Girl Scout Cadettes & Seniors Geology Activities
The following activities are taken from pages 56 and 57 of the Nature, Science, and Health portion of your book.
Skill Builders - do two activities.
1. Go on a day hike and examine the geology or archeology of the region: for example, streams, fossils, and rock formations. Make sketches or take photographs of the major environmental features.
Answer: What you will actually see during this exercise depends on where you live. Each area of the country has its own unique geographic and geologic features. All I can do is throw out some thoughts and examples for you in this exercise!
Plan and take a one-day group trip that lets you see some mountains, rivers, lakes, flat lands, canyons, beaches, rock formations or other features in your region. Take notes and photographs of the features. In your next meeting, show the pictures or sketches you made and talk about the various features you saw. Think about how each region is used by man. Is it principally used for farming, ranching, tree growth, recreation (camping, fishing, scenic beauty, hiking, etc.), housing, waste disposal, etc?
Discuss with the group your thoughts about land use planning. Think about the problems you might encounter with other people if you were a land-use planner.
Here in central Arkansas there are many places to see. For example, you could visit the mountainous region of the Ouachitas to the west or see flat cultivated fields to the east in the Gulf Coastal Plain. Or you might wish to visit a local State Park or the Arkansas River. There are both the Toltec Mounds State Park or Pinnacle Mountain State Park nearby. You could ride on the Interstate Highways a short distance out to the east or west, or north or south to see different land forms (mountains, valleys, flat lands, rivers, gently rolling hills, etc.). You can see many different types of rocks outcropping along the Interstate Highways including younger flat-lying sedimentary beds, older tilted and deformed sedimentary units of shale, sandstone, and chert, and even igneous rocks.
2. Grow your own crystals. Keep track of the crystal formation with sketches, descriptions or photographs. Here is one crystal-growing method to try. Dissolve an ounce of table salt or sugar in a half pint of boiling water. Pour the solution into a saucer or low dish. Let the solution evaporate for one or two days. Use magnifying instruments to analyze the crystal structure.
Answer: Assign one girl to do this exercise with sugar and another with salt. Then as a group activity you can compare the results of growing crystals. This is a fun activity, but I do not think the authors have given quite enough time for the water to evaporate. Give it several days and when the water is gone, look at the crystals in the saucer. If you used table salt (sodium chloride), then you should see small cubes have formed. If you used sugar, then you will get different shaped crystals as the final result. See also Growing Crystals
What has actually taken place during this exercise? First you have formed a solution by dissolving the sugar or salt in the hot water. Then as the water evaporates, the solution becomes saturated. As evaporation continues, small crystals begin to form or nucleate on dust particles that fall into the solution. If you had a way to cool the solution and evaporate some of the water, you could cause it to become supersaturated. Then the tiniest speck of dust falling into the solution will cause nucleation and the crystals to rapidly begin to form. Anyway, in a few days, as the solution in the saucer dries up, the crystals form. They have an orderly arrangement of atoms or molecules making them and that is what causes the distinctively different crystal shapes. The shapes you see are due to crystal faces and are not caused by breakage or some mechanical effect.
Now let's think about some crystals that grew in the ground. Our example is quartz crystal, a mineral that Arkansas is famous for. How did these crystals form? Hot water carrying dissolved silica (like our dissolved sugar or salt) passed through fractures in the ground until suitable sites were reached for nucleation to begin. The crystals began to grow by the addition of silica to the crystal until the water quit flowing or the silica ran out. Quartz crystals have their own distinctive crystal shapes, just as our sugar and salt crystals. Quartz crystal is a common enough mineral that you should be able to find a few to show the group.
Technology - do one exercise.
2. Put together a geologist's adventure kit that includes the equipment and tools geologists need in the field. Keep handy a list of the items in your kit for easy reference.
Consult Safety-Wise for safety rules when using tools or equipment. For example, wear protective goggles if you use a hammer or a chisel to crack open rocks.
Answer: Typical items a geologist takes with them to the field include a map and/or aerial photographs of the area to be visited, first-aid kit, a waterproof notebook, pencils, plastic or cloth sample sacks, an indelible marker, a geologist's hammer and chisel, a hand lens, an acid bottle, boots (rubber, hiking, steel-toe), hard hat, food snack box, seasonal clothing, brunton compass, jacob's staff and hand level, a wide brimmed hat, safety glasses, gloves, water container, raincoat, and a clipboard. In Arkansas, we also carry bug spray!
These items may be divided into two categories - those items peculiar to the needs of a geologist and those items which any outdoor scientist may use. See if you can divide them into the two groups. Explain the use of these items. See also Tools and How to Use Them
Service projects - do one item.
1. Set up a rock and mineral search for younger Girl Scouts at their meeting place. Buildings have many things in or around them that are made from minerals, rocks, petroleum, or coal. Make sure to include items on your list that fall into any of these categories.
