Nov. 16, 2009—The Division of Geological Survey has a long history of public and educational outreach, providing numerous free publications and sending geologists and staff members into classrooms, parks, universities, and other forums around the state to speak with Ohioans about all aspects of Ohio geology. One of the most popular and successful outreach efforts is the distribution of Ohio Rock and Mineral Sets.
The Division gives out about 400 rock and mineral sets per month and since the program’s inception in 1998, the Division has distributed nearly 53,000 rock and mineral sets to educators, parents, and organizations to use as a great teaching resource for hands-on instruction on Ohio’s mineral industries and the geology of Ohio. The sets contain ten rocks and minerals found or mined in Ohio: clay, coal, dolomite, flint, gypsum, limestone, salt, sand and gravel, sandstone, and shale. A page-sized bedrock geology map and an explanation of the uses for each rock or mineral are also included in the set.
Samples for the rock and mineral sets are donated to the Division by industrial-mineral producers and coal companies or are collected by Division staff members at quarries or field sites across the state. After the cardboard boxes are cut and stamped by the Ohio Penal Industries at the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC), Mansfield Correctional Institution, all materials to assemble the sets are sent to the ODRC Pickaway Correctional Institution in Orient, Ohio. Here inmates assemble each box, break down bulk samples of each rock and mineral to the proper size, and place all materials—rocks, minerals, reading material—in the boxes. The Division collects the sets and checks them for completion before distribution to the public.
Various educational organizations and schools use the Ohio Rock and Mineral Sets to educate not only students but teachers as well. Meri Johnson, Science Curriculum Consultant at the Clermont County Educational Service Center (CCESC), notes the importance that the rock and mineral sets, and other Division materials, play in CCESC efforts to train teachers in the greater Cincinnati area. “We love your materials,” she says, explaining that the CCESC has used Ohio Rock and Mineral Sets, page-size maps, and other publications to train hundreds of teachers over the past ten years on how to teach geology to students from grades 3–10.
Other agencies and organizations that use the rock sets include Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of the USA, Franklin County Metro Parks, the Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist Program, various soil and water conservation districts, and numerous school districts throughout Ohio.
Ohio Rock and Mineral Sets are available free of charge in limited quantities and can be picked up at the Division’s central office (see address at left). Although the sets are free, shipping and handling charges apply to all shipped orders. Please call or e-mail the Division’s Geologic Records Center for ordering information. Because of high demand, the sets are available only to Ohio residents and/or organizations.
Click the links below for activities and more information about Ohio’s rocks and minerals:
Hands On Earth Science
Ohio’s Surface Rocks and Sediments