Waco Gem and Mineral Club, Waco, Tx

17.8 The Amazing Mineral Magic Show


17.8: The Amazing Mineral Magic Show!

For a presentation at one of your society‘s monthly meetings, help your kids host "The Amazing Mineral Magic Show!" They can demonstrate many of the effects described in this unit, as well as others they might discover by reading on their own. For instance:

Lodestone magnetite can be used to show a rock that pushes magnets around and flips them over and picks up paperclips. When placed alongside "black sand" and/or iron filings, you have a rock that suddenly grows "hair". Put those filings into a plastic pan, hold your lodestone under the pan, and you can pull the filings all around.

Transform ugly, dull fluorescent rocks and minerals into ones that turn bright, vivid colors and suddenly glow from within when you turn out the lights and turn on an ultraviolet lamp.

Turn out the lights, turn on a UV lamp over a piece of fluorescent calcite from Mexico, then switch off the lamp to show a fluorescent mineral that holds a glow for awhile, before gradually fading to black.

With the lights still out, show how two pieces of quartz can create spark-like flashes of light when simply rubbed together.

Keep those lights out to show rocks that shoot real sparks by striking steel against chunks of flint or pyrite.

Illustrate how ulexite is a "TV Stone" that can "lift" images from printed pages.

Reveal how a calcite rhomb doubles an image by holding it over a piece of white cardboard that has a single black line drawn down the middle.

With a slice of iris agate and a flashlight, show how a rock can capture a rainbow.

Show how a domed cab of Idaho garnet, rose quartz, ruby, or sapphire can capture a star, or how domed tiger-eye quartz or satin-spar gypsum can wink like a cat‘s eye.

Drop a piece of volcanic glass (obsidian) into a clear container of water to show how—as we all know—rocks are heavy and sink. Then, take a piece of volcanic glass known as pumice and drop it in to show a rock that floats!

What other magic effects can your kids come up with? This can be a presentation that‘s great fun for the entire club. In fact, the kids might ask the adults to come prepared to bring a 'magical' rock or two of their own to join in the show.

Note: Kids can use this activity to satisfy requirements toward earning the Communication badge simultaneously (Activity 7.1).