Our annual Minerals Junior
Education Day is fun and rewarding for students in grades 1-8 and their
parents. They will learn about
minerals, crystals, gems, fossils, and earth science. At this event, kids get an empty
egg carton when they check in, then go to a series of stations;
these were presented in 2019:
- Gold panning by GPAA,
- Caves & karst by Lincoln Caverns,
- Petroleum drilling,
- Iron ore minerals and rocks & iron making,
- Grinding and polishing spheres,
- Invertebrate fossils (shells),
- From coal to diamonds,
- War paint: The streak,
- Sphere grinding machine,
- Ultraviolet fluorescence (glow in the dark),
- Mineral cleavage and fracture.
Students learn about the topic from a fun demonstration, activity or discussion, and receive
a properly labeled specimen related to the topic, so they gather a whole
collection in their egg carton. There is also a sales table with child-friendly prices - please bring cash! Everyone goes through at their own pace and
goes to the stations in the order they choose. Allow at least an hour and a half or two hours in total.
Registration is limited so that we may be sure of having enough specimens for all of the students.
The cost is $5.00 for each child. Parents come along for free, and help keep things under control, but don't get the specimens.
A crystal structure station at the 2008 event. Photo by R. Altamura.
The rest of this page is a report on events in past years.
In 2012, we had 192 children and many parents come through, and things seemed to go smoothly,
with lots of smiles. Sincere thanks go to all who volunteered to help present the event.
We do apologize for the unexpected charge for parking by Penn State,
because of the big gymnastics meet at nearby Rec Hall. We believe we know how to coordinate
with them to avoid that in the future. We hope to see you and your friends again next year!
The stations for 2012 were:
Natural Glass in Rocks
Fossil Plants & Petrified Wood
Varieties of Quartz
Our 2011 event went well, with about 254 children, plus their parents, in attendance.
That's up from the last two years and met our target of 250,
which allowed us to make good use of all the samples which we had prepared for handing out.
NMS is very grateful to our co-sponsors, donors, and volunteers who make the event possible;
I hope that I remembered all of them with thanks in the April 2011 NMS Bulletin.
The stations for 2011 were:
Rocks versus minerals
Light in Gemstones: Iridescence
Crystal growth of silver
THANK YOU to all volunteers and attendees for making our Minerals Junior
Education Day in 2010 a success! We had about 215 children participate.
The stations for 2010 were:
Mineral hardness and gemstone carving
Light in Gemstones: Chatoyancy and Asterism
Fossil shells (invertebrates)
Fossil bones (vertebrates)
Sphere grinding machine
We thank our co-sponsors, volunteers, and everyone who was involved with making our 2009 Minerals Junior Education Day a success.
We had a good time as 205 children, plus their parents, came through during the day to enjoy and learn.
The stations for 2009 were:
Gemstone properties, particularly dispersion of light (the "fire" in faceted gems)