A Paste with a Taste

A Paste with a Taste Activity Source: Adapted by the MEC from Women in Mining Education Foundation Activities Purpose To allow students to produce a “marketable” product made from minerals that are used by most people every day. Both the abrasive and cleansing compounds found in toothpaste, calcium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate, are minerals. Materials Calcium carbonate (finely powdered unflavored TUMS will work) Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) Small plastic cups (1 for each student) Popsicle sticks for stirring (1 for each student) Eye droppers (1 for each group) Plastic spoons (1 for each group) Water Assorted food colors and flavorings (sugar, mint extract, etc. [Read More]

Aggregates Matter

Aggregates Matter Activity Source: Adapted with permission by Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration. What do you know about AGGREGATES? Crushed stone, sand and gravel are the three kinds of rock fragments that are called aggregates. At the current rate of usage, every American will need 1.37 million pounds of aggregates in his or her lifetime. Aggregates are mined in every state in the U.S. Aggregates are the most commonly used mined rocks in all countries of the world. [Read More]

Birdseed Mining

Birdseed Mining Activity Source: “Birdseed Mining,” Women in Mining Education Foundation, 2005. Adapted with permission. Background Mining is a complex process in which valuable or useful materials are removed from large masses of rock. Materials Wild bird food - any birdseed mix that contains sunflower seeds and at least two other seed varieties Shallow pans Small beads (approximately 2mm) in blue, gold, and silver Medium beads (approximately 4-6 mm) in white Procedure Organize groups of four to six students. [Read More]

Carbon Travels

Carbon Travels Activity Source: Adapted with permission by NASA. We find carbon everywhere on Earth ─ in trees, rocks, fossil fuels, oceans, and even you! Carbon doesn’t stay in one place, through. Scientists study how carbon moves from one place to another. This is the carbon cycle. The Industrial Revolution, starting in the 1700s, saw a move to large-scale manufacturing and the use of new technologies, such as steam power and electricity. [Read More]

Chemistry of Burning

Chemistry of Burning Activity Source: The University of Texas at Austin Bureau of Economic Geology. Provided by Association of American State Geologists. Adapted with permission. Why is CO2 increasing in the atmosphere? Who is doing it? Many people think that CO2 is “pollution,” so that clean burning should be a way to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions. In this demonstration, we review basic chemistry (see illustration) to realize that producing CO2 is an inevitable product of burning any fossil fuel. [Read More]

Connect the Spheres

Connect the Spheres Activity Source: Adapted with permission by National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Global Precipitation Measurement Mission. This activity will provide you with an introduction to a series of lessons — Survivor Earth — about water resources on Earth. You’ll investigate Earth systems by making observations in nature and identifying systems in the natural world. Ultimately, you will understand how the four spheres, or systems, on Earth — biosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere, and atmosphere — are interconnected. [Read More]

Core Sampling

Core Sampling Activity Source: Society of Petroleum Engineers. Adapted with permission. Core samples are small portions of a formation taken from an existing well and used for geologic analysis. The sample is analyzed to determine porosity, permeability, fluid content, geologic age, and probable productivity of oil from the site. Drilling is the only way to be sure that oil and gas fields exist and exactly what is present in the formation. [Read More]

Cupcake Core Sampling

Cupcake Core Sampling Activity Source: Adapted from Women in Mining Education Foundation Activities This activity is ideal for a small group of students, a youth group, or a parent-child activity. Purpose Trying to “see” what is beneath the surface of the Earth is one of the jobs of a geologist. Rather than digging up vast tracts of land to expose an oil field or to find some coal-bearing strata, core samples can be taken and analyzed to determine the likely composition of the Earth’s interior. [Read More]

Density of Minerals

Density of Minerals Activity Source: Adapted with permission by Minerals Education Coalition; Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration. Density is an intrinsic physical property of minerals that relates to the composition of the mineral and to the pattern in which the mineral’s atoms are arranged. “Intrinsic” means that the property is the same for the mineral, no matter what the size or shape of the sample. In this activity, students will measure and compare the densities of minerals. [Read More]

Determining Mineral Reserves

Determining Mineral Reserves Activity Source: Minerals Education Coalition. This activity was adapted with permission from theOhio Mining & Mineral Education Program (OMMEP) of the Ohio Aggregates & Industrial Minerals Association (OAIMA) in partnership with Wright State University. Common things we use every day, like roads, sidewalks, schools, hospitals and homes ─ to name just a few ─ are made up of rocks and minerals. As a resource, they are called mineral reserves and include materials like sand, gravel, limestone, granite, and other aggregate and construction materials. [Read More]