Make a Rocks and Minerals Kit

Gathering Materials

Local rocks

Contact your local chamber of commerce or county business office to find out if any mining or quarrying companies operate in your local area. Get a list and contact the company in writing to ask for rock and mineral samples. Samples of lava, marble, granite, limestone and other rocks can be found at most garden and landscaping centers.

State Rocks and Minerals

Write or call the office of the State Geologist and request information about rocks and minerals produced in your state. Be sure to ask for company names and addresses so you can write to request samples. Be sure to ask the companies to enclose background information about what rock or mineral they are sending you, so you can inform your students.

Assembling the Kit

Once the rock and mineral samples have arrived, be sure to mark each mineral in a way that it can be identified to avoid confusion over similar-looking samples. You can color-code each sample with a different color, or number the samples with indelible ink.

Place the samples in individual zip-lock bags that are number or color-coded the same as the sample. For instance, if you have a sample of limestone, Mark it with a "1" or a red dot, and put a "1" or a red dot on the zip-lock bag. Do this for all the samples.

Create a key

Using the information gained from the sample suppliers, create a one-page key about the samples in your kit.

Information to include:

Rock type - igneous, metamorphic, sedimentary
Chemical symbol - Gold (Au), Copper (Cu), Limestone (CaCO3)
Location - where the sample is from (great for geography extension)
Uses - how the rock or mineral is used by society

Using the Kit

Now that you have assembled your kit, you can use it in many ways. One way is to teach the "Rock Cycle" (below) which shows how rocks constantly undergo change through weathering, erosion, melting and other processes to form new rocks. For example, limestone, a sedimentary rock, when heated, is changed to marble, a metamorphic rock (see Major Rock Types).