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Geology for 7yo

Violet Crown

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I need a good geology study for my 7-year-old who is gung-ho about learning to identify rocks and minerals. I'm getting a little tired of identifying the local rocks (limestone, quartz, and endless oyster fossils), and she wants more challenge. Unfortunately I have zero expertise in this area. She reads extremely well and has a good memory. Something involving a little chemistry would be great.

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My 7 yo, also an advanced reader, has been obsessed with rocks and minerals since he was four. We haven't found a great curriculum. He's basically self taught himself through EyeWitness Rocks and Minerals. His all time favorite book is "Geology Rocks" by Cindy Blobaum. The reading isn't difficult, but there are some really neat experiments and its fun reading.


At our local science museum, we bought an Usborne set of rock identification cards because we found finding books on rock identification pretty difficult. We also bought a huge tackle box to sort his rock collection. If you want to get samples outside your local area, there are collections you can buy at science stores. My parents bring him rock samples back from all their travels--some purchased at museum stores, some they find laying around.


You should also check out Janice VanCleave's Earth Science or Rocks and Minerals books. I haven't looked at them, but we are using her Astronomy and Constellations books and find them very informative with lots of experiments.

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Okay, I know that they are expensive. I haven't found them anywhere else, either. How about this free, online program (which you can print out if you don't want to do it online)?




They do offer kits for some of their labs; others use things you can obtain easily. You could buy a good, larger rock set from Home Science Tools (which someone already linked) instead of buying their sets and perhaps get a better deal....


This cycle is just set up for six weeks, but you could easily extend it as it includes lots of material for different grade levels that you might be able to pull from...


You might also add in things from their water cycle or plate tectonics cycle to flush out your study (although these don't specifically cover ROCKS, lol)....


You might also find some things you could add in from their middle school study, specifically the rock section:



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GEMS science teachers guides has a unit called Stories of Stone, which is about the processes of rock formation. The guides are widely adjustable in terms of ages and grade levels, and they are activity based, with suggested fiction and non-fiction books in the back plus background information for teachers/parents.


As I remember it, Stories in Stone had kids making models of how sedimentary rocks are formed by working with different colors of clay (following instructions you read and direct them with), melting and re-crystalizing (in an old spoon, over a candle) a chemical I had to order in a small bottle (it was cheap) to illustrate igneous rock formation, and doing something else with the sedimentary model to show how it turned into metamorphic rock. It was pretty simple and a nice, clear, visual and kinesthetic way to understand the concepts.




I also googled something along the lines of "recipes candy sedimentary igenous rocks" and found examples of candy-type concoctions for each. I made them and had the kids (a small co-op class) take apart and eat the candy, then tell me which kind of rock it modeled and why they thought so.


Our area has guides in the bookstores to geologically based field trips and hikes. I took six kids to the beach on one of the hikes to look at fossils, which we found following the directions in the booklet, to measure the uplift of one section of rock with protractors, to find veins of crystalized minerals in among the sedimentary rocks, etc. It was a highlight of that year for everybody. We also toured an old gold mine.

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You might want to contact either your state's geology department (if they have one), or the dept at your local university. I know that's kind of out there, but my dad is a retired geologist who worked for the state of OR. They loved it when kids expressed an interest, and always had little tidbits to give away (plus they had a really awesome rock collection).


Here's the geoscientist page for TX: http://www.tbpg.state.tx.us/index.html

Edited by Punchie
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