From makeup to medicine, elementary students discover minerals with COM Geology Club

From the wispy hairs of a woolly mammoth to the porous rock formed in lava, geology came to life for fourth grade students at K.E. Little Elementary.

To encourage careers in science, College of the Mainland Geology Club demonstrated how minerals are used in everyday products such as talc in baby powder or calcite in antacid.
 
“The mineral found in makeup is mica,” explained COM Geology Club president Valarie Robson, holding up an eyeshadow. “The reason it’s sparkly is because of the mica. Mica is shiny and easy to break up.”
 
During hands-on activities, the club also demonstrated how types of rock formed and displayed fossils.
 
“We learned that these rocks were made a long time ago,” said student Lori Reyes, 9. “I want to be a geologist (after) learning about these fossils. I might be a geologist for a couple years and then be a teacher.”
 
Exploring minerals of all textures and uses, students wrote their names with graphite, watched dilute acid cause calcite to bubble, connected magnets to magnetite and viewed iridescent copper ore.
 
“It’s all kinds of colors and it’s pretty,” said student Emma Carden about her favorite mineral, copper ore.
 
The event was the sixth time the club taught third and fourth graders at the elementary school.
 
“Kids are engaged, and they can touch and feel everything,” said Robson, whose son attends second grade at the school. “They ask questions.”
 
The project is part of the club’s outreach goal to educate students about geology and geology careers.
 
“We’re not trying to substitute class but reinforce it,” said COM geology professor and club advisor Dr. Veronica Sanchez. “The entire time, kids are asking things. We let them experiment.”
 
For more information, contact Sanchez at vsanchez3@com.edu. 

Stay Connected with COM: