April 26, 2016

Learning about Rocks & Minerals

We recently learned about rocks and minerals in science.  Potato really loves science, especially when we do hands on experiments.  We used Quizlet.com to learn rock and minerals identification.  We also did two experiments and went on a hike to a local granite quarry.

I found this cool science project for us to try, making our very own salt flats.  Potato thought this was a great idea!

We started by mixing the salt, baking soda, and dirt with hot water.  We let the mixture sit for several days, until all the water evaporated.  Then we mixed salt and hot water together and poured it on top of the first layer.  We could have continued to add more layers, but decided to stop at two.  It was a lot of fun watching the changes in our salt flats as the water evaporated.
1 mixing, 2 water, salt, & dirt layer, 3 first layer dry,
4 salt and water over first layer, 5 almost dry, 6 salt flat

Very dry salt flat

The salt creeped over the edges of our pie dish

We are very lucky to have lots of great places to hike close to home.  And living in the "Rock state" helped with our lesson.  About a 15 minute drive from our home, there is a hiking trail that will take you to an old granite quarry.  Potato and I headed out there one day looking for rock and mineral samples for another experiment, and to find evidence of the three classes of rock.  We had a lot of fun hiking and climbing around the rocks.  We even ran into a Black rat snake, sunning itself on the rocks.

Our final experiment was to identify Rocks and minerals by their luster, hardness, specific gravity, and streak color.  We picked up our samples from a place that sells rocks and minerals.  Then the fun began.  We looked at each sample with a magnifying glass to determine it's luster.  Then we used our fingernail, a penny, a nail, and a piece of old glass to determine it's probable hardness.  We rubbed each sample on a white tile to see if it would leave behind a streak.  Potato's favorite part was determining the specific gravity of each sample.  He weighed each sample and then one at a time dropped them in water to find out how much volume they took up.
Check out the video of him "playing" rocks and water here.

We are both looking forward to continued fun and learning as we go down this homeschooling path.

~Earthy Mom


  1. This is so cool. What a great mum you are.

    1. Thank you. :) I'm trying to make learning fun, and still get the learning done.