Answer: The quickest way to find if an item is made from a non-renewable research is to ask if its basic material can be grown, like by a farmer. If not, then it most likely was mined or extracted from the ground. So let's think for a minute about building materials using our question as a criteria. Of the following materials in a building, which ones could be grown?
Cement, concrete, metal wiring, linoleum flooring, metal nails, wood framing, wood siding, wood paneling, sheet rock wall board, sheet rock mud compound, wooden chair, metal folding chair, aluminum siding, brick exterior, tile flooring, paint, plastic trim, plastic light switches, roof trusses, roofing materials, light bulb, window glass, window frames, ceramic bathroom fixtures, metal faucets, water supply lines, gas supply lines, heating and air conditioning system, doors, door locks and hinges, stainless steel kitchen sink, synthetic carpet, parquet wood flooring, (there may be other items that you can think of to add to this list).I will take this list and now tell you what the items are made from and if they are composed of non-renewable resources (those items mined or extracted from the earth).
Cement - made from limestone; mined.
Concrete - made from cement mixed with crushed rock or sand and gravel, mined.
Metal wiring - metal is copper; mined. Wire insulation is plastic; a product of petroleum extraction.
Linoleum flooring - a product made from petroleum mixed with clay and fine-grained crushed rock; mined and extracted.
Metal nails - Steel made from iron and manganese; mined.
Wood framing - Trees, particularly evergreens like pines; grown.
Wood siding - Trees, particularly evergreens, like pines, cedar, or cypress; grown.
Wood paneling - Trees, particularly hardwoods, like oak, walnut, mahogany; grown.
Sheet rock - a composite material made from gypsum; mined. And paper, made from trees, particularly pine; grown.
Sheet rock mud compound - made from gypsum; mined.
Wooden chair - Made from oak, ash, or hickory; grown. Look close because most chairs are held together with metal fasteners! Mined!
Metal folding chair - steel, mined as iron and manganese.
Aluminum siding - principally aluminum, metal; mined from the rock bauxite. May be painted, paints contain color pigments of various minerals; mined.
Bricks - made by baking clay; mined.
Tile flooring - made by baking clay; mined.
Paint - made by adding mineral-based coloring agents (pigments) to oil- or water-base compounds; mined or extracted. Paint fillers include clay or tripoli; mined.
Plastic trim - a product of petroleum; extracted.
Plastic light switch - plastic is a product of petroleum; extracted. Most light switches contain metal parts; mined.
Roof trusses - depending on the building may be wood held together with metal fasteners; grown and mined, or all steel; made of iron and manganese; mined.
Roofing materials - asphalt-based shingles are composed of a layer of crushed rock placed over asphalt; mined and extracted. Fiberglass shingles are composed of layer of crushed stone placed over a matte of fiberglass (made from sand); mined. Wood shingles are made from either cedar or white oak; grown. Ceramic tile roofing is made from fired clay; mined. Sheet metal roofing is made from steel coated with zinc; mined. All of these are applied with metal fasteners, like nails, screws, or staples; mined.
Light bulb - light bulbs contain an extraordinary number of mined materials: glass, several metals (copper, tungsten, lead, chromium), and an inert gas like nitrogen; extracted from the air.
Window glass - sand and soda ash; mined.
Window frames - aluminum; mined. Vinyl, a product of petroleum; extracted.
Ceramic bathroom fixtures - fired kaolin clay; mined.
Metal faucets - bronze or copper coated by chrome; mined.
Water supply lines - copper or plastic; mined or extracted.
Gas supply lines - iron or plastic; mined or extracted.
Heating and air conditioning system - unit itself contains numerous metals; mined.
Duct work either will be metal or metal lined with fiberglass; mined.
Doors - wooden; grown. Metal; mined. Painted; mined and extracted.
Door locks and hinges - metal; mined.
Stainless steel kitchen sink - metal; mined.
Synthetic carpet - most carpet now is made from man-made fibers that are products of petroleum; extracted. Rarely are carpets made from wool or natural fiber; grown.
Parquet wood flooring - oak; grown. So of these items, you can see the majority of building materials are mined!
Career Exploration - do one from the list.
1. Invite someone who works in a geology-related field to speak to your troop or group.
Ask the speaker to discuss the local geology of your area. What geologic hazards are faced by your local area and your state? What schooling is necessary to become a geologist? The speaker can also highlight specialty careers within geology, such as marine geology or hydrology. What other fields are involved and how?
Answer: This question is not too difficult to handle in that you will need to ask around to find a speaker. Probably a geologist would be best, but an archeologist or hydrologist would also do since they usually have some training in geology also.
A geologist should be able to easily answer the questions concerning schooling requirements, local and statewide geologic hazards, and what other fields overlap into the study of the earth. If you can not find a geologist, but invite a speaker from another field, be sure to tell them that the group wants to know how they use geology in their job.
There is a specification for 2 additional topics from the Digging through the Past chapter.
You will have to choose and do these yourself!
Have any pictures to share while you were working on your geology activies? Please send some to us!