At home? No problem! We’ve created a resource guide for all the parents, students and life-long learners out there who are immersed in remote/distance learning. You can still enjoy the MMGM experience! As Maine’s Premier Science Museum, we are proud to be your community museum. Let us help you turn your home into a classroom, your kitchen into a laboratory, and young children into scientists.
Resources and Lesson Plans
Rock On! Scavenger hunt
Want to test your geologic knowledge? Interested in learning more about the MMGM’s awesome rock garden? You’ve come to the right place!
Download the ROCK ON! Scavenger Hunt Here!
We’ll see you in the Rock Garden!
Cutting a Maine Tourmaline
In July, lapidary historian and author Justin K Prim held a lapidary demonstration in the Discovery Gallery. He documented it, and you can watch the 3.5 hours of cutting unfold over just a few minutes!
The Dunton gem quarry
The story of the discovery of the fabulous 1972 find of more than one ton of gem tourmaline in the Dunton pegmatite, including some of the best watermelon crystals and slices from North America. Find the article HERE.
Webber, Karen L., Simmons, W.B., Falster, A.U. (2020). The Dunton Gem Quarry Mineral Monograph No.20, Rubellite Tourmaline Rouge. Lithographie Ltd, Arvada, Colorado, 144p.
Many thanks to Gloria Staebler for permission to post this article.
Geology Buzz is a forum for all Geologists and Earth Science enthusiasts.
The New England Mineral Association (NEMA) exists to further the introduction to, and support of, the fields of mineralogy and geological sciences in New England, through education, science and recreation. To learn more about NEMA and its Maine Geoscience Portal visit www.nemineral.org.
You can also visit the Geoscience Portal directly HERE.
Tom’s August Newsletter
Tom Hoffelder’s ASTRONOMY AT MMGM AUG 2020 newsletter.
Tom’s MAY Newsletter
Tom Hoffelder’s Astronomy at MMGM May Newsletter is available HERE.
Spring Rocks! Bingo Game
The Maine Mineral and Gem Museum is excited to bring you our very own Spring Rocks! Bingo Game, created by museum staff just for you! Here’s how to play: you can use all of this Spring (until June 20) to find the objects on the board. If you complete the whole board, you can choose your very own prize from MMGM’s Big Box of Spectacular Specimens! Great fun for ages 4 to 104, one prize per board.
Download the bingo board HERE
Happy Bingoing, friends!
Mail your completed bingo board to:
Maine Mineral & Gem Museum
ATTN: Spring Rocks! Bingo Game
PO Box 500
Bethel, ME 04217
Happy Bingoing, friends!
Tom’s April Newsletter
Written by our very own beloved docent Tom Hoffelder, this April Newsletter about the Night Sky will engage all of you at home, with or without a telescope. Download the newsletter HERE.
Earth Science Week
Earth Science Week allows you to search their database for experiments and lesson plans by keyword. The activities are created with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in mind. Each lesson plan is adapted from a separate source, with citations that bring you to the parent website, which has more information and resources. Some lesson plans are very adaptable to being Hands on @Home or to various age ranges, other lessons require lab or safety equipment, which can be substituted with simple household items using some creativity!
US Geological Survey
Created by Congress in the 1800s, the US Geological Survey is a government agency that was originally formed to examine natural and mineral resources and map public lands. Today, the USGS has grown in span and is a hub of scientific research about our planet and the implications of climate and land-use change. The USGS offers lesson plans for grades K through college. From this landing page, navigate along the left side for a comprehensive list of lesson plans, multimedia and more – categorized by age and broken down by keyword, such as Geography, Geology, Ecosystems, etc.
American Geosciences Institute
The American Geosciences Institute is comprised of a network of geoscientists dedicated to educating the public on the integral role that the geosciences play in our society and lives. The AGI website has a lot of mineral resources, including links to allow access to mineral exhibits in museums like AMNH. Check out AGI’s EarthComm online edition, in which our earth system sciences are described in detail with additional resources.
AGI Web Earth Science Activities
Made available by American Geosciences Institute, several of these lesson plans or “investigations” are adaptable for at-home learning. Geared toward Geoscientists and Professionals to take science curricula into classrooms, this website provides lesson plans based on age and category, with additional resources listed.
