Friday, October 11, 2013

Geology ROCKS!

Outside of the museum there is a lovely rock garden. 
From Left to Right: Goethite, Bauxite, Gnesis, Jasper, Slate, Limestone
We continued our study of the Coming of the Universe with a trip to a science museum yesterday. It was so much fun and so interesting. We took this trip last year after doing the first Great Lesson and I knew we had to do it again this year. This particular museum has an extensive mineral collection, real meteorites you can touch, space related items, info on volcanos, and of course dinosaurs and fossils.

T(7) spent about an hour and a half at home watching two videos on netflix about volcanos while I took B (21mo) to her weekly toddler music class. My husband works from home so we are able to do this fairly easy. T really enjoyed the videos and they gave him a quick refresher on how volcanos work, where to find them (the ring of fire), rocks that form from lava, and of course interesting facts about how dangerous they can be when they erupt.

There was a cool model of the layers of the earth that the kids loved. Also if you look in the background of the photo below there is info on plate tectonics.

B has started a new fasciation with dinosaurs. Her big brother had a small collection of miniature dinosaurs that he collected from a local restaurant (from one of those little quarter machines). He recently passed them down to B and she loves them. She enjoys roaring every time she sees one or talks about one. She was quite impressed with the large dinosaur skeletons at the museum.

T enjoyed that dinosaurs but he was less impressed since it wasn't new to him. We were interested to see that on the walls there were some timelines of prehistoric life. They were not as detailed as the Montessori Timeline of Life but they gave a basic description at how life changed over time and the skeletons were arranged according to their time on the timeline.

My favorite part was the mineral collection. There is just something about looking at all those beautiful minerals on display. The colors are gorgeous and it still amazes me that they are all made by nature.

 They had an awesome visual Periodic Table of Elements. Each box had a description of the element and inside was an example of where you would find that element.

Of course, T found a box with Legos!

The element wasn't actually related to Legos at all, they just used Legos to build a model of lights for signs and signals where is where you would find Promethium.

Touching real Meteorites is always fun! Last year this little girl couldn't reach yet but she was thrilled that she could reach it this year

The kids favorite part was the area where they could pan for gemstones and dig for fossils. The gemstones are very small and polished and they just toss a bunch into the sand in this water mill system but the kids had a blast digging through it and collecting gemstones they were able to bring home. They also dug in the other room for fossils. They were each given a paintbrush to brush away the "dirt" to find hidden fossils. Each of us was allowed to bring home our favorite fossil. 

T chose a fish vertebra fossil, B chose an ammonite fossil and I chose a sea urchin fossil to bring home.

We go a nice selection of panned gemstones.

When you first walk into the museum there is a pendulum hanging in the front hall. It is called the Foucault's Pendulum. Over time it swings and knocks down the colored dominos.  If you click on the photo below you can see a description of how it works. The pendulum swings on the same plane and does not rotate. The floor rotates with the earth's rotation which makes the dominos move into that plane over time and the pendulum with knock them down. Where the pendulum is located affects how long it takes for the full circle to be completed. When exactly on the equator, there would be no rotation and only one domino on each side would be knocked down.

View of the pendulum when we arrived

View of the pendulum when we left

We brought a piece of an authentic meteorite home with us


  1. LOVE IT :) What a great day! Off to look for a rock garden in our area...

  2. Thank you! We had a fun time. I think all areas should have a rock garden, they are beautiful