Monday, April 6, 2009

Find #195

Find #195 GC1JMJ8 Climb Iowa

I am slowly getting to 200 finds. Today's cache find was an earthcache, which involved this piece of quartzite. Earthcaches must provide earth science lessons and must be approved by the Geological Society of America. I've considered developing two or three earthcaches, but I've been intimidated by the paperwork and feel inferior in my knowledge. I've been to a couple earthcaches, and they don't seem intimidating, so I may just expect more from myself than other cache developers. They don't require maintenance, so really, I guess I'm just a wimp.

This particular cache was nice as a homeschooler because it requires you to estimate the weight of the rock. Here is the mini- (life) lesson: 1) estimate the volume of the rock and 2) find the density of the rock. Since density = mass/volume, then volume = mass/density. This brings the discussion of estimating volume -- cylinder vs. sphere vs. prism? We don't have a tape measure, how tall is it compared to "G" of GAIN, at roughly 5' tall? Which leads again to the question of cylinder vs. prism. And of course, the actual calculation. We could have measured the rock a lot better. No one wanted to lie on the ground to measure the length (the wind was terrible), we didn't have all of GAIN Academy there to hold hands and find a circumference, etc.

The other discussion was about metamorphic rocks. Quartzite begins as sandstone (if you see it you'll understand). With heat and pressure, it becomes quartzite. My 11 yo clearly understands this process, but my 8 yo does not. There are a few ways to increase her understanding, including formal lectures with the county naturalists, but my 11 yo decided to give her an analogy about baking. "Take ingredients, then heat them and mash them, and the ingredients turn into something completely new, yet the same." Well said.

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