Mineralogy, Geology and Earth Science

Why mineralogy, geology and earth science? Because mineralogy is our Waldorf Main Lesson block approach, Geology was our unit study and Earth Science was a broad look at the science teaching to multiple ages. If you’ve seen blog posts from me before with each YouTube tutorial or review in its own blog post, this is the one that captures them all (hopefully) and will (hopefully) continue to grow as new material is added. While I continue to add to this post, I hope you’ll find the resources helpful. The complete resource list is at the end of this blog post along with the video review of the resources we used for our Geology Unit.

Mineralogy

When we did our Mineralogy main lesson block, we did it in the Waldorf methodology. This approach varies from a unit study in that a unit study may include other resources and lessons like including math or history and can be for any grade level and include any resource from books, lectures to videos and more. A unit study may take a week, weeks or longer. It may be for multiple ages at once. A main lesson block is a study of a subject area for a time period (usually 3 weeks or 2 blocks of 3 weeks each), and for a specific age group and supported by the Waldorf approach of beginning with the whole, then going to the parts and also supported by stories or content to help the student within her development.

The Mineralogy main lesson block begins its study first with local geological landscape and formations then quickly moves into the ‘whole’ granite, before going to the ‘parts’ the minerals that make up granite. It progresses in this way rather than beginning with the rock cycle and a description of each type of rock and how its made. Instead the two archetype of rocks: granite from fire and limestone from water, are discussed or at least mentioned or gently referred (at least this is how I did it).


Main Lesson and Main Lesson Block

What’s a Waldorf Main Lesson? And how do you put it together? I share some tips with you on how I have traditionally put together our main lesson blocks. Before I share how I put them together, lets talk about the difference between between a unit study and a main lesson block. A unit study focuses on a subject area while weaving in other subjects, with lessons being of any duration. A main lesson block focuses on a particular subject area for a specific amount of time 3-6 weeks with lesson lasting 1.5-2 hours. A unit study can be done on a subject at any grade while a main lesson block is chosen for a particular grade/developmental stage.


Mineralogy

We’ve done our geology and mineralogy blocks many times, but I do believe this is our 4th and final time. This one was completed in 2024

I’m sharing some of our most recent Mineralogy resources we are using for our homeschooling lessons while using our Live Education Waldorf Main Lesson on Mineralogy. This main lesson block is intended to last about 3-4 weeks however, our blocks always last much longer. While I have many resources for our Geology, Mineralogy and Earth Science units, I did pick up a few new books that I want to share with you and why we bought them. When a starting a unit/block, I don’t usually use the exact same resources or even approach it in the same way. I begin by assessing my child and his/her needs, and keep myself in mind as well, I review the materials we have (a fun process of taking out all that we have for a unit), then I whittle down our materials and decided what we will focus on and how long I want to spend (time, but you could budget for your unit too) on a unit. In the past I would do a lesson plan, but I haven’t lesson planned in literally years. While a lesson plan is a time investment, and one may prefer to dive in, I do recommend having a plan and usually written is best. It helps keep on task and actually allows for greater flexibility and calm when things come up.

The books I chose for this unit that are new (as we are still using our previous resources as well), are Geology Underfoot and Roadside geology. Geology Underfoot has been on my wishlist for years and I’m so pleased to add it now. I also bought Rocks and Minerals (A short Introduction) as teacher info for presenting lessons. The other new resources are either checked out from the library or purchased from the library bookstore and have been making nice additions to this unit. Our approach this time was to stick as closely to the Waldorf curriculum with minimal diversions. That basically didn’t happen, even though I really hoped I could keep this main lesson block tidy and focused.


Resources

We’ve used many resources over the years and while many of them may not be listed, please know we never used all these resources at once. Having done this unit 3-4 times, we have accumulated many resources over the years.


Lesson 1: Igneous Rocks

While I share ‘lesson 1’ for our mineralogy block, it’s actually more like lesson 3 or even 4. Nonetheless, I hope you enjoy this look at the drawing I made (my 13 year old daughter copied my example into her main lesson book), and listen to my thoughts on this approach.


