I'll tell you straight up that this post contains affiliate links. To read more about my affiliate disclosure read HERE but please know that I only share with you products that I think you will love just as much we do! So we've gone gold panning, done excavations and other geology activities before but THIS activity has been deemed by my kiddos to be "THE BEST ROCK ACTIVITY WE'VE EVER DONE!" Seriously, this was one of those amazing things that they just kept talking about long after the 'lesson' had been finished. I love to see infectious learning and this had all the signs of it right here! There were "ooh's" and "aaaah's", laughs and chats too!
Maybe it's because my kiddos LOVE playing Minecraft but geology has recently taken on a new meaning for them. They are loving all things rocks and minerals and so I was chuffed when we received our Rocky River Mining Pay Dirt bags in the mail (3 days from my first message to RRM to receiving them at home! Wow! So impressed by the delivery time alone!) We began by setting up as suggested: we used a clear tub for each child so they could see the dirt dissolving into the water. We also used metal sieves (from Woollies) and found it helpful to have a spare bucket, clean water and paper towel on hand to wash the rocks in too.
Here's a little vid we made of the kiddos enjoying sifting through the dirt and discovering the gemstones! Music: 'Landras Dream' Musician: music by audionautix.com
And there were waaaaay more gemstones than we thought there would be! The kids kept pulling them out, cleaning them off and checking their identification charts to see which types they were.
There were lots of conversations about comparisons to the ores in minecraft which was very interesting to listen to. If you aren't sure which Minecraft gems are real, you can watch THIS video together or you can check out THESE information sheets put out by GEOSCIENCE AUSTRALIA.
Each child washed their gems and enjoyed looking at the lustre and shape of each gem.
The kiddos followed instructions, observing and identifying gems as they went.
And as we were working, we observed that there was sediment forming in the bottom of the tub. We have recently been learning and singing our 'rocks' song (another song I wrote years ago to introduce the idea of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rock to the kiddos) and they began singing the song spontaneously! We could easily observe small pieces of rock as well as sand in layers below the water. We talked about how it had settled there due to atomic density.
So apart from this being an exciting activity, let's look at how something like this could meet some of the learning outcomes.
What my kids did: * Chatted with each other and with me about different aspects of the activity and then talked together comparing their finds and how different or similar things were to Minecraft*
What are they learning? Here's an example of how Stage 1 English outcome could be covered: My child communicates with a range of people in informal and guided activities demonstrating interaction skills and considers how her own communication is adjusted in different situations.
Or Ezekiel identifies and discusses aspects of his own and others’ learning using this fun activity of rock mining.
What my kids did: *Used the identification chart with the table to look at the gems they had*
What are they learning? Here's an example of how a Stage 2 Mathematics outcome could be covered:
Zippi selects appropriate methods to collect data, and constructs, compares, interprets and evaluates data displays including tables and picture graphs.
What my kids did: *Looked at the different rocks comparing them to each other*
What are they learning? Here's an example of how a Stage 2 Science and Technology outcome could be covered: Zeeki compares features and characteristics of non-living things.
What my kids did: *Decided that filling up the buckets would be easiest if they carried them to the tap because it would take too long to carry a small jug back and forth between the tap and the bucket on the table.*
What are they learning? Here's an example of how a Stage 3 Mathematics outcome could be covered.
Zippi selects and uses the appropriate unit to estimate, measure and calculate volumes and capacities, and converts between units of capacity.
What my kids did: *Followed instructions on how to complete the activity*
What are they learning? Here's an example of how a Stage 4 Science and Technology outcome could be covered.
Zeeki follows a sequence of instructions to safely undertake a range of investigation types, collaboratively and individually.
Such an educational activity with awesome outcomes but the best part? The kids were just having fun and were thanking me for helping them delve deeper into their interest of Minecraft. So if you have an eager Minecrafter, this might be a homeschooling activity to keep up your sleeve! You can find ROCKY RIVER MINING HERE ONLINE or you can visit them on FACEBOOK HERE or INSTAGRAM HERE.
Again, thank you RRM for the fantastic fun. It was just what our kiddos needed!
Ps: If you have a go with this, let me know! And please share your photos in our THL FB COMMUNITY HERE.