition to the Mineral Family: Carnelian

Carnelian w Text LongWe are excited to announce that we have a new member of the Mini Me Geology mineral family and its name is Carnelian. Carnelian is a brownish red to orange variety of the mineral Chalcedony (which is a form of quartz). The color of the stone can vary within each sample from pale yellow and orange to darker orange and reddish brown in different areas.

Carnelian is a popular gemstone for jewelry and collecting. Carnelian has a hardness of 6.5 to 7, no cleavage, a white streak and a waxy to resinous luster. Visit Mini Me Geology today and get your own sample of Carnelian.

Today is National Let’s Laugh Day!

Today is National Let’s Laugh Day! In the spirit of all things funny, here is some of our favorite geology humor.


Top 10 Signs You Might Be A Geologist: #10  You have ever had to respond “yes” to the question, “What have you got in here, rocks?”

Top 10 Signs You Might Be A Geologist: #9  You have taken a 22-passenger van over “roads” really intended only for cattle!

Top 10 Signs You Might Be A Geologist: #8  You have had to explain to airport security that a rock hammer isn’t really a weapon.

Top 10 Signs You Might Be A Geologist: #7  Your rock garden is located inside your house.

Top 10 Signs You Might Be A Geologist: #6  You have ever hung a picture using a Brunton & your rock hammer.

Top 10 Signs You Might Be A Geologist: #5  Your collection of beer cans & bottles rivals the size of your rock collection.

Top 10 Signs You Might Be A Geologist: #4  You think a “recent event” is anything that has happened in the last 100,000 yrs.

Top 10 Signs You Might Be A Geologist: #3 Your photos include people only for scale & you have more pictures of your rock hammer & lens cap than of your family.

Top Ten Signs You Might Be A Geologist: #2 You have been on a field trip that included scheduled stops at a gravel pit and a liquor store.

Top Ten Signs You Might Be A Geologist: #1 You have ever uttered the phrase “have you tried licking it” with no sexual connotations involved.


Happy Birthday Friedrich Mohs!

Today is German Geologist Friedrich Mohs’ 242nd Birthday! He developed the Mohs Hardness Scale for minerals during this career. Still today, we use mineral hardness as a clue to the identity of a sample.  Click here to learn more about the Mohs Hardness Scale for minerals and how it is important to geologists today.

In celebration of Mr. Mohs’ birthday, all of our mineral kits and select samples from the Mohs Hardness Scale are 20% today through Sunday! Click here to shop our Mohs Birthday Sale!

Petrified Wood has arrived!

Mini Me Geology is excited to announce the newest addition to our family of rocks, minerals and fossils:  PETRIFIED WOOD!

Petrified wood is a fossil that forms when sediment buries and protects plant material from decay. Groundwater rich in dissolved solids such as silica and calcium carbonate flows through the sediment and replaces the original plant material. The mineral-rich water replaces the plant material with quartz (silica), calcite, pyrite or opal among others. The result is a fossil of the original plant material. Because the plant material is replaced, the fossil often preserves details of the bark, wood and cellular structures.

Our petrified wood samples are introductory priced at $3.00 through January 25, 2015 so grab your samples today!

Use a Rock and Mineral Kit to Teach Your Kids about Science

Rock and mineral kits are not only a fun toy for kids to have, they are a great learning tool. Here is how to use your rock and mineral kit and family time together to help your child have fun with science.

  1. Provide children with simple rock and minerals kits that you can use together. Choose products geared toward their age group to keep their interest. Working with the kit together allows you time to show your kids why you think science is important and fun.
  2. Help your kids love science by looking for rock & mineral kits that will coordinate with school science projects and topics.
  3. Make learning science fun by showing children how science relates to their daily activities such as baking or the weather. You can show them how rocks are used to make counter tops, landscape materials and building tiles among others.
  4. Talk with children on their level about science both at home and on outings, such as a trip to the beach, museum or park.
  5. Give children plenty of time to explore the world and ask questions to encourage their curiosity.
  6. Show your children the importance of science by caring for a garden, feeding the birds, collecting interesting rocks and recycling.
  7. Observe your children to see what they are most interested in and expand on this by providing them more opportunities to learn.
  8. Play a game with your kids on a nature walk.  See how many varieties of rocks, minerals, plants and animals you can find and identify.
  9. Collect or draw a picture of the items you find and research more about them at home.
  10. Instill a sense of wonder in your children by showing them your own fascination with science and the world.Mini Me Geology has many rock and mineral kits for kids of different ages and interests. If you have questions about our kits or how to use them, contact us.


Every Kid Needs a Rock Kit

That’s right, I believe that every kid needs a rock kit. Why? For so many reasons. Here are just a few:

  1. Science is a part of our daily life from cooking, playing ball, growing a garden, technology & watching a rain storm. Kids need to enjoy science even if they don’t become a scientist for their career, it is important to enjoy the subject. Rock kits get kids excited about science.
  2. Understanding science helps kids appreciate and relate to the world around them.
  3. Science education teaches children more than just geology, biology, or physics. They learn to make observations, collect data, think on their own and draw conclusions.
  4. Without science we would not be able to predict the weather, earthquakes, cure illness or make products that enhance our lifestyles today. We need more scientists.
  5. Kids are naturally curious. Science education fuels that curiosity and provides kids with valuable ideas, skills, & potential future career choices.
  6. Science education gives kids the opportunity to experiment and work in teams increasing communication, research, reporting, and collaboration skills.
  7. Kids who have an understanding of science are more receptive to future technologies and ideas that can stimulate research and development.
  8. Geology education teaches kids about earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, and tsunamis giving them knowledge that can protect their health & safety.
  9. Kids who know rocks and minerals can have many careers such as gardening, groundwater recovery, pollution control and jewelry making.
  10. Rock kits help to engage children with a hands-on introduction to science when they are at a naturally curious age. Since you can keep your rock kit forever, kids can come back again and again to find new details about their rocks.

Video Review: Help, I Have to Teach Rock and Mineral Identification and I’m Not a Geologist

Do you teach geology in a classroom or to your kids at home? This new book can help you explain the differences between rocks and minerals and how to identify each type. This short video gives you the details about the content of the book and how you can use it with your students.