Lesson 2: Granite

This is lesson 2 of our latest Mineralogy Main Lesson Block, and while most of it is in line with the Waldorf methodology, I’m realizing some of the things I want to include, like the structure of minerals and the elements and the formation of elements and minerals, are not relevant to the lesson and are not developmental appropriate for the grade 6 student. You may differ on this point, however, if you are aiming to do this block and adhere to the Waldorf philosophy, I would offer that you save those lessons for the high school student and instead focus on what the student of 11-13 can see and sense. You can get a sneak peek at this lesson on Instagram.


Lesson 3: The Roots of the Mountain

https://youtu.be/2Qi14JctxHc

Did you know that mountains have roots? Much like an iceberg where you only see the tip above the water, and the majority of the iceberg is below water, so to are mountains, where just the tip is visible on the the surface of the planet, while the remainder of the mountain goes deep below the surface. Did you also know that the crust of the earth is thicker under mountain ranges? And did you know that the roots of mountains penetrate deep into the mantle? They are still considered part of the crust, but they anchor themselves deep into the mantle. In today’s lesson, we referred to several verses of the Quran, which speak about how the mountains are fixed firmly, or are like pegs. Mountains are mentioned over 30 times in the Quran. I chose five eyes that speak about how the mountains are laid, and firmly fixed. I intended to include all of these, but only had room for one. In retrospect, I should have done this entry as a two page layout with all of the written portion on one page and the illustration on the opposing page. We will likely do another entry that includes more Ayats from the Quran. For reference, we intended to use the following versus: 88:18-20, 21:31, 78:6-7, 15:19, 13:3. For this entry, we sourced online information and an online diagram which I copied into the main lesson book. My daughter copied this entry into her main lesson book, copying my example, including the paragraph which she did as copy work.


Mineralogy Lesson cross-section of the Volcano

https://youtu.be/TXCqgRiZLHE

n this Mineralogy Lesson we learn about volcanoes and the tremendous amount of magma below the surface of a volcanic mountain. I am using our Lyra color pencils for this lesson. We completed the lesson over 2-3 days, reading completed on the first day, the drawing next, later we read specifics about the types of rocks and magma related to this illustration and finally we wrote narrations in our main lesson books. I am working with my 13-year-old daughter and rather than do an illustration on the chalkboard or have her copy the image from another resource, I am drawing and writing with her. I don’t typically do this because it’s time consuming, but as she’s my last homeschooler, I’m happy to do so. This lesson included an ayat from the Quran that connected to this lesson loosely. We chose to write [73:14] at the top of the page while reserving the bottom of the page for a table indicating various parts of the illustration. The narration is on the opposing page.


Mineralogy Main Lesson Block

New units are always filled with prospect and excitement. Collecting the material from the school room, library or elsewhere is definitely fun, but it can be overwhelming. I’m showing you the materials I’m using for our Mineralogy Main Lesson block. I’m using the Live-Education Waldorf inspired homeschool curriculum as a guide and I’m supplementing with a variety of Charlotte Mason inspired living books (as well as some not-so-living books), projects, kits and activities. I have a few resource materials for additional information. The latest book I’m finding especially helpful is by Chris Novak Geology and Astronomy. This unit was completed in 2018

I’m using Homeschool Panda for my lesson plans, and if you have an account (which is Free!) you can have my lesson plans! My lesson plans can be accessed by Copy the link and import it into your Homeschool Panda account.


What’s Inside the Layers of the Earth | Felted Earth Project

I’m sure you haven’t seen the earth quite like this before. Curious to see how our layered model of the earth turned out? This is one interactive model that’s sure to delight and educate. We wet felted a model of the earth using wool, then cut it open to fill it with the mantle and core. We made the core hard by rolling it over and over while wet felting it. We made the mantle ‘liquid’ by keeping the wool unfelted. The kids loved this project, but it does get tedious after a while. We took a break midway, but didn’t get a chance to come back to it, so my kids’ models weren’t felted all the way. I’ll show you what it looks like when that happens.

For this project we used wool top from A Child’s Dream.

