Post Updated: 4/26/06!
I have been saving some of our favorite rock-related links and ideas from this unit to post… but quite honestly, I have not wanted to do it yet because we’ve been doing more academic workbook stuff lately than fun hands-on activities (shame on me). I’m working on getting out of my workbook rut and back into a KONOS hands-on fun routine. I go in spurts with getting to the fun stuff. I blame part of it on the fact that we’ve moved around so much since we began our school-year this year… from house to hotel to relatives’ houses to apartment (from one state to another)… and with our new schedule changes (Tuesday and Wednesdays for weekends instead of Saturday/Sunday due to Daddy’s work schedule), and me having to adjust from eating out every meal to cooking every meal… I’ve been having a hard time getting our permanent routine to STICK.
Kids really need routine. I think we adults need it almost as badly. So, with that in mind… I’m giving myself the go-ahead and writing this “ROCK POST” to inspire myself as much as I want it to inspire you. I need to get busy and finish this unit with a “BANG!” – since we are a bit behind schedule on our lesson plan calendar this year (understandably)… and we are eager to move on to Planets/Seasons/Solar System next!
This post will be especially helpful to those of you studying about Texas and Arkansas Rocks… since we have plenty of both and tons of links about them! Below are some great links that I have gathered while doing planning and research for this unit.
ROCK UNIT LINKS:
- Gem by Gem Gemstone Link (wonderful photographs and history on gems)
- Texas A&M; College Virtual Geo Field Trip of the Texas Hill Country
- Pretty Hill Country Photos
- A favorite website: Travel Texas (virtual photo tours of the Texas)
- Enchanted Rock near Austin, TX
- State of Arkansas Geological Society (mailed us a geo map and brochures)
- Great Rock Lesson Plan Link
- Another website with lots of kid-related rock links
- Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas
- Awesome Rock and Mineral Photography Website (they shoot for magazines)
- HOLY COW, there’s a lot of neat stuff on Enchanted Learning!
- A Rockhound’s Favorite Website: US Geology
- Texas and Gulf Coast Geological Links Page
- Rocks for Kids (everything you ever wanted to know about rocks, I’m pretty sure it’s there!)
- Rocks and Minerals Slideshow and Lesson Plans/Vocabulary
- Rock and Mineral Challenge
Rock Unit Activities we’ve done so far:
- Collected rocks locally
- Read lots of neat rock books from the library
- Gone rock climbing
- Learned about the rock formations in our state/general area (looked at a rock map of the state sent by the Geological Society)
- Looked at a multitude of gemstones online
- Learned that there’s a beryl named after my daughter – “Morganite”!
- Mail some crystals we found to friends
- Rock Vocabulary Words
- Look through Enchanted Learning’s extensive Rock section
- Learn and write rock Bible verses from our unit
- Identify as many of our rocks as we could, pick our favorites of each specimen and number/list them for display later
- Write about our favorite mineral/metal
- Find some rocks to paint (some dollar stores carry nice round river rocks) – paint rocks (great book on this “Painting on Rocks for Kids” by Lin Wellford – see link below)
- FIELD TRIP! Digging for crystals in Hot Springs, AR
- Requested that our friends and family mail us rocks from other states (map these as they come in)
Rock Unit Activities we plan to do still:
- Visit the Crater of Diamonds State Park (hopefully find a huge diamond and get rich)
- Use acid to clean crystals we’ve collected
- Meet up with a Geologist in Arkansas
- Classify our rocks by color, texture, luster, hardiness, cleavage, and streaks tests
- Group our rocks by igneous, metamorphic or sedimentary
- Make a rock display and number our favorite specimens to add to it
- Finish painting our rocks (great book on this “Painting on Rocks for Kids” by Lin Wellford – see link below… we’re going to buy this one!)
- Finish our Rock Lapbook (that is turning out to be more of a scrapbook/notebook) and post a photo of it in this post!
- Post info on our two Rock Field trips on the blog’s Field Trip Foto Friday series (some time in the future)
Rocks in our collection:
We have pyrite (fools gold), shale, sandstone, granite, limestone, flint, shale, quartz and calcite (amber colored – from Texas). We also have a few rocks we haven’t identified yet. Kaden has a piece of pumace (volcanic rock full of holes and very light) from the pocket of his “stone-washed” jeans which is his treasured possession as well (pumace is the only rock that “floats”). Here in Arkansas, there is a ton of sandstone and shale, which is where we got most of those types. When shale is heated and pressurized the sedimentary rocks becomes a metamorphic rock called slate. It is so awesome to find slate layers in a mostly sandstone and shale hill… some of the slices of slate are as thin as paper and black as night (see photo below). The crystals we found yesterday at the Crystal mine in Hot Springs (tons of them) are covered with an orange chemical (iron) that must be removed to make the crystals white and clear. We’re working on meeting up with a geologist to learn about this. I have a phone number of someone locally. Maybe we can go do it at HIS lab instead of at home. I’ll come back at a later date and post the rocks and minerals we have received through the mail on this post as well. Of course, we also have “exotic” bags of rocks which have been polished from rock stores… many different colors, shapes, and sizes. Mommy even has a Brazilian Amethyst and a Garnet that I keep for Kaden and Morgan (birthstones). I miss our things in storage even more now, because Kaden and Morgan have a rock tumbler in a box somewhere in Texas which really would come in handy right now!
Rocks Across America Project
(Sent By Fellow Homeschoolers and Friends):
Amazonite from Morefield Mines – Amelia, VA
River Rock (? not sure what kind) – Lake Ontario, Canada
Gypsum –Wyoming, MI
Ton of Rocks (all types) – NC – not sure if these actually all came from NC (no labels or info)
Some kind of seashore conglomerate and grey sandstone – Atlantic Beach, FL
Rock and Mineral Set (10 numbered and identified rocks & minerals) – Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources
Granite, Agates, Quartz, and lovely rounded River Rocks (some of our favorites) – WA (Birch Bay)
Black Limestone with Quartz or Calcite veins– Lancaster County, PA
Rocks: Texas, Arkansas and beyond…
Texas is covered with a lot of limestone, but they also have petrified wood, iron ore, halite, aluminum, marble, sulfur and many other rocks. The Austin hill country is formed by beautiful rugged white limestone hills covered with cedars, twisted oaks, cactus and yucca plants. There are lots of ocean fossils from when the flood covered the earth in the hills surrounding Austin. We found lots of huge spiral shells that were completely fossilized and petrified rock animals when we went on a field trip to search for rocks there! There are also rock clam shells and pretty amber calcite crystals we have from that area. In the central farmlands, there is an abundance of iron ore and petrified wood. My son even has an arrow head from this area. Near the gulf coast there is black gumbo clay and on the beach, you can find seashells. I have heard of halite mines there and wanted to go to visit one, but we have not done that yet.
We took a trip to Hot Springs yesterday to dig crystals out of the ground. I’ll have to post a separate post about our field trip and include some photographs later. It was really fun. The great thing about this unit is that the knowledge we gain will go with us forever… because it is one of our favorite things to do (collecting rocks) and we plan to continue it into the future. I can’t wait to get the rest of our rocks in the mail from those who promised to send them. I’m expecting rocks from
Ohio, Florida, Washington State, Tennessee, etc. We’ll have fun mapping them together and seeing lots of interesting rocks we may have not seen before!
Happy rockhunting and homeschooling!
This post updated on 2/14/06.