On-line Learning: The Rock & Mineral Challenge
The Museum offers an on-line learning experience for scouts and parents with the Rock & Mineral Challenge.
This program was made possible through a grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois State Museum.
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.
It is helpful to maximize the viewing area on the computer screen to see all of the text.
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.
Teaching Aid Boxes
Teaching aid boxes are available for loan to schools and organized groups at no charge. Each box can be loaned for a maximum of two weeks. Recommended for grades 3 through 6. Call the Museum at 630.833.1616 during Museum hours or email: firstname.lastname@example.org for box availability.
B1 Quartz Family Box
Quartz is the most common mineral in the world. It comprises over 75% of the earth’s crust. This box heightens students’ awareness of the varieties of quartz. It shows the difference between common quartzite and gem quality agate, jasper, amethyst, and aventurine. Contains hands on specimens, teacher’s guide and activity sheet. Weight: 28 lbs. Recommended for grades 3 to 6.
B2 Rock & Mineral Box
This box helps students distinguish between the three types of rock (igneous, metamorphic, sedimentary) and various common minerals. It includes the Mohs scale of hardness as an introduction to identification. The box contains loose specimens for further identification, teacher’s guide and activity sheet. Weight 23 lbs.
Recommended for grades 3 to 6.
B3 Rocks & Minerals of Illinois
This box contains samples of important rocks, minerals and fossils found in Illinois. Basic Illinois geology is discussed. Illinois is home to some important rocks and minerals used in industry. A section focuses on industrial rocks and minerals. Fossil Facts allow children to learn more about fossils found in Illinois. The box includes hands-on specimens for identification, teacher’s guide, vocabulary and activities. Weight 25 lbs. Recommended for grades 3 to 6.
B4: ISGS Rock Collection
This box contains 35 specimens of rocks and minerals found in Illinois and numbered flashcards with names and descriptions. A Good resource for advanced identification activities. Weight 10 lbs. Recommended for grades 6-12.
B5: Fossils Through Time
Offers a visualization of geologic time with real fossils that existed throughout Earth history. It describes the processes necessary for fossil formation and preservation. Includes: hands-on specimens for identification, teacher’s guide, vocabulary and activities. Weight 28 lbs.
Recommended for grades 3-6
Visit Nico the Ninja’s hideout to explore fun activities and learn about energy topics from electrical safety to energy savings!
The American Geological Institute strives to increase public awareness of the vital role the geosciences play in mankind’s use of resources and interaction with the environment. The AGI produces the book Minerals Foundations of Society a great resource for learning how we use minerals in our everyday lives.
U.S. Geological Survey has a website dedicated to K-12 education and lifelong learning. The website includes lesson plans for teachers, georesources and educational materials.
The Illinois State Geological Survey offers information on Illinois geology including teaching materials and field trips.
The Illinois State Museum website “exhibits” section has information on Ice Ages, Mazon Creek fossils and the geology of the Midwest 16,000 years ago.
The Planetary Studies Foundation located in Algonquin, Illinois is dedicated to the study of meteorites and astronomy. PSF offers educational programs and observatory tours for children.
Children’s Museum of Indianapolis has a section of their website dedicated to dinosaurs with various activities available.
The Rogers Group an Indiana crushed rock producer offers a look at quarry mining and includes information on minerals and experiments to try at home. Click on “Industry Resources,” then explore “rockology.”
PBS: NOVA has a website on volcanoes of Hawaii see how they were formed and how geologists monitor them.