John Barrette

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November 18, 2012
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Children's Museum exposes kids to rock hard realities of geologic logic

It was one of those rainy days when chill mid-November doldrums could bring on the boredom of nothing to do, but not for some Carson City area kids.

These kids were at The Children's Museum of Northern Nevada on Saturday morning learning about rocks. The hour-long workshop attracted more than 20, most of them children, but not all.

Among the young-at-heart were parents and other adult supervisors, all joining in with their charges to hear the University of Nevada, Reno's D.D. Pointe offer her spiel on geology.

"I've been doing geology since your parents were born, probably," said the scientist from the Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering at UNR.

"Diamonds are the hardest minerals there are," she said, explaining that rocks are minerals and non-organic, which means not plants or animals.

Minerals are made up of chemicals, said the geologist, whose UNR connection in the Mackay school is with the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology.

Pointe also is interim administrator of the W.M. Keck Earth Science and Mineral Engineering Museum in the Mackay Mines Building on UNR's campus.

She made available for the interested information on that museum, which is labeled one of UNR's hidden treasures housing "a stunning collection of minerals, rocks, fossils, and historic mining artifacts from Nevada and around the world."

Pointe told her workshop participants that characteristics of rocks include density, offered up a variety for each to them to heft and observe, and told them about other aspects to consider.

The workshop was another Super Saturday Science offering from the children's museum, and according to executive director Lu Olsen the once monthly workshops will continue next year.

The workshops on science and engineering began in 2010 with four straight weeks, then shifted to once monthly.

In November this year, however, there have been two straight: one about aeronautics put on by the Society of Women Engineers last weekend and the geology offering Saturday.

Olsen said conflicts made it untenable to offer one of them in October, so there was none then and two this month. She said the next will be in January, but the topic has yet to be selected.

Olsen, an elementary school teacher for a dozen years, said she wants to emphasize science and engineering topics at the children's museum along with the other fun activities available there.

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Nov 18, 2012 02:38AM Published Nov 18, 2012 02:36AM Copyright 2012 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.