Science Projects for Kids: Crystals and Minerals


Mineral Testing Kit
Create your own mineral testing kit.
Create your own mineral testing kit.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Super rock hounds will want to put together this simple mineral testing kit for identifying minerals and testing their properties.

What You'll Need for the Bag:

  • Canvas or denim scraps
  • Needle and thread
  • Thick string

First, make a small, sturdy bag to carry your kit in:

Step 1: Cut two 6-inch by 8-inch pieces of canvas or denim and put them together, wrong side out.

Step 2: Sew three sides together.

Step 3: Fold over one inch of fabric on the top. Sew together to form a casing.

Step 4: Slit one of the seams open in the casing and slip a drawstring through it.

What You'll Need for the Kit:

  • Penny
  • Small piece of glass
  • Piece of unglazed tile
  • File or pocket knife
  • Small bottle of vinegar
  • Eyedropper
  • Rocks
  • Reference book about rocks

After you've assembled the supplies above, here's how you can use your kit to test rocks and minerals:

Step 1: Use the tile to test the 'streak' of the mineral. Do this by scratching the tile with your rock and seeing what color the scratches are.

Step 2: Vinegar is used to test for the presence of calcium carbonate. Put a drop of vinegar on the rock. If it fizzes, the rock contains calcium carbonate.

Step 3: Test the hardness of the rock, which is measured on a scale from 1 (the softest) to 10 (the hardest). Here's how it works:

  • If your fingernail can scratch the rock, it's a 1 or 2.
  • If a penny can scratch the rock, it's a 3.
  • If a knife blade or file can scratch the rock, it's a 4 or 5.
  • If a piece of glass can scratch the rock, it's a 6.
  • If the rock can scratch knife or file, or if the rock can barely scratch glass, it's a 7.

The highest numbers (8-10) are used for rocks that are harder than the common minerals that you're likely to find.

Now you can use what you learn to identify the rocks in a reference book.

The next science project in science projects for kids: crystals and minerals is an experiment in deliciousness.

For more fun science projects and activities, check out: