HOUGHTON - Students in Shannon Lehto's fourth-grade class at Houghton Elementary School spent Tuesday afternoon getting psyched for science.
Special guest speaker Rachel Carpenter, Americorps member from the Western Upper Peninsula Center for Science, Mathematics and Environmental Education at Michigan Technological University, showed the two dozen students how to identify rocks using various methods of classification.
Students learned how to identify rocks by texture, cleavage (where it splits), luster (how the light bounces off the rock) and color.
Stacey Kukkonen/Daily Mining Gazette
Andra Campbell and Dawson McKay test a rock for hardness using various tools such as nails, pennies and pieces of glass in Shannon Lehto’s fourth-grade class at Houghton Elementary School Tuesday.
"Does this rock have good or poor luster?" she asked the class while holding up a rock for everyone to see.
The students were then separated into pairs and took turns with rocks where they had the opportunity to identify each. Using a penny, a nail, a piece of glass and either a crystal or a magnet the students took turns scratching the rocks as part of a classification method.
Student Will Stier held up a rock and asked if it was transparent.
"No, but can you see the light through it?" Carpenter asked. "Then it's translucent."
Students also learned the benefits of recording scientific data by writing down significant details about the rocks such as whether or not it has angular edges or cleavage.
"You guys are the geologists," Carpenter said. "Record to the best of your ability."
There was also an area on their sheets where the students could write distinguishing properties about each rock - if it had holes and if they were light, heavy or dense.
Students McKenzie Klein and Clayton Sayen said they had fun identifying different rocks.
"What should I scratch it with now?" Klein asked Sayen. "This is a lot of fun."
Stacey Kukkonen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.