The 3 wools we offer are Merino (classified as a fine wool), Corriedale (classed as a medium wool) , and Romney (a coarse wool – our Wilde Wool is Romney wool). They’re all different types of fibers with different qualities with one being better in one application over another. NOT one necessarily a better wool over another. Merino has short fibers or staple length and is very soft. It is a fast wet felter but a very slow needle felter and challenging for beginner spinners because of the short staple length. Corriedale is longer, is great for beginner spinners, great for beginning wet felting since it doesn’t felt so fast you can’t control what you’re doing, and great for needle felting, too. Corriedale is a good multipurpose wool and is what comes in the WoolPets kits we love and sell. Romney is coarse and is what our Wilde Wool is. It’s not as soft as Merino or Corriedale and is a very fast needle felting fiber. My customers doing production work gravitate to the Wilde Wool. It wet felts but it takes longer to do so we advise against using this for felting with children. It spins nicely and it’s coarseness makes it a durable yarn that you wouldn’t want to use against the skin but maybe for rugs or that sort of thing.

Debbie, A Child’s Dream

For this project you’ll need wool top in blue, green, un-dyed, red, yellow and orange. You also need two tennis balls and some plastic wrap, a couple large bowls, one with warm water and one with cold water and some dish soap. This project gets messy in the sense that water and soap suds get everywhere, so work in the kitchen or outside, or lay down some towels. I also recommend using large bowls or two bowls for each person.


How Magma Moves in the Mantle

Here’s a really simple geology demo on thermodynamics and magma we did for our mineralogy unit using the book Mountains and Volcanoes by Barbara Taylor. You can probably do this project with materials you have around the house. We modified this project from the one we previously did during our geology unit. You can see the original video here.


Excavating Dinosaur Bones

oin us as we excavate real dinosaur bone, an aquatic lizard tooth and coprolite (dinosaur dung). This Dinosaur Dig Kit by Discover with Dr. Cool was fantastic! I highly recommend it. You get three high quality fossil specimens, two activity guides, a display case and excavation tools.


How to Make Sedimentary Rock and Excavation

Curious how sedimentary rock is formed? This is a quick and educational project that’s easy to do and fun to excavate. You do need a few materials to do this activity. Materials: Plaster of Paris Sand (optional) Food coloring (also optional) Shells for ‘fossils’ (optional) Paper cup or other mold Directions: Mix Plaster of Paris according to directions and mix with sand and/or food coloring. Pour into mold. Layer various colors, waiting about 10 minutes for the previous layer to set. Layer shells between the layers. Excavate your ‘sedimentary’ rock once it sets completely.


What’s Inside A Gigantic Geode

After cracking open 15 premium geodes last year for our geology unit, we decided to try this gigantic premium geode also from Discover with Dr. Cool. To be honest, the gigantic geode was no less thrilling than the 15 small ones. All were premium quality which meant you were guaranteed good crystal formations. It was fun and thrilling getting the big one and cracking it open, but the quality was the same as the small ones, so in the future, I will just get the 15 piece kit of smaller geodes.

The 15 geode kit has been our funnest project this year. We loved it! This kit perfectly accompanies a geology or earth science unit. We picked up Break Open Real Geodes from Rainbow Resource. This one came with 15 premium geodes. Unlike some other kits which only come with a few or lower quality geodes that don’t have stellar crystal growth, this one had some amazing specimens. The kit also comes with an activity guide, eye safety goggles, three display stands and a magnifying glass


Gemstone Excavation Kit

We recently got four excavation kits from Excavating Adventures and I have to say, I’m blown away at how awesome these kits are. Aside from the huge amount of speciums you get in each kit, you also get to excavate in unique materials for each kit. For the gemstone kit, you are excavating through a plaster/clay material. What I especially liked about it was that it was small making it easy for young children to excavate within 30 minutes or less. We typically do the excavating kits that require several hours to do so this is just right for young students and equally thrilling for older students as well. My 9-year-old daughter did this gemstone kit and the seashell kit while my 14-year-old son did the dinosaur and geology kits.


What’s Inside Amber?

Curious to see what’s inside prehistoric amber? Check out what we found in our sample! This is genuine Colombian amber millions of years old. Amber is fossilized tree sap and what’s amazing about it is that plant particles and insects get trapped in the sap millions of years ago and today scientists can extract DNA from these samples. It’s just like Jurassic Park!! This was a fantastic kit and I highly recommend it. You can find The Prehistoric Amber Activity Kit at Nature Watch Even my 15-year-old, who has lost interest in our typical hands-on projects, asked to join this activity and really loved it. In fact, it was in his sample we found a prehistoric bug!

You can also find more Nature-Watch kits videos here.


