The Nittany Lion looks out from a 
Central Pennsylvania doubly terminated quartz crystal.  Artwork © John Passaneau.
Nittany Mineralogical Society, Inc.
State College, Pennsylvania

Minerals Junior Education Day
Co-sponsored by NMS and
Bald Eagle Chapter of Gold Prospectors Association of America
Junior Museum of Central Pennsylvania
Penn State Earth & Mineral Sciences Museum

       HOME PAGE        MORE LINKS     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, and fossils. At this event, kids get an empty egg carton when they check in, then go to a series of stations; for example, topics in 2014 were:
- gold panning by GPAA,
- gemstone identification,
- invertebrate fossils (shells),
- vertebrate fossils (bones),
- bedrock geology of Pennsylvania,
- fluorescence (glow in the dark),
- mineral fiber optics.
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. 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.




A crystal structure station at the 2008 event. Photo by R. Altamura.

See Penn State Live's photos of our 2009 event
(the site will take a while to load, but the professional photographs are worth it).

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:

  • Gold Panning
  • Natural Glass in Rocks
  • Grinding Spheres
  • Earthquakes
  • Fossil Shells
  • Fossil Bones
  • 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
  • Polarized light
  • Light in Gemstones: Iridescence
  • Piezeoelectricity
  • Fossil shells
  • Fossil bones
  • Gold panning
  • 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
  • Iceland spar
  • Gold panning
  • Fossil shells (invertebrates)
  • Fossil bones (vertebrates)
  • Sphere grinding machine
  • Microscopic minerals

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)
  • Iron ore and ironmaking, with local history
  • Gold panning
  • Fossil shells (invertebrates)
  • Fossil bones (vertebrates)
  • Crystal measurements
  • Crystal structure viewed in 3-D
  • Fiber optics in minerals
  •          plus a sales table at kid-friendly prices.



©2014 Nittany Mineralogical Society, Inc.          Page last modified 5 April 2014          webmaster