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.

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