Pedagogy in Action > Library > Games > Examples > Rock/Mineral Scavenger Hunt

Rock/Mineral Scavenger Hunt

Rebecca Teed (SERC)
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This resource received an Accept or Accept with minor revisions rating from a Panel Peer Review process

These materials were reviewed using face-to-face NSF-style review panel of geoscience and geoscience education experts to review groups of resources addressing a single theme. Panelists wrote reviews that addressed the criteria:

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  3. pedagogical effectiveness
Reviewers rated the resources:
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  3. Accept with major revisions, or
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They also singled out those resources they considered particularly exemplary, which are given a gold star rating.

Following the panel meetings, the conveners wrote summaries of the panel discussion for each resource; these were transmitted to the creator, along with anonymous versions of the reviews. Relatively few resources were accepted as is. In most cases, the majority of the resources were either designated as 1) Reject or 2) Accept with major revisions. Resources were most often rejected for their lack of completeness to be used in a classroom or they contained scientific inaccuracies.


This page first made public: Sep 13, 2006

This material was originally created for Starting Point:Introductory Geology
and is replicated here as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service.

Summary

After some lab work teaching students to identify rocks and minerals from specimens, divide them into teams, and take them to a field site where you know what they are likely to find. Give them a time limit and list of rocks and/or minerals to find, ideally one they cannot complete within the time limit if you want competition between teams. Remind the students to use teamwork: have some students searching for items, and others using books to confirm identifications. Keep an eye on the students and discourage any unsafe behavior or scavenging off of other teams (threaten to dock points if need be).

Learning Goals

This exercise motivates students to work together to find and identify rocks and minerals (other other kinds of objects if appropriate). It's especially useful if you want your students to hunt for the objects they should be able to identify, rather than simply being shown them.

Context for Use

The students should have a good background in rock/mineral ID before the game.

Description and Teaching Materials

Make sure that the students are well-equipped before they go out into the field. Wet-weather gear is a good precaution. Rock hammers, hand lenses, and field guides are essential. Depending on the nature of the local geology, other identification equipment (such as acid bottles, scratch plates) may be useful.

Teaching Notes and Tips

The most likely cheat will be for students to carry pre-identified specimens into the field and try to turn them in for points. Also discourage students from following other teams around to try and scavenge their finds.

This game would probably work even better for plant identification than for rock-hunting.

Assessment

Set a minimum number of finds (perhaps including certain required rocks) for full credit. Most teams should be motivated to exceed that total.

References and Resources

Geology Explorer: Planet Oit Information (more info) is a virtual prospecting game that will help students prepare for the Rock/Mineral Scavenger Hunt. If they do both, tell them to think of this game as live-action Oit.

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