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Rock Identification Made Easy (Grades 3-12) Review by Jennifer Do Nascimento

Northwest Treasures, Geology
18421 10th Drive SE
Bothell, WA 98012

The Rock Identification Made Easy Kit contains everything you need to make rock study a part of your homeschool. The kit includes over 50 real samples of rocks and minerals, a Rock Identification Field Guide, five 8.5" x 11" Laminated organizational rock charts, glue, a small (pocket-size) magnifying glass, and a 77-page curriculum guide. All of which are held in a handy-dandy cardboard carrying case. While it is recommended for grades 3-12, my four and five year olds have enjoyed looking through the different samples each time we got it out. However, for educational purposes and being able to understand the lessons, I completely agree with the recommended age range.

The curriculum guide and field guide are both soft cover books.

Very early on author, Patrick Nurre, establishes that he and his curriculum guide are of the young earth persuasion. Scripture references are sprinkled throughout each of the six lessons, but not in a random or unnatural way. Each reference is well placed and gives added meaning to the content.

The introduction section of the curriculum guide begins by laying the foundation of geology, rock identification. Identifying rocks correctly begins with learning the 12 rock-forming minerals that most of the rocks in the world are made from. Although there are over 4,500 recognized minerals in the world today, six light-colored and six dark-colored minerals are responsible for making up most of our rocks. Who knew? A sample of each of these is included in the kit.

The four rock types (plutonic, volcanic, metamorphic, and sedimentary) are covered extensively in the introduction as well. You’ll learn what each rock type is made of (or at least believed to be), how it got its name, and why they look the way they do.

Our favorite of the rock types to discover and learn about was volcanic, because well, volcanoes are cool!

The introduction section is almost a lesson all to itself. There is a plethora of information presented. And most of that information will be completely new to any student or teacher who does not have a background in geology. It is recommended that you familiarize yourself with the materials in the kit by learning the minerals and how to identify them before proceeding. I completely agree. Having that knowledge before starting the actual lessons makes a world of difference.

The five laminated charts in the kit are perfect for quizzing yourself when learning the minerals and later the different rock types. There is one chart for the rock-forming minerals, and one for each of the rock types.

All of the rock and mineral samples are labeled and color-coded to match the appropriate chart, making it easy to find what you’re looking for when you first start out. Eventually you can glue the samples to the charts, but I’m in no hurry to do that.

The lessons are written in a friendly, understandable tone, which is important when learning something completely new. While reading you never feel talked down to or as if he were speaking over your head. It is obvious the author is very knowledgeable, yet he teaches the content very well to beginners. Each lesson contains beautiful full-color pictures, activities, quizzes, and reviews. Each rock type has its own lesson, with the exception of the volcanic rocks, it has two lessons.

Beginning at the beginning, when God spoke the world into existence, the author introduces the 12 minerals previously mentioned and goes into even deeper description of what they each are and how they form nearly all the rocks around us. From atoms to elements to rocks, you learn how rocks are formed, where to find them, and how to identify them.

The Rock Identification Field Guide, also written by Patrick Nurre, is sort of a pocket edition of the information in the curriculum guide. I thought it was neat that the field guide is color-coded just the same as the samples to make it easier to classify the new rocks you bring home. The field guide is full of color examples for each rock type, and very easy to use. All in all, it’s a wonderful resource to take out and about with you.

We have enjoyed using our new rock identification kit as an elective. My middle school and high school children have taken pride in being able to identify and classify the rocks. My kindergartners still geek out each time they hold a volcanic rock. They just can’t believe they are holding a part of a real volcano!

Because the curriculum guide is not consumable, the kit will last many years (and through many children.) I am impressed with how quickly my children were able begin actually identifying rocks and telling me what they are made of. I also appreciate that the curriculum guide takes you outside the classroom to find samples around you. We happen to have a rock quarry near us that was made into a nature park. This new addition to our regular curriculum has taken our trips to the park up several notches on the educational level.

I wholeheartedly recommend Rock Identification Made Easy to homeschool families everywhere.

The Rock Identification Made Easy Kit is available for $158.00. However, each of the major components (field guide, curriculum guide, and samples) are all available for purchase separately.

-Product review by Jeniffer Do Nacimento, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March, 2017