Outdoor Hour Challenge – Rock Study Mica

Rock Study Mica @handbookofnaturestudy

Inside Preparation Work:

  • Read about mica in the Handbook of Nature Study on pages 758-759 (Lesson 215). There is not a lot of information in the book so use the links below to learn more and mica, what it looks like, its uses, and where to find it.
  • You can read all about mica here: Rocks for Kids.
  • For more detailed information about mica’s properties: Rocks and Minerals-Mica.
  • Video of Mica Rock.
  • Advanced Study: Rocks vs. Minerals study. You can read the explanation in this article and view the diagram to really understand the differences.

Two Kinds of Mica:

Outdoor Hour Time:

  • Time for a rock hunt. If you can go outdoors, look for some mica or any rock you have on hand. (You can purchase mica for this challenge here: Biotite sample from MiniMe or Muscovite sample from MiniMe. Or you can buy a bundle of 30 pieces from ScienceBob.)
  • You can use the printable activity in the ebook to make your rock hunt a little more fun. Print the page and use the grid to observe some rocks. If you have cold weather, you can use rocks from your rock collection indoors if you need to. If you don’t have the ebook, you can use the printable found at this link: Rock Observation.

Follow-Up Activity:

  • Use your follow-up time to create nature journal pages for mica or any rocks you have on hand. Use the information in the links above to create a description of mica, biotite, and/or muscovite. There are two notebook pages included in the ebook for you to choose from.
  • Advanced Study: Use the notebook page provided in the ebook to do a careful study of a mica sample.

NotebookingPages.com Cyber Week Membership Sale

Photo Recap – November 2014


Nature Photo of The Week @handbookofnaturestudyblogspot.com
We had a great month getting outside and enjoying our autumn color. This year in our neighborhood we had blazing colors…more than any other year in our memory.

Please feel free to join us over on the Nature Photo of the Week Pinterest Board.

Here are my entries for the month of November…

1 Hawaii Nov 14  (42)

Fish: A classic fish found in ponds all over the place but these had some beautiful water lilies blooming in their water. I also love the reflection of the palm trees in the water’s surface.

1 Hawaii Nov 14  (84)

Feather: These are such amazing birds that we saw on our trip. Look at those feathers on their heads! They are some variety of African crane.

Here’s what I have left….

Crystals, cold, refreshing, energy, bubbly, sparkle, self-portrait, Just do it!

I am really going to need to get myself motivated to get these images done before the end of the year!



Yosemite Half Dome Hike

Half Dome 1

In October I wrote about our autumn trip to Yosemite National Park with my three sons. I gave you a bit of information about their hike but I wanted to share some of their amazing and gorgeous photos from that Half Dome hike that they accomplished on a sparkling blue sky day.

Some links you might find useful:

Yosemite National Park Half Dome Hike – official website information

Half Dome Permits for Day Hikers – information on getting a permit. We had to put their names in for a lottery and they were able to get permits that way.

Hiking Half Dome – YouTube video from the National Park Service. I found this super helpful! You may just wish to watch this to see what it would be like if you could hike this trail to the top.


Half Dome 2

My two youngest sons have been cooking up this hike for awhile. It took some planning because one of my sons lives in New York now and has limited time to visit us here in California. Hiking the trail in October before the cables are down, they found the trail was pretty much empty and there were only half a dozen people up there when they arrived at the summit.

Half Dome 3They started out before sunrise in the dark with flashlights, making their way along the trail from Curry Village to the base of Vernal Falls. Then as the sun rose, they summited the top of Nevada Falls. I have never done this hike because of my fear of heights. Obviously, my boys have not inherited my fear and they thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Nevada Falls

These boys hiked fast and were up to the top in a few hours. These two boys have inherited my love for the outdoors and spent lots of time telling me afterwards about the many highlights of the day.

Half Dome Top I am so proud of these two boys for reaching their goal of hiking together to the top of Half Dome. They are such good friends and are so supportive of each other even though they are very different people with very different talents. What a blessing to have perfect weather for this hike! I hope they make new goals to hike something else in the near future.

Gertrudes Nose NY

They are both now living in New York so maybe we will summit something in the Adirondacks next year when I visit. My daughter just recently hike to the top of Gertrude’s Nose in New York and I am up for trying that hike maybe next spring. No matter what, I am enjoying my children’s adventures and views of the world.