Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Gem and Mineral Show

Yesterday was a field trip day.  We went to a gem and mineral show at the expo center.  It was fun!

We had to leave I2 home with Daddy because he wasn't feeling well.  But the rest of us hurried out the door early in the morning to make the drive to meet our homeschool group on time. 

There was an educational room set up for anyone who wanted to explore it.  We found information about rocks, gems, minerals, fossils, earthquakes, volcanoes, dinosaurs, and more.  My two little girls so enjoyed touching the beautifully polished examples of quartz, agates, amethysts, and iron pyrite.  They laughed at the fossilized dinosaur poop.  We spent a long time at the table that had dinosaur jokes. 

Their favorite was:  What do you call a dinosaur than never gives up? 

A try-try-try-ceratops. :)

Of course there was an abundance of opportunity to spend money. 

They each chose a polished rock for $.50.  A6 got a moss agate.  We're not sure what H4 got, but it's pretty. 

We went over to the geode table where I forked over $4 for them to choose a closed geode and watch it be cracked for them.  Ours produced a "duck your head" crack--very satisfying.  It was full of clear quartz, but because it wasn't really hollow with pretty crystal formations, the man at the table let them choose a pre-cracked geode that actually was pretty.  They got one with both quartz and  pyrite crystals.  They are keeping half of each geode, and they are incredibly proud of their possessions. 

The older kids found buddies in the group and wandered the show with their peers.  They checked in occasionally.

So the little girls and I continued our explorations and found that a local university had a display about paleo-pathology.  We saw a model dinosaur skull with a big hole in it where she'd been killed by something with a large horn.  I don't know that the girls cared so much, but I was fascinated.  I loved the kind, and knowledgeable volunteers who told stories geared right to their tiny audience and who offered free fossils for the girls to take home. 

I just wish I'd written down the name of the fossils because I can't remember now.

Neither can the girls.

There were life-sized dinosaur skeleton puppets "walking" around the room.  The operator of the puppets was kind.  His puppets pretended to eat the heads off fearless children, but either steered clear of or spoke gently to the ones who were terrified.  Eventually he got my frightened little girls to give one of the dinosaurs a "low five" and a "high two," pointing out that there were only 2 fingers on the front legs.

H4 fell in love with some tumbled agates.  She bought two at $.25 each--purchased with her own allowance money.  But A6 fell in love with a cross-cut piece of a mineral priced at $4.  I tried to point out some of the beautiful samples that had lower price tags, but her heart was set.  Something about the swirls feel of that rock spoke to her.  I said it would have to come out of her saved money at home, and she happily agreed.  The salesperson at the table witnessed the conversation and carefully wrapped A6's treasure so it would be safe.  He handed the package to her courteously, wishing her enjoyment of her purchase.  I think she floated the rest of the way through the day.

We found our older girls, and I told them that if they had a treasure that they really, really, really wanted I'd pay for $1 of it, and I'd advance them the rest if they paid me back at home.  They immediately asked for "rock candy." 

"No," I said.  "It should be a memento of the day."

I'd have taken them to get geodes, but none of them were interested.  I can't understand; I think geodes are cool!

M12 managed to find a commercial jewelry table and buy a necklace.  I tried to steer her toward a lovely polished mineral at a fraction of the price, but she was enamored of the glitz and sparkle she could have gotten at any local shop.

It's her money, and her love, and she's satisfied.

I guess I can't complain.

E14 chose a tiny jug of amethyst fragments for $1 and was content, but only because what she wanted was beyond her price range.  She has an eye for true beauty.

S11 chose a gorgeous cross-cut piece of rose quartz for $1 and was not actually content but willing to try to be.  I offered to advance her the money to buy something that really spoke to her heart, but when she stopped to listen to her heart, she realized she was just buying to buy, and she decided to enjoy her quartz.

I have to say, I'm impressed with her choice.

J10 found cut, polished, loose amethysts at $1 each.  She decided she needed 3 of them.  I could see how rich she felt holding those gems in her hands. 

In the car I asked, "Is anyone ready to study geology now?"

M12, A6 and H4 say yes.
S11 says she already has (and she's right--she's read lots of books on the subject on her own).
J10 and E14 say no--the show was interesting, but only because there were so many sparkly things there.

We'll see.

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