Ending a main lesson block or unit study is bittersweet. There’s excitement to move on, but sometimes there’s a longing to continue the unit just a bit longer. This time around, though we didn’t finish all we wanted to do, we did accomplish a lot and thoroughly enjoyed the activities we did. I’m showing you the materials we used for our Mineralogy Main Lesson block. I’m using the Live-Education Waldorf inspired homeschool curriculum as a guide and I’m supplementing with a variety of Charlotte Mason inspired living books (as well as some not-so-living books), projects, kits and activities. I have a few resource materials for additional information. The latest book I’m finding especially helpful is by Chris Novak Geology and Astronomy which is fantastic and I highly recommend it.

You can see the complete playlist of all the projects we did for our Mineralogy Main Lesson Block including the video in which I show you the materials we plan to use and how we put together out lessons.


Geology

Welcome to the geology portion of this blog post! The geology unit was started in 2015 and completed in 2016.

You can see all the materials we are using for this unit, by clicking here. I’ve included links to all the books, kits and projects, as well as pictures of each, a small description and grade level.

Here’s the process I go through when I put together a unit:

First I decide what we are going to study. I use the Waldorf curriculum from Live-Education as our default curriculum, so if I’m at a loss, I can always refer back to it as inspiration. You can choose a topic you are interested in, or you can expand on something in your current curriculum and turn it into a unit.

Next, I figure out what materials I already have that I can use for the unit. I check our personal library, our games, or other materials. Occasionally, I check the local library, but often, I find it easier to own our own material.

After I figure out what we have, I figure out what we want. I love Rainbow Resource and Acorn Naturalists. They have some of the most inspiring material available. I fill a cart or wishlist with everything I want, then I whittle it down.

Once I receive all my material, I sit down with it and a pad of full sticky-back Post-its and a pencil and begin the preliminary lesson planning. I look through all the materials and figure out which books I’m going to read to the kids, which books they are going to read to themselves independently and when we are going to do projects. I figure out which supplements or materials I’ll need and make a mental note to collect or buy them. I also check to see if there are any field trips or other activities or classes that might enhance the unit. I also figure out how long the unit is going to take. Either I set a number of weeks and work the material into that set amount of time, or I decide how many weeks I think the material will take to cover.

Finally, I take all that planning and transcribe into my weekly lesson plan. I use an Excel spreadsheet for my lesson planning. I’ve used the same format for many years, and while it makes sense to me, I think there might be other formats that work as well or better. I usually write up and print out my weekly lesson plans the Sunday before the week begins, so that if there are changes that need to be made or if we don’t get to something, I can easily roll it over to the following week, rather than change all the subsequent weeks.


6-week plan

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week 2
007
Week 3
018
Week 4
026
Week 5
030
Week 6
023
Additional resources for Grade 9

Excavating Rocks | Geology

We love our hands on projects and this time we are trying out a new company and their innovative kits. Recently, Excavating Adventures reached out to me to see if I would like to try their products. These are just the kinds of kits we normally buy and love so I said yes because we had run out of educational funding for that semester. I’m glad we took them up on their offer because we love these kits and are adding them to our wishlist for next semester. What’s especially wonderful about these kits is that you get a lot of high quality specimens per kit, plus get trading cards, a display case and a special added bonus item in every kit. Another quality that I love about these kits is that you can get the monthly subscription, so each month, you can have another hands on excavating adventure.


Layers Of The Earth | Geology

We are working on our geology unit and finding inspiration for projects from Barbara Taylor’s book Mountains and Volcanoes.
Today’s project is a layered earth using modeling beeswax by Stockmar. You can find this at A Child’s Dream.
You can see this in my recent homeschool haul.

We began by warming the wax in our hands; it was easy because the weather is warm. We rounded up a yellow ball to represent the inner core then wrapped the orange ‘outer core’ around it. We added the mantle in red-orange. We wrapped the whole thing in a thin layer of blue, topped each end with clear white to represent the poles and finally added the continents in green. The kids worked on this while I read aloud Journey to the Center of the Earth to them. I thought it was an appropriate companion to our geology unit.

We cut open our wax earth using a serrated knife the following day when the wax had cooled down. It had become deformed from resting on its side the whole day. Cutting it open was not as hard as I expected, and the reveal was pretty exciting.

Though our layers were grossly out of proportions, the demonstration was very valuable in understanding what’s inside our planet.

