Back to Nature: Geology Rocks

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?
Between 18-25
What is the passing grade?
Highest score = 1st place
Second highest score = 2nd place
and so on

Back to Nature: Geology Rocks

Comment 1: For Geology Rocks, the event description says “location of the epicenter using triangulation.” Are the students expected to understand how that happens or will they actually be finding the epicenter using seismograph data?

Answer: Students should be able to locate the epicenter given records from three seismographic stations.
Comment 2: Another coach asked how many questions would be on the Geology Rocks test. I can’t find the original question, but it was posted a while ago. Anyway, Serena’s answer is:
Answer: Between 18-25

Back to Nature: Geology Rocks

Comment: Question for Back To Nature Event:
Sorry to belabor this mineral table topic, but please indulge me.
Will the provided table be:
(1) completely filled out, and the students are expected to pick a mineral that matches the of classification criteria.
(2) partially filled out, and the students would be expected to estimate the real hardness of a mineral (because it’s not provided on the table).

A. Students will:
1. Test the mineral properties and answer questions about them (e.g. what is the hardness of this mineral?)
2. Once they have determined all the mineral properties, they will use their findings and the provided table (similar to the one in the mineral kit) to identify the mineral.
Using the table in the mineral kit as an example, if a student determines that the mineral has the following properties:
– Color: black
– Luster: metallic
– Streak: black
– Hardness: less than 2.5,
 then the mineral will be graphite.

Back to Nature: Geology Rocks

Any information on what you expect our students to be able to do in identifying minerals and rocks.
ANS: Students should be able to determine the physical properties of minerals using a set of simple tools. For rocks, since students are only expected to identify the rock type (without giving the rock name), coaches and students should focus on which rock characteristics can be used to make the distinctions.
For minerals, I’m assuming the students need to do hardness testing and streak testing. What tools should/can they bring (nail, copper, finger nail, etc.) 
ANS: The following tools will be provided:
– Copper plate (not included in the mineral kit; a piece of copper pipe or a copper fitting from a home improvement store will work. Do not use a penny, as they are now made of zinc, not copper)
– Iron nail (included in the mineral kit)
– Glass (not included in the mineral kit; pretty much any smooth glass will work)
– Streak plate (included in the mineral kit)
– Students should know how to use their nails to test for hardness
Can they bring other materials that are useful for hardness testing.
ANS: All the tools needed for mineral testing will be provided EXCEPT finger nails. Students should use their own. They will not be allowed to bring anything else.
Do they need to test for specific gravity of a mineral?
ANS: no.
How accurately will they need to identify a particular mineral. 
ANS: Students will be provided with a table that will be organized in a manner similar to the one included in the mineral kit, plus a column for cleavage. After testing for physical properties, they will use the table to identify each mineral. Points will be awarded for correctly identifying the mineral properties, as well as the mineral name.
I saw the answer to a previous question relating to identifying rocks as igneous, sedimentary, metamorphic along with other specifics in the answer. Is there anything else they need to identify related to rocks?
ANS: yes, they will need to justify their answer, or explain what properties of the rock sample made them decide what type of rock it is.
Is there going to be acid available for identifying calcite and limestone?
ANS: For safety reasons, acid testing will not be allowed. If necessary, the information will be provided.
Is there going to be a black light available for identifying fluorite?
ANS: no.
Can you post the “A reference table will be provided during the test” that you refer to on the original even description? “
ANS: no, the table will not be posted. Use the one included in the mineral study kit for practice (which is missing the column for cleavage, but the info can be found online). If you have your own minerals, use the website provided in the event description to create a similar table, and have your students practice with it.
Is there a master list of ROCKS and MINERALS that the students should use as “syllabus” for this event? The total list of rocks and minerals runs in the thousands and I was wondering which rocks and minerals should the students focus on, for their practices. The WESO sample kit only has a handful in it…
ANS: We do not have a master list. Students will be quizzed on their ability to test the physical properties of minerals, so any common mineral will work for practice. See answer above for more details. For rocks, since students are only expected to identify the rock type (without giving the rock name), coaches and students should focus on which rock characteristics can be used to make the distinctions.

Back to Nature: Geology Rocks!

For Geology Rocks, will they be expected to identify the rock samples, or just classify them as igneous, sedimentary, or metamorphic?
Students will need to know how to classify rocks as igneous (intrusive/extrusive), sedimentary (clastic/biochemical/chemical/organic), metamorphic (foliated/ non-foliated). They do not need to memorize rock names, but they should be able to justify how they decided what type of rock they have.

Please note -these subclassifications are not mentioned in the first draft of the Back to Nature: Geology Rocks event description. Olympians should know how to distinguish them.

igneous (intrusive/extrusive)

sedimentary (clastic/biochemical/chemical/organic)

metamorphic (foliated/ non-foliated)