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If am going to buy an earth science/mineral specimen kit

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How large of a kit should I get? What exactly do I want to have included in a kit? I am looking at the ones from HomeScienceTools. They have a 75 piece set for $50 or an Advanced Earth Science Collection kit with 105 specimens for $110. Do I need the really large one? Or there is just a mineral kit that has 36 samples for $55. Or, finally, there is a rocks and minerals classroom kit with 50 specimens for $38.


My brain is about to explode. Everyone in my house is sick and I need to get this ordered for next semester. Anybody willing to help me make a decision, please. :)


FWIW I have a 6th and 3rd grader studying earth science next sem. I am mostly concerned with meeting the needs of my 6th grader. Both are very interested in rocks. :)

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I always think more is better where rocks are concerned (quite a few of our windowsills are covered with them), and would probably go for the most extensive collection, but the 50 count specimen one for around $38 looks good to me both for the price and because it seems to contain a lot of ores. My kids liked the metallic elements best.


There are GREAT chapters to read aloud on some of these minerals in story form in the vintage book:


Stories of Rocks and Minerals for the Grammar Grades by Harold W. Fairbanks


Just preview the chapters. Most are great but one has dated references about miners of a certain ethnicity. It is a vintage book and a product of its time.


Free E-Book:







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We have the 75 piece set. For a while that set was one of the most often used items in the house. We still pull it out from time to time to compare rocks or just to admire them. I recently went through all our homeschool materials and to cull out the items no longer needed. I didn't even pause as I categorized the rock collection as a keeper. It is a purchase I do not regret. :)

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More, and larger rocks/specimens is better if you can swing it. Best yet is multiple good-size samples of similar types of rocks, so if you want to bash one open the way a geologist does to examine "fresh surfaces" or see how it cleaves apart, you don't feel bad about destroying your collection.


That said if budget is a concern, get a set that includes both rocks and minerals, and that you feel will meet your basic needs but that will allow you to spend money on hand lenses and rock hammers, and gas for field trips. :driving: IMO geology is taught best by looking at rocks and landforms in the real world. I don't plan on buying one of those kits for my kids, we'll pick them up as we find them on our travels (full disclosure: I am a geologist so I might have an advantage in finding a good assortment).

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