Please note that this is not a Waldorf project, even though we are using modeling beeswax.

Duration: 25 minutes
Cost: $5
Grades: all
Level: Easy


Geology Lapbook | Tutorial

For our geology unit, this lapbook is the culmination of most of our work. My 5th grader still wrote daily narrations, but no information stuck as well as what he learned and relearned to make this lapbook. Though it took far longer than I expected, it turned our far better than I hoped. I made extensive use of my Silhouette Cameo to cut everything from the planet and the continents to the titles and the volcanoes. My 5th grader designed all the volcanoes and rocks using the Silhouette Cameo program. I made the titles. This project needed a lot of prep work on my part. I assembled the lapbook so that it would open up to reveal the pages in a fold out manner.

On the outside we have the earth with the continents (not to scale), but when you lift up the earth, the interior of the earth and all its layers is to scale. It was especially informative to see how little the crust is when the mantle is layered on top. Only a sliver shows even though I used the largest depth for the crust at 25 miles. Each layer opens up to reveal the outer core and inner core. On each layer, my 5th grader wrote information about the layers of the earth.

geology-lapbook-002

Opening the lapbook reveals another planet earth, but this one’s in a pocket I designed using the Silhouette Cameo and a 12×12″ inch sheet protector I cut down and fused into a pocket using the We R Memory Keepers Fuse Tool. Inside this pocket is another set of continents you can remove and manipulate to form Pangea.

geology-lapbook-003

Opening the flaps of the lapbook reveal the erupting volcano with a fold out volcano that shows what the volcano looks like on the inside as well as a narrative on erupting volcanoes. The poison gas is a moveable feature that can be moved up and down to show the volcano is erupting.

geology-scarf-031

On the side flaps are a volcano and a mountain. The bottom flap shows the magma chamber which is connected to the erupting volcano. The flaps are connected by a piece of paper with the three types of rocks sliding up and down to show the rock cycle.

geology-lapbook

The backside of each flap shows a different type of volcano, with the backside showing a tidal wave being caused by an island volcano which has erupted and left a caldera.

geology-scarf-029

We started our geology unit mid August, we started this project in September, but didn’t work on it in October. We finished it up in mid November. I almost quit this project before we even started, but since I mentioned it in a video, I felt obligated to give it a try. I’m so happy I did because we (both my 5th grader and I) love how the project turned out.

We were also inspired to do a good job when recently I needed to reorganize the school room and we came upon our old main lesson books dating back 10 years. We used to do such a good job! So we didn’t want to leave this project without giving it our all, so that down the line, we can look back and appreciate this project all the more.


How to Make Fold Mountains | Geology Unit

This is a super easy, super affordable and very educational activity. We were inspired by the  book Mountains and Volcanoes by Barbara Taylor, but took the project one step further by gluing the layers of paper together to make it a permanent ‘fold mountain’. We also did the activity using very thin modeling beeswax by Stockmar from A Child’s Dream.

The supplies you’ll need for this project are a pair of scissors or a paper trimmer, several sheets of construction paper, glue, paint brush, binder clips and a rubber band.

Directions:
Cut the paper into 2″ strips. Layer like colors colors together. layer about 30-40 sheets together. Optional: layer in some crystals to represent fossils. Add glue to each layer and the tops and sides. Use the binder clip to hold the paper in place and use the rubber band to fold the paper into a ‘fold mountain’. Let it dry overnight or several hours in the sun. Remove binder clips and the mountain should stay as it is.

Duration: 30 min. plus 4 hours to dry
Cost: $1
Grade level: all


How To Make Pangaea | Geology Unit

I’m going to show you two ways to demonstrate how the continents once belong to one supercontinent Pangaea.

For this project you will need:
An atlas or printables of the continents:

7-Continents-Map-Coloring-Example
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Transparency paper:

005 004
Sharpie or permanent marker and scissors

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Trace the continents and cut them out of the transparency paper, or cut them out of the printables. I find it easier to separate each continent. Shift them together to form the supercontinent.

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Own a Silhouette Cameo? Download the cutfile here.


