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The Badger Lapidary & Geological Society
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.: Kid's Stuff

Junior Rockhounds

Kids love rocks, fossils, minerals, and crystals. They love dinosaurs and extinct creatures too. Most children just seem to have a natural love for rock hounding. They delight in spotting an unusual specimen unearthed during play. They’ll proudly tell you about the crystal or fossil they found themselves. This natural love makes the perfect inspiration for real learning. That is why kids should be encouraged and be more involved in rock clubs. Many rock clubs do have a "Jr. Rockhounds" section. But even if there are no clubs to join, this web page can help a child get started in becoming a rockhound and learning about Earth sciences. Parents may even learn along the way.

Hunting for rocks can be a lot of fun. Nothing beats the excitement of discovering rare minerals or shiny crystals with your own eyes. All you really need to become a rockhound is a pair of sharp eyes and a bit of patience. It also helps a lot if you plan your trips in advance: if you know where to look and what to look for, your hunts will be much more successful.

Before you start hunting for rocks, it is important to think about safety first. You don't need any special gear to start learning about rocks and fossils, but safety equipment and tools may be useful. if you go hunting for rocks and fossils, take to following safety precautions: Wear highly visible clothing and make sure an adult accompanies you; don't climb cliffs or enter working quarries, and avoid the base or cliffs after storms.

Some supplies you will need when you start collecting rocks are: A bag for collecting rocks; Water; Dishpan; Scrub brush; Magnifying glass.

When you start finding rocks, don't worry about them being dirty when you place them in your collecting bag. When you get home, you can clean the rocks in a dishpan full of water using a scrubbing brush. After they dry, you can inspect the rocks with a magnifying glass to see individual grains or crystals that make up the rock. You will find that some rocks are not that special, while others are ones that you want to start your collection with.

For most rockhounds, building a collection is the most important part of their hobby. A collection grows better and better over time, and the best specimens can be arranged to make a spectacular display. You can collect rocks, fossils, or minerals, but most people specialize in either fossils or minerals. Whatever you collect, it's important to label all your specimens and keep a careful record of everything you know about them.

To organize and label collection, first assemble your collection. Next you want to label your specimen. People usually put a small dab of white-out on the bottom of the specimen and write a unique number on the spot. For each specimen you label, you then fill out an index card with the same unique number. On the numbered index card, write down all the details about that specimen. If you know the name of your specimen, you can write the name on the card as well. Some people prepare a second index card with the name on top and the number below, and keep these index cards in a separate file. That way, you can look up your specimens by either a number or a name. If you are really ambitious, you can enter this information into a database such as Microsoft Excel.

After you have labeled and record information for your specimens, you then each specimen in a small card tray or specimen box. You can even create your own using a template that you could trace onto some card stock, cut along the cut lines, fold along the fold lines, and tape the corners. On the bottom of each specimen box or tray, you should place tissue paper or cotton to protect delicate specimens. You can arrange the specimen boxes in a drawer or larger box to display and or store them.

.: Geology Resources for Kids

There is a lot of information available in books and on the internet, that is written specifically for kids. You just need to look for it. Here are some good Internet resources:

 

Kidsgeo has five great chapters for kids to read and learn. This site has interactive geology-related games and links to other sciences.

Geology.com - geology for kids has a list of geology news stories and events written for school-aged kids from grade school through high school.

Science Kids is a very complete website to teach kids about the different sciences. The link is straight to the Geology section of the website, where you will find facts, lessons, game, quizzes, images, videos, and experiments related to geology.

Kids.gov has a good section on Earth Science - Geology. the site includes link to other government geology-related sites, as well as museums and schools.

OED - Geology for Kids has many links to online educational resources

Geography4kids has some good information about the structure of the earth and the atmosphere.

Fossil-facts-and-finds has information about starting and maintaining a rock club for kids and/or students.

Wartgames.com has some really interesting online games for kids. These game are fun and educational.

Kidipede - Geology for Kids has some information about plate tectonics, volcanoes, earthquakes, the earth's core, and geological eras. The site also has links to videos, games, teaching guides, and science fair projects.

Forensicaccounting.net has a resourcesful web page about Radiometric Dating, as recommeneded by Donna Knowlten's students from valleycharterschool.com.

Keep searching...there is much more information to find!

.: Activities for Kids

There are many activities for EVERYONE

Kids and adults can work together on activities and experiment, to be amazed, and to learn something new about how processes on and in our earth work. Most activities and experiments use everyday household items that you can find at your grocery store.

View the Rock Candy page to learn how to make sugar rock candy, and view the Grow Crystals page to learn how to start growing crystals.

The links on the right of this web page lead to many other activities and experiments, including growing a crystal rock garden, to growing a geode, creating a volcano, making molds and casts of fossils, and many others.