Bruce Museum interns rock! And they know how to identify rocks, too.
Meet Olivia Nichols. Olivia is a student at Wesleyan University and was one of our summer interns. Though we might miss her, her great work remains.
Take a look at this picture. The dinosaurs are impressive, but it's the rocky outcrop that was the focus of Olivia's work here at the Bruce. These rocks are a snapshot of local geology. Though they might look the same at a distance, there are actually a variety of rock types exposed here, each with its own mineral structure and formation history. Olivia came up with an activity that guides families through identifying the rocks in the outcrop, but also presents information about larger geological concepts and tricks for identifying rocks elsewhere.
Olivia's rock identification activity is a visual representation of a dichotomous key. Two rock samples from the outcrop are magnetized to the board. As you move each rock down the path, you encounter sets of questions to answer about the rock. Depending on how you answer, the rock will move down different paths, each with its own set of follow-up questions that will eventually lead you to an identification.
Do these rocks have a lot of mica in them? Think carefully. If you don't identify rock traits correctly, you may be led to an incorrect identification!
Didn't get it right the first time? That's fine. There's a lot to be learned about rocks, even if they aren't found in our personal outcrop. You never know what other rocks you might discover when out and about Greenwich!
Olivia's activity isn't part of our programming quite yet, but we're hoping to get it out soon. Thank you Olivia, for your hard work at the Bruce!
- Kate Dzikiewicz, Paul Griswold Howes Fellow