Minerals Education Coalition
This website has lesson plans, resources and mineral-related educational games online for free. Check out their “GROWN or MINED” game to see if you can guess whether the contents of items we use in our lives – toothpaste, bicycles, cell phones – are grown (plant) or mined (mineral-based.) There are several other free activities available, including a way to search activities with specific science standards (ie: Common Core or Next Generation Science Standards.)
Women in Mining
Women in Mining is a national organization comprised of women and men who are involved in the mining industry, from engineers and educators to lobbyists and mineral enthusiasts. Women in Mining has a list of lesson plans broken down by topic and age. Many of the experiments can be done with household materials.
Rocks and Minerals for You
This website has several rock- and mineral-themed lesson plans that can be conducted out of the classroom. Although many plans have been written for groups of 5-10, they can be easily adapted for smaller groups or one on one. Comes with the necessary resources (ie: infographics, charts) to conduct experiments at home. Adaptable for a range of ages from very young to high school age.
Windows 2 Universe
Sourced from material from the National Earth Science Teachers Association (NESTA), W2U has information and resources on everything ranging from sciences here on Earth, to the Sun, our Solar System and Outer Space! In addition to many videos and written resources, there is a list of free activities and related worksheets (broken down by topic) on the Activities page (under the Teachers tab), with comprehensive resources listed along with each activity.
Coursera offers higher-level education taught by leading instructors across the world. Many full-length courses are free, including this one about the “Formation of the Universe, Solar System, Earth and Life” – featuring MMGM’s very own meteorites expert Dr. Henning Haack! Sign up for this course to hear Dr. Haack and his colleagues teach us about our Origins – all for free and from the comfort of your home!
The Dynamic Earth: A Course for Educators
Offered by AMNH and created with NGSS in mind, this course provides students with an overview of the origins and evolution of the planet we call home. Learn how scientists can date rocks; explore the effects that Life has had on the atmosphere; and bring what you learn to your own back yard as you explore your local geological history.
Biosphere 2 – Science of the Future of our Planet
Geared toward anyone with an interest in STEM and stewardship of our planet, this course examines everything from the soil and plants, to the oceans and forests, to the Moon, Mars and the cosmos! Topics include climate change, how Earth’s multiple dynamic systems interact, and what this means for the future of our planet. Students will have the chance to collect and analyze their own data.
In response to Covid-19, Mystery Science has put their most popular science lessons online for free. Search lessons by content or by age. The lessons are fun and interactive, contain background information in a video and how to perform the lesson all from the comfort of your home.
Maine 4-H Cooperative Extension
Created in response to Covid-19, UMaine Cooperative Extension has compiled @Home resources, appropriate for children of all ages. With topics ranging from STEM and science to financial literacy, this resource bank is here to help your child stay engaged while school is out. Be sure to check out their videos of experiments, recipes, and online opportunities for teens to engage with each other in their Virtual Science Café.
Science Mom and Math Dad
Check out married vloggers Science Mom and Math Dad’s new installment called QuaranTime, as they bring you along on their experiments, explain their methods and show how you can do some of them at home. Although it is geared toward ages 7-12, anyone can join the learning and fun!
Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems
Stuck at home? Join the wonderfully creative animator and Kennedy Center Artist-in-Residence Mo Willems in his installments of “Lunch Doodles.” Mo teaches us cool tricks on how to draw some of his favorite characters using letters and numbers, answers questions submitted by his young followers, and engages his audience with his gentle yet charismatic demeanor.
The Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland is posting twice-daily webinars every weekday called “Curiosity Corner Live.” Watch as their museum staff bring you through fun and interesting STEM activities, many of which you can do right at home. Learn about STEM topics ranging from the science of magnets and liquid nitrogen, to skyscrapers and bridges and the moon. All webinars are are recorded and available on YouTube.
No better way to spend your quarantine than learning a language at home – for free! Check out the popular Duolingo site and learn from dozens of languages tailored for your learning needs and to your own schedule, with daily lessons as short as 5 minutes.
