rocks

Aggregates Matter

Crushed stone, sand, and gravel are the three kinds of rock fragments that are called aggregates. Consider: 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 nation. Aggregates are the most commonly used mined rocks in all countries of the world.

Birdseed Mining

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

Carbon Travels

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.

Chocolate Rock Cycle

How sweet is this activity? It’s an introduction to the rock cycle using chocolate!

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.

Dating Popcorn

How do geologists understand the Earth’s history? In part, they measure the age of rocks and other natural materials by dating techniques. They can date rocks by gauging the amount of decay of radioactive elements. You can simulate the dating process with popcorn.

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.

Geologic Age

This activity will have students collect data, graph it, and compare the information to what they already know about radioactive elements and dating the planet's age.

Geologic Time Scale Analogy

Unraveling time and the Earth's biologic history are arguably geology's most important contributions to humanity. Yet it is very difficult for humans to appreciate time beyond that of one or two generations, much less hundreds, thousands, millions and billions of years. Perhaps we can only hope that students catch glimpses of our rich geologic heritage, particularly when most of our teaching is done in a classroom and not in a field setting. This exercise begins to make time more "three dimensional" and most importantly, students gain a better appreciation for geologic time and our Earth's history.

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