Growing Crystals | Earth Science Unit

Our latest Dig! Discover and Display kit is not just for excavating crystals and rocks, it’s for growing crystals, too! Each kit comes with two packets of mono-ammonium phosphate. Some packets of salt are dyed with food coloring to mimic crystals found in nature; however, each crystal structure is the same, forming tetragonal crystals. The dye actually washing off the crystals, so if you are not careful when removing the crystals, you might get dye on your hands or clothing, or it might mostly wash away if you run the crystals under water.  It’s also imperative that you follow the direction precisely or your crystals may not grow. Though we warmed our water to the correct temperature, it’s possible some of our crystals didn’t grow as spectacularly as the clear ones because by the time we worked on those crystals the water had cooled down and didn’t adequately dissolve the crystal granules as thoroughly as the first batch. We also used glass jars and plastic beakers to grow our crystals rather than clear empty two-liter bottles as recommended in the directions.  Our choices made it harder to see the crystals growing and harder to get the crystals out of the containers. In the end, the clear crystals seemed to grow the best, but the yellow ones were the thickest. The blue ones made a poor showing and the pink ones were pretty nice. Overall, we all enjoyed the whole process.

Crystal Excavation Kit | Earth Science

I was surprised at how nice these rocks and crystals were. They are beautiful, polished and from around the world. You also get a lot of specimens! Fifteen in total. This kit was great for kids 5-13 years of age, however, the crystal growing part of this kit needs adult supervision and you can see that in a separate video.

Some of the samples were petrified wood, amethyst, quartz and tiger eye. Some of our favorites were green and yellow calcite from Mexico, the pyrite from Peru and quartz from Brazil. The obsidian is one to watch for because it can break to a sharp point. The selenite Rose from Mexico was outstanding and in both kits looked really good and measured about 3/4″. You can find this kit at Amazon and Rainbow Resource.


Mixing Vinegar & Chalk | Geology Unit

We got the inspiration for this project from the book Mountains and Volcanoes by Barbara Taylor. However, we didn’t have naturally occurring chalk to perform the demonstration properly, so we improvised and used baking powder and baking soda as an alternative. While the results were dramatic, we were still interested in finding out if chalkboard chalk is indeed naturally occurring chalk, so we tried this project one more time and this time we crushed the chalkboard chalk. The results were the same: barely any bubbles. We finally determined that our chalkboard chalk is indeed gypsum.

If you have natural chalk, I encourage you to try this out!

Duration: 20-30 minutes (including set up and clean up)
Level: easy
Grades: all


How To Make A Geyser | Geology Unit

Geology is one of my favorite sciences. We are using the book Mountains and Volcanoes by Barbara Taylor as inspiration and today we are going to make a geyser.

I made a geyser based on the instructions is the book several years ago and it worked! Today I’ll make another one for this tutorial and sadly it won’t work 🙁

I’m not sure why the second one didn’t work. Maybe the pin-hole was too small, maybe there was an air leak or maybe a straw isn’t the right material. I do know that the wax began to melt and drip into the water at which point I took it out of the warm water bath.

Supplies:
Glass jar with lid
Straw or glass pipette
Hammer and nail
Food coloring
Bowl of hot water
Wax or clay to seal cracks

Duration: 30 minutes
Cost: Less than $2
Grade level: All


Discovering Dinosaur Fossils

The Dinosaur Excavation kit from Excavating Adventures is one of the most creative kits we used. Each month (if you are doing the monthly subscription kit), you get a different kit to excavate and explore. What’s unique is that each excavation kit is in a different material. The kits we’ve used and loved in the past (primarily from Dig, Discover and Display among others) have been set in plaster. While plaster may seem more appropriate of a material to excavate through to give a more authentic feel to being a paleontologist, having each kit in a unique material adds to the excitement and experience of the kit. The dinosaur kit comes in a gooey slimy material which is interesting tactile. While I did like the kinetic sand of the seashell kit (super creative!), I didn’t like the texture of the slime. My 14-year-old excavated this kit and he didn’t mind the slime and used the tools (as well as our own) provided.


Simple Geology Activity | The Mantle and Magma | Earth Science

For our geology unit, we are using the book Mountains and Volcanoes by Barbara Taylor as inspiration for projects, activities and experiments.

This simple low-cost/no-cost project was fast, thrilling, informative and easy.

  • Materials:
  • One large glass jar
  • One small glass jar
  • Water
  • Food coloring
  • Tongs
  • Pan to heat water
  • Optional: ice

Directions:

  1. Fill the large jar with cool water.
  2. Put about 10 drops of food coloring in the small jar.
  3. Fill the small jar with hot water and descend it into the large jar.
  4. Watch and be amazed!