Law of Superposition Lesson Plan
Learn about the Law of Superposition – the phenomenon in which older sediments settle below younger sediments on top, and that any single rock is younger than the sediments it’s comprised of – by modeling your own Law of Superposition using salt and household items. Geared for grades K-6. Supplementary resources: https://geologydegree.org/superposition-geology/
Plate Tectonics with an Orange Lesson Plan
Geared for grades 3-8 but adaptable for any age, this lesson plans teaches the basics of Plate Tectonics using oranges and toothpicks. Additional resource: https://geology.com/plate-tectonics.shtml
Transform Boundaries Lesson Plan
This lesson plan teaches us about transform boundaries and faults; delves into why there are so many earthquakes along the west coast and what causes them; and how plates move laterally as well as toward/away from each other. Additional Resource: https://geology.com/plate-tectonics.shtml
USGS Plate Tectonics Lesson Plan Series
Made available by the US Geological Survey, and geared toward grades 5-7, these comprehensive lesson plans will teach you about Plate Tectonics using common household items. The lessons are based on Wegener’s theory that plant fossils that are found widely scattered around the globe can be attributed to shifting plates that were, at one time, joined together. Comes with two lesson plans that inform each other. All resources necessary to conduct the experiments are included in the document, with links to additional videos and other helpful resources.
Rocks and Minerals Lesson Plan Series
In this Rocks and Minerals lesson plan series, you will begin with an introduction to classifying rocks and minerals in Lesson #1. These lesson plans can be conducted with household items and some rock specimens, although a loupe or magnifying glass will be helpful. Each lesson builds on the one before it so your young scientist at home has a full understanding of rocks and minerals. Conclude your learning with a fun and delicious activity demonstrating Transform Boundaries (listed here as well.)
Additional resource that includes mineral characteristics and a mineral identification worksheet: https://nhm.org/sites/default/files/2019-04/4_-_properties_of_minerals.pdf
Additional resource with a comprehensive mineral identification sheet: https://www.womeninmining.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/MineralIdentificationgeneralandadvanced8-28-14.pdf
AAPG/AGI Educational Outreach Guide and Lesson Plan Series
This comprehensive document with lesson plans, prepared by AAPG and AGI, will equip parents and guardians with information, such as understanding how children of varying ages learn, so you can be the best teacher possible! Includes tips to help facilitate at-home learning, and content standards for different grade levels. The lesson plans begin on Chapter 5 (p. 25) and include plans for every grade K-12. Included in the document are the necessary resources to conduct each experiment, such as Moh’s Hardness Scale chart (p. 28) and mineral identification sheets (p. 29). ]
MMGM Video Galleries
View more stories and videos in our Video Gallery.
Syd the Science Kid
Our favorite local young scientist, Syd is a 3rd grader at Crescent Park Elementary School here in Bethel, Maine. As late, she and all her classmates, are stuck at home. Lucky for us, Syd likes science and is willing to share her scientific investigations with our audience. Unlike other experiments when you’re told not to try this at home – we want you to try this at home. Have fun and share with all your classmates and parents! Thank you, Syd (and mom) for inspiring all of us to experiment!
Fun facts and features from the MMGM staff.
Test your knowledge with Dr. Henning Haack, MMGM’s associate researcher and cosmochemist.
Museum of Science has moved science online and have a collection of STEM resources for at-home learning, including webinars, daily live streams, STEM-based activities to do at home, etc: https://www.mos.org/MOSatHome
Daily Astronomer’s Astronomy Classes are available for free and updated daily! The Daily Astronomer teaches us what is going on in the sky in real-time, with fun ways to engage at home without a telescope: https://lists.maine.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A0=DAILY-ASTRONOMER
National Geographic has made an online Resource Library, which includes 5000 topics to explore, with the option to filter by grade. https://www.nationalgeographic.org/education/resource-library/?q=&page=1&per_page=25
Khan Academy provides free and remote learning tools and resources for your child to continue the learning at home. Search their database for teacher-approved, standards-aligned content along several subject areas. Includes not only lessons, but videos with explanations of subject material and quizzes to test your knowledge. https://www.khanacademy.org
A comprehensive list of Minerals A-Z to help you identify your specimens: http://www.galleries.com/Minerals_By_Name
Another list of Minerals A-Z, with pictures: https://mineralseducationcoalition.org/mining-minerals-information/minerals-database/