1) How will the mineral and rock ID section be formatted? Will the samples be at separate stations (1 sample/station) or will each team get a “box” of samples to work through at their own pace?
There will be separate stations
2) Will the minerals be separated from the rocks and clearly identified as such, or are the students going to have to determine if they are looking at a mineral or a rock first?
Minerals will be separated from rocks (in separate stations), but not clearly identified. However, the testing of minerals requires several tools that rocks do not require, so students should be able to figure out what they have based on what is available at the station.
3) Roughly how much time will be given for the practical vs. the theoretical section?
Assuming “practical” means that students will need to apply their knowledge rather than demonstrate their ability to memorize facts, almost all questions will require students to show understanding of geologic processes, or characteristics of Earth’s materials, or criteria used to establish categories, etc.
Will they be doing any experiments, if so, which will be the focus?
Students will test one or more minerals to identify them, and will need to identify one or more rocks and explain which characteristics of the rock(s) they used for the identification.
How many questions are on the test?
What is the passing grade?
Highest score = 1st place
Second highest score = 2nd place
and so on