Over the summer I visited a rock and mineral show where I cracked a coconut geode and got to see a lot of really cool rocks, beads, and sculptures. Since the dinosaur excavations I have previously done were so popular I thought kids might also like to do a mineral excavation where they got to keep the rocks as the beginning of a rock collection.
This is one of those programs that looks pretty fancy, but is not technically hard to produce, it is just takes a little time.To make the excavation kits I got a bag of random pebbles and pieces for $5 and separated them by color. I then mixed a recipe of play sand, plaster of paris, and water to make the excavation material. My lesson learned here is to work in smaller batches and don’t be a procrastinator and do it the night before because I guarantee one of the excavation kits won’t set right. I didn’t feel like redoing the few crumbly ones so just gave them to the littlest kids and they were none the wiser.
I got a pleasant surprise the day of the program when a coworker at another library in the system called to ask if I would like some of the flint he had to give to the kids. I jumped on that and he dropped off flint, some pre-bagged rock samples, and some obsidian “Apache tears” to give to the kids. The kids loved getting so many samples and luckily for me it made up for the technical difficulties I had.
I had spent some time pulling pictures of really cool examples of different rocks and minerals to do a presentation and then we had a technical glitch where the laptops couldn’t access the server to log in. It wasn’t that I couldn’t access the internet, I could not get past the login screen for the laptop. I don’t own the adapter cable to hook my iphone up to the projector and I don’t use it often enough that I really want to make that investment so I just skipped the presentation and skipped straight to showing the kids the rocks I had brought for them to see and touch. Then I handed out a list of some of the most popular/interesting rocks and the excavations kits with toothpicks and paintbrushes.
Activity 1: Rock Samples
Activity 2: Mineral Excavation