Flash rocks were discussed in a previous post as stones made of quartz that produce light by triboluminescence when struck together. This post provides some description of their origins and tips on how to find them, making connections to some of their properties.
Decorative beads are tested for the presence of iron pyrite, or FeS2, in an activity well-suited for the National Chemistry Week theme of "Chemistry Rocks!"
I have been in the lab conducting tests on the chemical and physical properties of various geological samples. In my investigations I’ve found that hematite is a particular mineral that is easy to acquire and quite amenable to experimentation.
In this Activity, students collect soil samples and characterize them by examining their physical appearance, water holding capacity, sedimentation, and pH. Based on their observations, they can see that different samples of something as universal as soil can be quite different from each other. This environmental chemistry Activity can be used to complement a celebration of Earth Day.