The Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems

Today, our class took our first field trip to the Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems to learn more about what types of materials are used to make jewelry. As we walked through the exhibit, the students noticed the many similarities and differences between the various rocks and gems. Some were smooth and round while others were rough and jagged. There were many different colors and some specimens had several types of crystals existing on one rock. We learned that some rocks come from cooled lava and others come from sand. We even got to see some rocks glow under a UV light and were surprised to see that they glowed different colors. We also had a chance to see what the gems look like when they are polished and cut so that they can be used for jewelry. Many students were surprised how many different types and colors there were.

While the trip helped the children to see the variety of materials that are used to make jewelry, it also opened the door for new questions for us to answer. Where can you find gems other than in caves? What are the gems made from? How do they cut the gems? How do they get the gems to stay inside the jewelry? These are all wonderful questions that we hope to answer as we move forward in our study of jewelry.

Dinosaur Research

Dinosaur Research in Pre-K at WTFinishing up our last week of dinosaur study, many children are still collecting data about their personal research choices.  They are choosing facts that they find interesting to write about in their journals.  Some of the children have taken to this activity with gusto, writing new facts a few times a week.  Others become interested when they see their friends writing about their dinosaurs.

This project has a few exciting by-products.  The children are finding out that books contain much more than simply stories.  Sometimes it comes as a surprise that anything you want to know about can be found in a book.  (Many children are sure that most of the information that is available comes from the computer!)  We are also provided with the opportunity to explore indexes, table of contents, and glossaries in an authentic way.  Later, when we collect information from each child’s study and create a compilation of information, the children will experience the joy of being the “expert” in their own research.