Rock Study: Calcite, Limestone, Marble Nature Study

Outdoor Hour Challenge

Rock Study: Calcite, Limestone, Marble Nature Study

Most families that have been taking time for nature study have no doubt started an official or unofficial rock collection. I know when my boys were young, they would fill my pockets with rock treasures on our nature walks and then insist I take them home for our nature table. So many rocks!

rock collection in jars

I must admit that I still collect rocks! You may wish to read this entry that shares 5 ways to organize rock collections: 5 Ways to Display Rock Collections.

Use this week’s Outdoor Hour Challenge to learn a bit about rocks that you may already have in your collection. Or use the information and videos in the original challenge to build enthusiasm for a rock hunt soon.

Outdoor Hour Challenge Rock Study Marble Calcite Limestone @handbookofnaturestudy

View the original challenge here: Outdoor Hour Challenge – Calcite, Limestone, Marble.

Rock Study Up close Notebook page

If you have access to the ebook, there is a general rock activity on page 39 that everyone can use: Rocks Up Close printable. Take this notebook page along with you this week during your Outdoor Hour Challenge and see how many things you can find.

Newsletter Resources: Members also have access to the two newsletters in the archives that feature rock nature studies: January 2013 and February 2016.

Under a Rock Notebook Page

Alternate Study: Members can download and print the Under a Rock Notebook Page. Find a rock, turn it over and then observe what you can find underneath. This is a fun activity with or without the notebook page.

Handbook of Nature Study Autumn Nature Study 2015 Cover Image

Sample to view: Outdoor Hour Challenge Autumn Nature Study 2015 Sample Pages

If you don’t have a membership yet, click the graphic above and join today for immediate access to the 26 ebooks and so much more! Remember that all levels, even the Discovery level membership, include access to all of the archived newsletters!

Topics in this ebook include:

  • Swallows and swifts
  • Catfish
  • Jewelweed
  • Prickly lettuce
  • Cockroach
  • Field horsetail
  • Catbird
  • Calcite, limestone, marble
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Hedgehog fungi
  • Sapsucker
  • Brooks

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Nature Journal Project: Trace an Object – From the Archives

Once a Month Nature Journal Project

Trace an Object – From the Archives

I understand how difficult it is to stare at a blank page in a nature journal. This month’s suggestion may just help you get over that apprehension by allowing you to just trace an object you find during your outdoor time.

Trace a birch leaf nature journal (2)

Tracing an object helps us get over the fear of not sketching it “right”.

Use the ideas from the archives listed below to use in your nature journal this month.

Once a Month Nature Journal Project Trace an Object @handbookofnaturestudy

Nature Journal Page Ideas:

  • Gather several smaller items to trace for your nature journal. Look for a collection of items from one subject like a leaf, small cone, an acorn, or a seed pod from a backyard tree.
  • Trace the outline of an item and then use the shape to contain your journal writing.
  • Trace the outline with pencil and then use watercolors or crayons to finish up the artwork.
  • Challenge your older children to trace an item and then fill in with as much detail as possible.

Trace a birch leaf nature journal (2)

If you need more inspiration, I created a Pinterest board that gathers dozens of actual nature journal pages from participants.

Complete list of all the Once a Month Nature Journal Project Ideas

Getting Started with Nature Journals





Teaching the “Hard” Nature Study Subjects—Rocks


To many of us, a desire to learn about rocks does not come naturally. Rocks can seem ordinary and we don’t take time to really notice them.

rock collecting on a hike

Possible Reasons for Lack of Interest in Rocks

¨ Little interest in rocks because they seem commonplace

¨ Limited  knowledge about rocks and how to identify them

¨ Lack of physical subjects to examine

We stub our toe on them when hiking and we work hard at digging them out of our gardens, generally they just seem to be in the way. But, upon closer examination, those same rocks we see as annoyances can become an interesting topic for a lifelong nature study interest. Collecting rocks and minerals as we go about our normal business and when we travel can become a source of awe and wonder at their beauty and structure.  So how do we go about offering a “hard” study like rocks and minerals?

rock collection quartz

How to Overcome the Obstacles

¨ Develop interest over time – Use all of your available resources to make rocks more interesting. Does your child find volcanoes fascinating? Did they find some cool rocks on their nature walk? Have they looked at rocks with a magnifying lens? Do they want to make jewelry with rocks? Find ways to pull in lots of different ways of learning about rocks.

granite up close rock collection

¨ Build Up Knowledge – Kids like to be armed with facts so a field guide or books from the library on rock topics can be a source of fueling a new interest in the topic. Finding a mentor in your local community that collects rocks or visiting a rock and gem show can be a huge help in generating a spark of interest in rocks and rock collecting.

rock collection in jars

¨ Start a Collection – A rock collection that contains both rocks from your nature walks and rocks you perhaps purchase from nature shops while on field trips or vacations will over time give your family a great reference tool. Keep track of where you find or purchase the rocks with labels either on the rock or in a boxed collection.

 Outdoor Hour Challenge Rock Study Marble Calcite Limestone @handbookofnaturestudy

Look for the upcoming Outdoor Hour Challenge for calcite, limestone, and marble. Remember the thoughts above when you read through the challenge and see if you can find a way to make the study interesting and fun for your family.