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[ABOUT THESE CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES]
 
Developed in collaboration with the Stark County Educational Service Center and an outstanding team of science teachers in Stark County, Ohio, the activities listed below should help students and teachers in various grade levels discover their own fascinating Gem of a Story.
     Each activity is listed with its correlating McREL national science education standards (in smaller bold type). A brief description of each activity is also listed. To view an activity, just click on its link.
 
 
Activity 1: Get the Samples (Mining by Mail)
You can use good communication skills, data management techniques, and student enthusiasm to build or enhance your school's rock, mineral, or fossil collection! It also teaches the importance of maintaining good records, and the procedures that should be followed when making a request for materials.
 
Knows that rock contains evidence of the minerals, temperatures, and forces that created it
 
Knows that creativity, imagination, and a good knowledge base are all required in the work of science and engineering
 
Knows that thousands of layers of sedimentary rock confirm the long history of the Earth and the long history of changing life forms whose remains are found in successive layers of sedimentary rock
 
Knows that fossils provide evidence about the plants and animals that lived long ago and the nature of the environment at that time

 
 
Activity 2: Identify the Samples
Students can learn to become good observers and to record their observations in an orderly and descriptive way. This activity focuses on identifying distinguishing characteristics of samples that have been categorized as being similar.
 
Knows that rock is composed of different combinations of minerals
 
Knows that rock contains evidence of the minerals, temperatures, and forces that created it
 
Knows that thousands of layers of sedimentary rock confirm the long history of the Earth and the long history of changing life forms whose remains are found in successive layers of sedimentary rock
 
Knows that fossils provide evidence about the plants and animals that lived long ago and the nature of the environment at that time

 
 
Activity 3: Gems and Minerals Project
This is an interdisciplinary project. During a nine-week grading period, each student in science, math, and English will be required to participate in a project involving all three of his/her respective teachers. The project will include skills in each of the three core classes: science, math, and English.
 
Knows that progress in science and technology can relate to social issues and challenges
 
Knows that results of scientific inquiry -- new knowledge and methods -- emerge from different types of investigations and public communication among scientists; the nature of communicating and defending the results of scientific inquiry is guided by criteria of being logical and empirical and by connections between natural phenomena, investigations, and the historical body of scientific knowledge
 
Knows that doing science requires different abilities depending on such factors as the field of study, type of inquiry, and cultural context; the work of science relies on human qualities (e.g., reasoning, insight, skill, creativity) and habits of mind (e.g., intellectual honesty, tolerance of ambiguity, skepticism, openness to new ideas)

 
 
Activity 4: Minerals in the Human Body
The United States, at times, has been referred to as the largest "stone quarry" in the world. This distinction does not come from our mining practices, but rather from our bodies abilities to produce kidney stones. Kidney stones are the most common urological problem in the United States.
 
Knows that scientists conduct investigations for a variety of reasons, such as exploration of new areas, discovery of new aspects of the natural world, confirmation of prior investigation, prediction of current theories, and comparison of models and theories
 
 
Activity 5: Minerals in the Home
Minerals are an extremely important part of everyone's everyday life. This activity really examines the concept "If you don't grow it, you mine it?" How many minerals can you identify in your life?
 
Knows that science and technology have improved transportation, health, sanitation, and communication; however, the benefits of science and technology are not available to all people
 
Knows that people have always had problems and invented tools and techniques (way of doing something) to solve problems; trying to determine the effects of various solutions helps people avoid some new problems
 
 
Activity 6: Mineral Diversity
The earth's crust consists mostly of rocks and soil. The rocks are in turn made of minerals. Minerals are themselves made up of groupings of chemical elements. The question that arises is: Why, if there are only 90 naturally occurring elements and most of these are not very common, nearly 4,000 different minerals?
 
Knows that rock is composed of different combinations of minerals
 
Knows that there are more than 100 known elements that combine in numerous ways to produce compounds, which account for the living and nonliving substances that we encounter
 
Knows that atoms often combine to form a molecule (or crystal), the smallest particle of a substance that retains its properties
 
Knows that atoms may be bonded together into molecules or crystalline solids; when two or more kinds of atoms bind together chemically, a compound is formed
 
 
Activity 7: Minerals Enhancing Life
There are numerous ways that minerals appear in our daily routines, but are hidden components of items that don't appear to be "mineral." Sit down for a few minutes in any room in your house and name the items that include something that is made from or with minerals. This activity will provide an opportunity for students and teachers to consider which states are represented in your home.
 
Knows that rock is composed of different combinations of minerals
 
Knows that there are more than 100 known elements that combine in numerous ways to produce compounds, which account for the living and nonliving substances that we encounter
 
Knows that atoms often combine to form a molecule (or crystal), the smallest particle of a substance that retains its properties
 
Knows that for some technological needs, the cultural backgrounds and beliefs of different groups can affect the criteria for a suitable product
 
 
Activity 8: Crystal Growth Inquiry
Basic experiences are a must if students are to construct a knowledge base on which to build a understanding of crystals. This exercise is geared to allow students to gain basic experiences by completing an simple experiment and using that as a base to design their own experiments to answer their own questions.
 
