Waco Gem and Mineral Club, Waco, Tx

Badge 15 Rocking on the Computer

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15. Rocking on the Computer

Are you 'wired to learn'? The computer offers all sorts of fun, from video games to chat-rooms and instant messaging to web sites where you can meet new people and learn about new things. The activities in this unit will help you use the computer to learn more about the hobby of rockhounding, to create presentations, to organize your collection, to find your way to collecting sites, and to connect with fellow collectors.

Activity 15.1: *Exploring the Web Safely and Securely.*

Note: This activity is required to earn this badge.

Gather around a computer with your youth leader and other members of your club to explore the web via search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, or Ask.com. Learn 'safety tips' for things to beware of when exploring the web. Then come up with topics (like quartz, or dinosaurs, or gem cutting) to see what you can find.

Activity 15.2: Reporting on Favorite Web Sites

Explore the web on your own to find two or three web sites related to your own areas of interest (minerals, fossils, geodes, meteorites, lapidary arts, natural history museums, etc.). Write down the web address of each site and a brief description of what you found on the site to share with your fellow club members.

Activity 15.3: Making Presentations With the Computer

Create a PowerPoint presentation about your favorite minerals, fossils, or collecting site using images from the web or from pictures taken with a digital camera and show it to your fellow club members. If you have the right equipment and skills, try incorporating video clips. (See Badge 7: Communication.)

Activity 15.4: Cataloging Your Collection Electronically

Create an electronic catalog or list of your rock, mineral, or fossil collection that includes the name of each specimen and its locality and any other information you would like to remember about the specimen. For instance, if you bought it, you may want to record where you bought it and how much you paid for it. If it‘s a fossil, you should record the age of the fossil and the period or formation that it‘s from. (See Badge 5: Collecting.)

Activity 15.5: Maps and GPS to Find Your Way

Learn about different types of traditional paper maps (roadmaps, topographic maps, geological maps, etc.). Then explore mapping resources that are on the web, such as MapQuest or Google Earth or maps available via the websites of geological surveys. Learn about GPS and how it can help you find collecting spots. (See Badge 20: Maps.)

Activity 15.6: Joining an Online Community

See if there‘s an online community focused around your particular area of interest, whether it be fossils, rock tumbling, meteorites, or minerals. Then, being mindful of safety tips from Activity 15.1, explore the site and report back to your juniors group about why you would—or would not—recommend it.