Mystery Mineral – The Rock & Mineral Challenge
Online Learning: The Rock & Mineral Challenge
This program was made possible through a grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois State Museum and was updated in 2021 with the Business Interruption Grant (BIG).
Please note the Rock & Mineral Challenge is meant to supplement a rock and mineral unit. It is our hope that teachers and parents will use the website as an additional tool in learning about rocks and minerals.The Rock & Mineral Challenge is geared for grades 3 to 5. However, it may be used by anyone or any age group in order to further enhance knowledge of rocks and minerals.
In the Mineral Identification section please note that minerals may vary in color and crystal shape. We chose minerals that are fairly consistent and common and most of which are part of the ‘Mohs Scale of Hardness’. Some items such as glass and hammers were omitted from the activity.
Hints for Testing Mineral Hardness in the Classroom:
When testing hardness for real, remember that glass and steel (nails) have varying degrees of hardness. Always hold minerals, glass, and porcelain plates firmly on a flat surface. Scratch with the grain of the stone (if visible). Although some minerals have a definite crystal shape they do not always have perfect cleavage. A hammer is used to break a part of the rock or mineral and observe the broken area for a step like pattern. However many minerals already have breaks or chips that can be observed closely to determine whether a mineral has cleavage.
Educational Programs & Resources are available through the Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art. The Museum offers group tours, teaching aid boxes, and videos. Please call 630.833.1616 or email us at the Museum to get on our mailing list and receive the annual Educational Programs brochure and the quarterly Calendar of Events.