Waco Gem and Mineral Club, Waco, Tx

Badge 2 Earth Resources

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Earth Resources Badge

This set of activities introduces the practical side of minerals, or how rocks and minerals are used in everyday life. We are surrounded by evidence of our mining heritage, from gypsum in our walls to brass knobs on doors and clay in our flowerpots and on the pages of glossy magazines. The following activities will help you appreciate the role mining and minerals play in day-to-day life.

Activity 2.1: Everyday Uses of Rocks and Minerals

In a group, circle around a flipchart or a chalkboard or white board. Look around the room and draw up a list of everyday things and the rocks and minerals you think went into them. (If using an old-fashioned black chalkboard, you can start with the chalk itself and the slate of the chalkboard.)

Activity 2.2: Minerals in the Home

Write a report about rocks and minerals in your home, or in a particular room in your home: your bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, living room, etc.

Activity 2.3: Collecting Everyday Objects and the Rocks and Minerals That Went into Them

Build a collection of everyday objects and specimens of the minerals that went into them. You can get specimens by collecting them in the field, trading with other members in your club, or purchasing them at nature stores, museum gift shops, rock shops, or gem shows. Here are some examples to get you started: a penny and a copper nugget; a nail and a piece of iron ore or hematite; a tube of fluorinated toothpaste and a fluorite crystal; laundry detergent and a borate mineral; a fishing weight and a galena (lead) crystal. Display your collection of everyday objects and their source minerals at a local gem show, the library, during show-and-tell at school, at one of your club meetings, or wherever else a public display might be possible.

Activity 2.4: Field Trip to a Mine or Quarry

Take a field trip to a mine or quarry. Afterwards, write a report for your Youth Leader or make a presentation at the next club meeting describing what was being mined, how it was being mined, and how it‘s ultimately used. If you were able to get a sample of what was being mined, bring it to your next meeting and show and tell everyone about it.

Activity 2.5: Field Trip to a Hardware Store

Take a field trip to a local hardware store or home building supply store. List some of the things you see there and their source rocks and minerals.

Activity 2.6: Careers in the Earth Sciences

Learn about careers in the earth sciences (mining, teaching, gemology, the jewelry business, seismology, etc.). Write a brief paper imagining yourself in such a career and some adventure you might undertake in that job. For instance, an oil geologist might be taking a boat ride to an off-shore oil platform. A paleontologist with a museum or university might be prospecting for fossils in the Gobi Desert. A gemologist might be cutting the world‘s largest blue diamond. What would be an interesting job to you?