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Alternate Activity 3: Opening Geodes

Activity time: 10 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Unopened geodes, for all participants (purchase online from Oriental Trading Company, Amazon, or a science education website)
  • Several hammers
  • Old socks that are no longer needed, one per participant)

Preparation for Activity

  • Place the geodes, hammers, and socks in a safe place in your room.

Description of Activity

This activity provides a "Wow" moment in finding beautiful crystals hidden away inside the rough exterior of a geode.

Show the children an unopened geode. Ask if they have any guesses what might be inside this ordinary-looking stone. Ask if anyone thinks there might be beautiful crystals.

Instruct the children how to open the geode:

1. Place a geode in the toe of a sock.

2. Hammer the geode until you hear or feel it split open.

3. Reach inside the sock and pull out the crystals.

Advise children to hammer firmly, but not too hard or they may shatter their geodes and destroy the crystals inside. Present hammer safety rules:

  • Keep your other hands far away from where anyone is hammering.
  • Use hammers only on the geodes.
  • Keep the hammer down low; do not wave it around.

Distribute the geodes and socks. Circulate among the children, closely monitoring use of hammers as children open their geodes. Encourage each participant to really take a moment to experience a "wow" feeling in their hearts when they find crystals.

Including All Participants

This activity can be dangerous if a child or children might be inclined to use the hammers inappropriately. If you believe this is the case in your group, either skip the activity or have an adult work one-on-one with any child you are concerned about. Make safety rules very clear and be prepared to act swiftly if they are not followed.

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