Monday, November 30, 2009


A couple of weeks ago we finished our 3-week geology class. We had 7 children participating besides my 3 kids. We looked at different rocks and minerals, used books to identify some, and even tasted one (halite, otherwise known as rock salt). We went to the Hutchings Museum where we had a wonderful personalized tour. We broke open geodes (small ones) and looked at fossils. One of the activities my kids liked was our homemade seismograph.

We got the idea from the book Geology Rocks! We used a rolling pin with paper taped around it, a cardboard box the right size to hold it, a pencil, and a nice wobbly card table. In the picture, Mike is holding the pencil steady while A. turns the rolling pin, and T. has his favorite job, shaking the card table to simulate an earthquake. Needless to say, our earthquakes went way off the Richter scale as the table-shakers got wilder and wilder.

We borrowed an amazing "Teaching Toolbox" from the Utah Museum of Natural History. It had around 20 rock samples -- big ones we could hold and examine -- along with reference books, magnifying glasses, and an activity kit we used to test minerals for conductivity. It's a great resource they offer free to teachers and homeschoolers. When it was time to return it, my kids and I stayed to see the museum, since it was a free day (free admission the first Monday of every month). It had been several years since we'd gone there.

We always have to stop outside the museum to look at the sundial.

T. likes to feed pennies to the dinosaur in the lobby and listen to it growl "THANK YOU!"

M. is getting tall -- taller than me, now -- but she's still not up to this Brontosaurus's knee.

There's a new sand and water table at the museum. My kids love to play with these forever, or at least until I tell them we have to go. I'm not sure if they're really learning much about rivers and erosion, but does it matter? They're busy, happy, and not arguing. Next time I should bring a book and let them shape their riverbeds for as long as they want.

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