If a science teacher asks a student to name three types of rock and the response is, “classic, punk and metal,” that student is probably in the wrong class.
All kidding aside, students who are curious about rocks, minerals, crystals and geology have a lot of learning resources available to them. A good one that teachers in classrooms with internet access should consider using is Mineralogy4Kids, an educational website from the Mineralogical Society of America.
The free website targets students in upper elementary grades through high school and offers an excellent overview of mineral groups, properties and elements, and how they occur within the earth’s crust.
The website has a simple layout with easy-to-follow navigation links that launch study guides on topics including mineral identification, crystals and rock cycles. No registration is needed.
Mineralogy4Kids makes a great supplement to classroom lesson plans by letting students study the material at their own pace or during independent study times. Numerous dynamic features keep students engaged while they study the material. Among the most helpful are:
- A searchable mineral properties page
- A searchable periodic table of elements
- Clickable mineral identification app
- Complete mineralogy vocabulary, definitions and terms
- Detailed photos of rocks, crystals and minerals
An informative interactive page lets students click illustrations of common household items like appliances, radios, furniture and batteries to learn what minerals they contain.
External learning resources
Clicking on the “Resources” navigation button launches a page filled with a treasure trove of links to external learning resources focusing on mineralogy.
Resources include books, games, quizzes and study guides for K-12 students. The materials come from various sources, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the BBC and the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources. Here is a sampling:
- A hunting adventure book about searching for purple crystals
- An activity guide for making a silica tetrahedron from an envelope
- An interactive guide to the physical properties of gold, copper, silver and iron
- Building a rock collection
- Interactive games focusing on identifying rocks and soil types
Finally, much of the material students dig up on the Mineralogy4Kids website can be helpful to college-bound high school students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs. Many colleges require students to have completed STEM subjects as part of their selection process.