Alternative:

  1. Fill large jar with warm water
  2. Fill small jar with ice water and food coloring
  3. Descend small jar into large jar being very mindful that you don’t tip the small jar

Alternative 2:

  1. Fill the large jar with yellow dyed water
  2. Fill the small jar with blue or red dyed water
  3. Watch the magic of mixing primary colors!
  • Duration: 15 minutes
  • prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cost: less than $2
  • Grade level: all
  • Rated: 4 stars (1-4)

I highly recommend this project because of it effectively demonstrated how heat rises.


What’s Inside Geodes? | Geology

This has been our funnest project this year. We loved it! This kit perfectly accompanies a geology or earth science unit. We picked up Break Open Real Geodes from Rainbow Resource. This one came with 15 premium geodes. Unlike some other kits which only come with a few or lower quality geodes that don’t have stellar crystal growth, this one had some amazing specimens. The kit also comes with an activity guide, eye safety goggles, three display stands and a magnifying glass.

Come find me on Instagram where I post our projects almost daily!


DIY Rock Display | Geology Unit

For our geology unit, we excavated igneous rocks from a ‘volcano’ excavation kit. There were six rock specimens to find from a possible 12 samples. Once my 5th grader excavated the rocks, we decided to make a display for them as a way to showcase the rocks and to keep them from getting lost.


Volcano Excavation Kit | Geology Unit

For our geology unit, we excavated igneous rocks from a ‘volcano’ excavation kit. There were six rock specimens to find from a possible 12 samples. Once my 5th grader excavated the rocks, we decided to make a display for them as a way to showcase the rocks and to keep them from getting lost.


Rock Excavation Kit | Earth Science

This was one fun rock and crystal excavation kit! My five-year-old daughter liked it so much, she asked to do another one. She treasures the rocks and crystals that came in this kit.

This was a little difficult for her to do because she got tired of excavating after about 20-30 minutes and needed quite a bit of help. She didn’t want to stop though because the thrill of finding these polished rocks and crystals was just to great.

This kit is unique from other excavation kits we’ve done in the past because you are excavating five of sixteen different rock specimens, so it’s pretty exciting digging them up. The rocks in this kit are also polished, which is different from other kits where the rocks may be unpolished.

My daughter liked this one so much, she asked to do another one. However, we all ended up excavating the rocks for her! She just wanted the rocks! She does love them, and we are looking for a way to display them for her.

The most exciting specimen was an amethyst crystal, but all of them were nice.

You can find this kit and more at Rainbow Resource.


DIY Archaeology Kit | How to Make an Excavation Block

DIY excavation kits are super easy! All you need is some Plaster of Paris, a mold and some treasures to hide. We’ve been using these store bought kits in our homeschool for several years now, and I’m thrilled to be finally making them ourselves.

Here’s what you need: Plaster of Paris (we got ours from Rainbow Resource). You need quite a bit of it, so if you plan to make a lot or make them bigger than ours, but 2-3 boxes. Soap mold, and some mixing beakers. We got ours from Acorn Naturalist. I think one a little bit bigger might have been better Mixing beakers. If you use paper cups, use a clean one each time you mix plaster)


Geology Excavation Kit | Metamorphic, Sedimentary and Igneous Rocks

The short answer is yes, they are worth it. The long answer would depend on whether or not you enjoyed a little DIY. You can certainly make your own rock excavation kit with a little plaster of Paris, a box and some rocks to embed in the plaster. If you are not a do-it-yourselfer then these kits from Rainbow Resource are perfect.
This one was especially nice because the block is shaped like a piece of land with ‘mountains’ and layers of rock to indicate where you might find the different types of rocks: metamorphic, igneous and sedimentary.

My nine-year-old really enjoyed this kit. It took him about two hours to complete. He did pull out some of our excavation tools from previous excavation kits, and he also cut small squares and numbered them as he discovered rocks. The samples were a very nice assortment of unpolished rocks.