Knows that there are more than 100 known elements that combine in numerous ways to produce compounds, which account for the living and nonliving substances that we encounter
 
Knows that different arrangements of atoms into groups compose all substances; atoms are far too small to see directly through a microscope
 
Knows that atoms often combine to form a molecule (or crystal), the smallest particle of a substance that retains its properties
 
 
Activity 9: Crystals - Big or Small?
The size of a crystal varies greatly and depends on many factors. The primary factors are the physical and chemical conditions surrounding the crystal as it grows. Crystals can be so small that a microscope is needed to see them or they can be very large. In this activity you will study the effect of cooling time on the size of crystals.
 
Knows that the Earth is a system containing a fixed amount of each stable chemical atom or element; each element moves among reservoirs in the solid Earth, oceans, atmosphere, and living things, as part of geochemical cycles (e.g., carbon cycle, nitrogen cycle)
 
Knows that there are more than 100 known elements that combine in numerous ways to produce compounds, which account for the living and nonliving substances that we encounter
 
Knows that different arrangements of atoms into groups compose all substances; atoms are far too small to see directly through a microscope
 
Knows that atoms often combine to form a molecule (or crystal), the smallest particle of a substance that retains its properties

 
 
Activity 10: Crystals - Light or Heavy?
Specific gravity is a measure of the density of a material. It compares the density of the material to the density of water. Density is a characteristic property of any material found by dividing the mass of the material by its volume. Density is usually expressed in the units g/cc. In this activity, you will be applying these formulas to answer the question, "Why do minerals have different weights?"
 
Knows that as matter and energy flow through different organizations levels of living systems (e.g., cells, organs, organisms, communities), and between living systems and the physical environment, chemical elements are transformed and recombined in different ways; each transformation results in storage and dissipation of energy into the environment as heat, and matter and energy are conserved in each transformation
 
Knows that the Earth is a system containing a fixed amount of each stable chemical atom or element; each element moves among reservoirs in the solid Earth, oceans, atmosphere, and living things, as part of geochemical cycles (e.g., carbon cycle, nitrogen cycle)
 
Knows that there are more than 100 known elements that combine in numerous ways to produce compounds, which account for the living and nonliving substances that we encounter
 
Knows that different arrangements of atoms into groups compose all substances; atoms are far too small to see directly through a microscope
 
Knows that atoms often combine to form a molecule (or crystal), the smallest particle of a substance that retains its properties

 
 
Activity 11: Liquid Crystals
In this activity, you will conduct a series of investigations to discover what properties liquid crystals and solid crystals have in common. By building a kaleidoscope, you will study the characteristics of polarized light. You will also read about the industrial applications of liquid crystals and, through the dissection of a digital watch, you will see how a liquid crystal display works.
 
Knows that atoms in solids are close together and don't move about easily; in liquids, atoms are close together and stick to each other, but move about easily; atoms in gas are quite far apart and move about freely
 
Knows that atoms often combine to form a molecule (or crystal), the smallest particle of a substance that retains its properties
 
Knows that a solution and its consequences must be tested against the needs or criteria the solution was designed to meet
 
 
Activity 12: The Hope Diamond Legend
This activity begins with the ancient Indian legend of the Hope Diamond, recounted by Pierre Cartier to Evelyn Walsh McLean. What do you think of the legend? Is the great blue diamond cursed? What has happened to the diamond since the traders sold it? What has happened to the people who took possession of the diamond?
 
Knows that scientists evaluate the results of scientific investigations and the explanations proposed by other scientists by reviewing experimental procedures, examining evidence, identifying faulty reasoning, pointing out statements that go beyond the evidence, and suggesting alternative explanations for the same observations
 
Knows that science distinguished itself from other ways of knowing and from other bodies of knowledge through the use of empirical standards, logical arguments, and skepticism, as scientists strive for certainty of their proposed explanations
 
Knows that the slow movement of material within the Earth results form heat flowing from the deep interior and from the action of gravitational forces or regions of different density
 
Knows that the "rock cycle" consists of the formation, weathering, sedimentation, and reformation of rock; in this cycle, the total amount of material stays the same as its form changes
 
Knows that the properties of a compound reflect the nature of the interactions among its molecules, which are determined by the structure of the molecule (the kinds of atoms and the distances and angles between them)
 
Knows that carbon atoms can bond to one another in chains, rings and branching networks to form a variety of structures, including synthetic polymers, oils, and the large molecules essential to life; complex chemical reactions involving carbon-based molecules take place constantly in every cell of our bodies
 
 
Activity 13: How Hard Is a Diamond?
Hardness is a property that is often used to identify rocks. In this activity you will determine the hardness of several rock samples relative to each other and to several common substances. Geologists often use the Mohs hardness scale to determine the hardness of a rock specimen.
 
Knows that the properties of a compound reflect the nature of the interactions among its molecules, which are determined by the structure of the molecule (the kinds of atoms and the distances and angles between them)
 
 
Activity 14: Are Diamonds Igneous?
There are three phases in the geologic cycle of rocks: igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary. Igneous rock, sometimes called "new" rock, is usually thought of as the beginning of the cycle. This activity will attempt to demonstrate the igneous phase of the rock cycle.
 
Knows that rocks contain evidence of the minerals, temperatures, and forces that created it
 
Knows that the "rock cycle" consists of the formation , weathering, sedimentation, and reformation of rock; in this cycle, the total amount of material stays the same as its for changes
 
 
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