It’s true—chemistry really rocks! Explore the science of rocks and minerals with these demonstrations, activities, and articles. Build your own volcano in a cup, design and eat a soil profile, grow beautiful crystals, and more.
- Colorful Stalactites and Stalagmites
Pink, blue-green, and blue. Watch these beauties form in your beakers as you learn about double replacement reactions.
- Stalactites and Stalagmites
Drugstore materials get you started with this crystallization demo. See what happens after hours, days, and weeks.
- Magma Viscosity Demos
No liquid hot magma here, but honey and toothpaste help you picture what happens with volcanoes.
- Volcano in a Cup
This mini volcano is mesmerizing. When and where will it blow its top?
- Great Glaciers
No need to wait years and years to observe a glacier. Pop this simulated glacier next to a sunny window and watch its effects on rocky soil.
Magic or Science? Quartz Triboluminescence
Quartz sparks excitement and learning in this “cold light” demo.
- A Hole in the Ground
Form an underground cave in a cup. Will your sandy landscape stay stable?
- Paint with Soil!
The ground beneath your feet can yield unusual materials for showing your artistic side.
- Dirt Shirts
It’s one time you won’t mind getting dirt on your shirt. Explore the use of soil as a natural dye.
- Magma—All Gassed Up To Go!
Sometimes the pressure can really get to you… especially if you’re magma. Can it find relief?
- Incredible Egg Geode
Don’t wait to find a geode lurking inside a rocky exterior—make your own with alum crystals and eggshells.
- Extracting a Metal from Its Ore
How much copper can you get from a mineral?
- Cookie Mining: Ore Production & Cost-Benefit Analysis
Prospect your mine for as many chocolate chips as possible. Can you turn a profit while protecting the land?
- Soil Science
Design your own recipe for delicious dirt. How can you make its apperance mimic the real thing?
- From Rocks to Soil
Break it down. Really. Get the hammer to start this weatherization activity.
- Popcorn Pumice: Exploring Different Rock Densities
Can a rock float? Or is it all set to sink, every time?
- Do-It-Yourself Lava Flows
These students and professors aren’t waiting for the lava to come to them. They’re making their own, then breaking out the marshmallows.
- Sinkholes: Chemistry Goes Deep
The ground swallowing a house or a car sounds like science fiction. Learn about the frightening reality.
- Letting Off Steam
These geysers are blowing their tops. What’s happening deep underground to make it happen?
- Mineral Resource of the Month
Meet these minerals of the month, with background info and fun facts for each.
- The United States Postal Service Mineral Stamps
Minerals get the stamp of approval on these geology themed selections. Learn a bit about their science.
- Amoeba People Sing Quirk Tunes About Geoscience
These musicians really rock. With real rocks. Listen to their work, including “The Geologists Are Coming.”
- Rock Detectives
Which kinds of rocks are hiding in your surroundings? Test them to find out.
- Chocolate Rocks!
Candy can help you learn about different types of rocks and how they form.
- The Color of Soil
Think the color of soil begins and ends with brown? Not so!
- Mud and Dirt: Australian Soil as Self-Expression
An artist uses unexpected materials as a basis for her work.
- Farming in "Martian Gardens"
We can’t test gardens directly on Mars, but volcanoes give us the next best thing.
- Soil Properties
Get up to speed on the vocab used to describe soils, like O, A, and R horizons, and “platy” pieces.
- Explaining a Soil Profile
Great color pictures tell the story in this soil how-to. Get the scoop.
- Geochemistry Careers
What does a geochemist do all day? Find out here.
- Why Do Geysers Erupt? It Boils Down to Plumbing
Why don't geysers just continually emit water, like a spring? Read all about it.
(all sites accessed April 2020)