Visit a rock collectors club meeting. View the rocks
on display. How did the people get interested in this hobby?
Other sources of assistance for this activity badge could be the
college science department, museum, large industry concerned with
mining or oil production, high school science teacher, or local rock
Mineral Hardness Kit
The mineral hardness scale was developed more than
100 years ago by Friedrick Mohs, a German mineralogist. He arranged
10minerals in a hardness scale with talc the softest as number 1 and
diamond, the hardest as number 10. The complete hardness scale can
be found in the Webelos Scout handbook.
You can make your own kit from materials you already
have around the house or that you can buy at low cost. It will help
you establish the hardness of a mineral sample within rough limits.
You will need:
1. Talc. You can purchase this in the form of
2. Your fingernail. It has a hardness of 2 to 2
3. A new copper coin. The edge has a hardness similar to
4. A 12-penny nail. To test materials with hardness of 4
to 4 1/2.
5. A knife. The steel of a good knife blade is rated at
about 5 1/2.
6. Piece of window glass. It has a hardness of about
7. A high-speed drill bit. Tip has hardness of about 6
8. Metal file. Good quality capable of fine smoothing or
cutting - 7 1/2.
9. High-speed masonry drill point. Hardness of
about 8 1/2.
10. Carborundum sharpening stone will scratch
minerals of hardness about 9.
It is a good idea to label each
piece of your hardness kit. When you find a mineral that will barely
scratch your knife blade (5 1/2) but will not mark glass (6) you may
assume that the material's hardness lies between 5 and 6.
will find it best to test the mineral specimen on a flat surface.
After you have made a test scratch, try to run the mark away with
your fingers. A true scratch will remain. It's best to use a
magnifying glass to examine any doubtful mark. Sometimes the testing
tool will leave scrapings or such marks. Your hardness kit will be
of little use when testing pieces of granite, which may be composed,
of a mix of quart (7), Feldspar (6) and mica (2). The bits of
individual minerals may be large enough to recognize but impossible
to test with your kit. This is where your study of rock samples and
guidebooks will serve you will. Not only will you be able to
recognize the major types of rocks, but you will also learn
something about the minerals you find connected to such rocks. Don't
take more of a mineral than you need for a display sample.
Thumb-sized lumps are fine. They display well, they are easy to
carry, and your consideration will mean that another rockhound will
have the fun of making the same discovery that you did.
Invite a housing contractor too come to your den
meeting. Ask them to bring materials such as slate, brick,
limestone, marble, cement, etc. Where do they purchase these
supplies? Where do they come from originally?
Gather smooth flat stones. Wash them in detergent
and dry completely. Plan the creature you will make and paint the
rocks before assembling. Use acrylic paints.
Use contact cement
to glue the rocks together. Saturate a small piece of cotton with
glue and place it between the edges of the rocks; or use hot glue.
Decorate with yarn, etc.
Angeles County Council
Collect a fascinating rock or two, or more, and hot
glue them to a PVC pipe loop for this tie slide.