Duration: 2 hours
cost: $15
Level: ages 7-12
Subject area: geology and archaeology


Volcano Kit | Earth Science

I admit that I have not done too many volcano projects with my kids over the years. In part it’s because I have reservations doing a chemistry experiment as part of a geology unit. Volcanic eruptions are nothing like the reaction between an acid and base, but I do confess, they are spectacular to do and oh so much fun. I picked up this kit Scientific Explorers All About Volcanoes from Tuesday Morning deeply discounted at only $4.00. I looked for more, but only found one. If you happen to shop there, I’d recommend checking the toy section for some fabulous finds on educational toys.

This kit came with a sturdy plastic mold with seven volcanoes modeled after real volcanoes. After painting and assembling the tubing, we set to work identifying each volcano using the included booklet for information and clues to determine which volcanoes were on the mold. This part was more challenging than I expected and at first, I was annoyed that a schematic of  plastic mold with the volcanoes already identified wasn’t provided. But, in the end, I was thankful that we had to do the work to figure it out. My 10 year old son and I worked on this project together with my five year old daughter helping with the painting. I highly recommend this kit in part because the mold was designed to represent real volcanoes.

I am very pleased with the outcome of the project and was impressed with the quality and durability of the kit. The booklet also has information on volcanoes, how they are formed and the different types and how to identify them. This was useful and practical information for the construction of the kit and really brought to life some of the information we’d been learning about volcanoes for the past several weeks.



Curriculum Review | Geology

When putting together our unit study for geology, I assembled a variety of books, kits and projects. While we loved most of the activities and kits, the books we chose weren’t as successful. We read a lot. And most books were informative but not captivating. My 5th grader probably read 40 books in total (including the ones I read aloud to him), and yet nothing seemed to stick as well as the geology lapbook we did at the conclusion of our unit study and the earth scienceProfessor Noggins game we played throughout our unit. The activities we did were fun and informative, but I don’t think we learned too much more than the rock cycle and a smattering of info on volcanoes and the layers of the earth. To remedy this mediocre attempt at geology, I plan to do a follow up unit in the spring. This spring unit will only be about two weeks and will be a way to focus what learned (or should have learned) in this unit.

You can find a complete list of the materials we used along with pictures and lesson plans by clicking here.

 


Kits, projects and workbooks: Resource List


11 thoughts on “Mineralogy, Geology and Earth Science

  1. I love all of the materials and ideas that you share. Thank you! I am trying to find and order a book that you list for your week 5 unit study–Planet Earth. Is there an author listed? Or can you give me the ISBN number so that I can find it? That particular book looks like exactly what I have been searching for. Thank you again.

    1. Sure thing Janna, it’s Planet Earth Paperback – January 1, 1998
      by Ian James (Author), Andrew Farmer (Illustrator).

  2. Salaam Hana – Great resources & videos! Thank you for sharing…your lessons are always inspiring and motivating! I had a peek at your lesson plans and noticed you are using an Islamic option for English & Grammar. If you can please share what you are using for that, as well as what resources you are using for seerah (I also saw on your lesson plan ;), I would appreciate it – JAK!

    1. Ah Tasha! Our Language Arts curriculum using Seerah and Companions’ stories is still not edited for public use yet. I’m so sorry.

  3. Hello! (: I really like how you do your history and science units/Main Lessons but I’m a little confused when looking at your lesson plans linked above, do you always do history even when your main lesson is for science? And vice verse if the main lesson was for History you’d still do something on a smaller scale for science?

    I’ve been watching your new videos as well and it seems you do history units in the winter and science units in the Spring pretty much? So I had thought that meant you stopped doing one or the other depending on which subject was your main lesson.

    I’m drawing from you for inspiration for our own science and history studies so I’m curious if you still do one of the subjects on a smaller scale while the other one is your active main lesson or you just exclude that smaller subject until you get to the season/lesson block when you make it a main lesson.

    Thanks for be such an awesome person!

    1. Thank you for your question! So you are correct, we tend to do our history in the winter and science in the spring and usually we are not including history with science unless it’s a biography or something relevant with the science we are studying. And likewise we are not typically adding science with our history unless I’ve specifically added a science book that’s relevant like doing Archimedes’ science demonstrations during our Ancient Rome unit. Of course, you may add more variety to your lessons to include more diversity in subjects. Also when we do a unit study we do more variety and when we do a Waldorf main lesson block, we concentration on the subject at hand with more focus.

  4. You are so genius! Now I’m watching your geology projects. It’s so gorgeous. Thank you for sharing.

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