Wednesday, April 25, 2007

We are done!

Today was Geology Day! We finished the requirements for the Webelos geology activity badge. Woohoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We are done! That was the last badge they had to earn to receive all their compass points. The final hurrah is the April pack meeting because their birthdays are coming up soon!

For their geology pin, the boys researched all kinds of minerals (love you, Wikipedia!), learned about the Mohs hardness scale, guesstimated where the minerals that were used to build our house fall on the hardness scale, learned about the 4 precious gemstones (not required), and drew pictures of volcanoes with an explanation of what makes them erupt.

Did you know that the 4 precious gemstones are diamond (of course!), ruby, sapphire, and emerald? And that emerald is the softest of the four? It falls on about 7.5 - 8 on the Mohs hardness scale, ruby and sapphire are at 9, and diamonds are something like 9 times harder than anything else at a 10. A fingernail is harder than talc. Sometimes I think the things you learn on the way to the things you are supposed to learn are the most fun! (I just learned that using an encyclopedia as your "only" source will often earn you a failing grade! Maybe that's why I rarely used encyclopedia's! Wikipedia includes color pictures though which is very helpful to those of us who are not geologists! And we didn't use it at all for things like the Mohs hardness scale although I just found some sources in it.)

Here's a quick definition of how hardness of minerals is rated:
"The hardness of a mineral is a measure of its ability to resist abrasion or scratching by other minerals or by an object of known hardness. A simple scale based on empirical tests has been developed and is called the Mohs Hardness Scale. The scale consists of 10 minerals arranged in increasing hardness with 1 being the softest. The 10 minerals selected to form the scale of comparison are listed above. Objects with higher values on Mohs' scale are capable of scratching objects with lower values. For example, a rock specimen that can be scratched by a copper coin but not by the fingernail is said to have a hardness of about 3. A rock specimen with a hardness of 5 or more is considered hard." (from here)

Dog Lover was mostly bored through all the geology studies. She asked to use the picnic hamper and went out back for a picnic. Then she did her own schoolwork. No piano practicing happened today. I think Monkey and I needed a break! Monkey did some of his regular schoolwork, and Dragon finished up his Artist requirements. (He wanted to redo two pictures he created on the computer.)

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