Thursday, October 7, 2010

Minerals -- posted by John, George, and Richard

The purpose of this science experiment was to learn about the properties of different minerals. The minerals were Hematite, Magnetite, Calcite, Quartz, and Talc.

Minerals are inorganic. That means they come from nonliving sources. Also, minerals exist in one phase of matter, and that is a solid.

Another thing about minerals is that they have a certain crystal shape, and you can see that under a magnifying glass or a microscope. We had the salt out so we could see that it has a repeating pattern of cubes.

We pretended to be geologists and we put each mineral on a card and did some testing.

First, we did a streak test on a piece of tile to determine if the mineral was dark or light. Then, we did a hardness test to see if the mineral was hard or soft. We scratched the mineral with a #3 pencil, then a fingernail, a coin (which happened to be a Chinese coin for the fun of it), and an iron nail. If none of these scratched it, we tested if the mineral could scratch the glass.

Another test we did was to determine if the mineral was magnetic, and we bet you can tell from the names which one was! The Magnetite looked hairy with all the magnetic pieces sticking out.

The last test we performed was the test to see if the minerals could make a gas. We placed the minerals in a centimeter of vinegar and watched the Calcite make big bubbles of carbon dioxide.

Notice all those balloons in the slide show? Mom and Sarah got those for Billy's birthday since his parents came here to the "Land of the Free" on holiday, and Billy was at home without them on his birthday. They got stars because Billy likes looking at the sky. Spencer's birthday was the next day (9/22), so we tied them around his chair. Then we tied them around George's chair on his birthday (9/28). If they can make it until tomorrow, we'll tie them around Richard's chair and those balloons will do quadruple duty! There were also about six regular helium balloons, but they only lasted the first day. It sure did make a spectacular display for Billy's birthday video conference though.

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