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REcommendations on where to purchase rock, mineral, etc. samples?


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We are doing Earth science this year and I would like to purchase some sets that cover the different types of rock, mineral samples, maybe some small fossils? Any recs on where to purchase or what sets to look at?


I am hoping to take a field trip to a fossil park not too far way to hunt for our own so those aren't quite as necessary, although it would be nice to have at least one example to talk about before we go on our own hunt.



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You could look for a lapidary shop in your area.


Also, look into whether there are any Gem & Mineral shows near you. Those are a lot of fun. So many different people from so many different places. And they're all passionate about rocks! We went to one last spring and a couple of the exhibitors were so happy to see kids interested and asking questions about their rocks that we went home with 2 big plastic bags full of different types of rocks from all over the world, free! It was a great way to actually connect with people who were knowledgeable and excited about rocks, all willing to spend as much time as we wanted talking to us.

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Gem and Mineral Show

Tuesday September 4-5, 2010


Our 53rd annual show will be on the weekend of September 4th and 5th, from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM on Saturday, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM on Sunday.





They are the best!



You might also check Hobby Lobby or Mardel.

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I like the Science in a Nutshell kit (from Delta Science) that comes with rock samples and the materials needed to identify them. These are probably 1" or slightly larger.


Also, you may find that you can get a good hammer for rock/fossil hunting at Sears for a better price than you will get if you buy from a science vendor. My dh's fossil hammer is a bricklayer's hammer I think. He went with this on the recommendation from a local fossil hunters' group in Cincinnati.

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I get some from our local museum shop, too. About a year or so ago, I ordered a rock & mineral kit from a homeschool family business http://www.rocksmineralsandfossilsforkids.com/ (they might also be called Rockhound Kids) and was pleased with what I got for the price. I think they're related somehow to Westvon Publishing (Happy Scribe Copybooks). Looks like they have a rockhound blog, too.



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I chose the Washington School collection, available from many vendors, as our first collection, because the samples were large, about 2" x 1 1/2". The least expensive place that I found to buy it was Delta Science:




Carolina Science also has a lot of rock & mineral kits, but more expensively.






You can also get a bag of small samples of the Washington School collection, so each dc has samples to test.


We also like Rockman's



and Acorn Naturalists (they have detailed descriptions of what is in each kit) and Home Science Tools.


Here is a link to fossil collecting areas in North America:




And, many mineral museums have collecting areas -- my dc love gathering their own samples.


ETA We like the Science in a Nutshell kit too.

Edited by Alessandra
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Patrick Nurre from Northwest Treasures helped me. You can read about and contact him at www.northwestrockandfossil.com .


I called Patrick and described what I wanted, and he hand picked a rock collection for us! I think I spent about $90 and got: examples of sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rock; intrusive and extrusive rocks; rocks for each level of the Mohs' Scale; and an extensive set of minerals. He sent lots of rocks, and they were great representations of the "kinds" of rocks I needed to show my kids.


Each rock was packaged in its own mini-ziplock bag with identification. Each grouping of rocks was packaged in a larger ziplock bag and also identified.


I was very pleased with the collection Patrick made for me! He will listen to what you want and patiently work with you to select the the kit that will best fit your needs. I can't recommend him highly enough.

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I forgot another favorite source: http://www.acornnaturalists.com/store/index.aspx

I have not bought rock samples from them, but have ordered other items and been very pleased.

If nothing else, order their catalog. It will keep you happy and drooling for hours. and hours. and hours. ;)


Patrick Nurre from Northwest Treasures helped me. You can read about and contact him at www.northwestrockandfossil.com .


I forgot about his website. I have looked over the site several times, dreaming about going out for one of his field trips.


When I was looking at a local gem and mineral show, I noticed that one of the big rock clubs in our area has a junior club. It meets once a month and has the goal of "bringing up a new generation of rock hounds." I am planning on attending one of their meetings.


I know the OP didn't ask for books -- but the book "Rocks in his Head" by Carol Otis Hurst is wonderful. It is a picture book, but still appropriate for slightly older children.

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