A Paste with a Taste

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.

Birdseed Mining

In this activity you will use seeds to model mining valuable materials from rocks.

Build a Model Aquifer

The United Nations includes clean water and sanitation in its sustainable development goals. Many places face severe water shortages. The Geoscientists Without Borders® (GWB) program supports teams to collaborate with communities to solve problems, including water shortages.

GWB scientists use geophysical techniques to find underground layers of sediments or rock that contain enough water to be drilled for water wells. These kinds of rock layers are called aquifers. In this activity you will build a model aquifer.

Cookie Mining

The purpose of this activity is to give the player an introduction to the economics of mining. Each player buys "property," purchases the "mining equipment," pays for the "mining operation," and finally pays for the "reclamation." In return, the player receives money for the "ore mined." The object of the game is to develop the mine, safeguard the environment, and make as much money as possible.

Cookie Mining Spreadsheet

Worksheet to accompany the Cookie Mining classroom activity.

Earth and Ancient Architecture

Architects and engineers often design and build structures inspired by the earth’s natural formations and shapes. This was also true for the ancient builders that built pyramidal structures and platforms with broad bases and tapered sides, inspired in most cases by the hills and mountains they saw around them. While many societies built them, pyramids and platforms across different cultures were not all alike, differing in shape, function, and construction materials, and techniques.

Erosion in a Bottle

Soil erosion is the process of moving soil by water or wind — this happens naturally or through human interference. Preventing soil erosion is important because nutrients are lost, and sediment that accumulates in waterways impacts life there. Conserving soil depends on how it is protected by plants and coverings.
You will model erosion by water and compare the amounts of runoff and soil loss generated from three different ground cover types.

Exploring Porosity

Earth scientists play a vital role in harvesting the energy resources on which we all rely. When preparing to drill for oil, for example, geoscientists must assess many aspects of a rock stratum (layer). For example, they must figure out the volume of the rock’s pores, or empty spaces, as compared with the rock’s total volume. This is called the rock’s porosity. To help you understand porosity, think about different sizes of gravel. Which size gravel will have the greatest porosity? Why? In this activity, you will work in groups to explore the answers to these questions.

Frozen Power

You may be familiar with ice cubes in your favorite soda, but do you know there are very big ice cubes (scientists call them glaciers) hundreds to thousands of meters thick, lying in places
with high mountains? These glaciers shaped beautiful landscapes all around the world — from Glacier National Park to Yosemite, from Patagonia in South America to the Himalayas in Asia.

Gold Panning

Travel back in time and try your luck panning for 'gold' in this fun mineral activity.


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