by Nick Owens
The gem and mineral show returned to Waterloo’s Earth Science Museum this weekend, with many different activities to showcase some of the natural wonders that this world has to offer. The show included a series of different activities that encouraged interaction with types of minerals. As well, a number of vendors came out, selling various minerals to those who were interested. Some simply sold samples of rocks to those who wanted to observe them at home. Others created different forms of jewellery or, in one venders case, lamps out of the same types of gems that the show was designed to showcase.
The minerals shown were widely varied, from replicas of the tyrannosaurus fossils from the Royal Ontario Museum, to gemstones from all over the world, to genuine fossils that date back to the days of dinosaurs. Everything was set up to bring educate anyone who was interested about the various pieces of knowledge that can be extrapolated from, what ultimately amounts to, a series of different rocks.
Many of the interactive exhibits were targeted primarily at the younger generation of future geologists. As one volunteer said, “It’s good to see these children taking such an interest in [earth sciences]. Plenty of them already know way more about fossils then I would have at their age.” He noted that one child who couldn’t have been more than seven had no trouble whatsoever identifying several of the fossils that were on display. This seems like an encouraging sign to the advantages that events like this pose. Ensuring that the next generation is interested in a field of research ensures that we will continue to learn more and more from that field of research.
Plenty of exhibits were also oriented towards people of all ages. For instance, one of the booths was based around using different methods to identify the gems that attendees of the show had brought. This seemed to attract older guests as well as the younger ones. Another activity was designed to teach people more about the Great Lakes, while one was particularly meant to display different dinosaur fossils. It was interesting to notice how both adults and children would have a similar look on their face once they realised that they were handling fossilized dinosaur dung.
Even if you happened to miss the show this year, it does happen annually. However, if you don’t feel like you can wait until next year, the show will be visiting London, ON this November. As well, the Earth Science Museum has a number of permanent exhibits, showcasing different fossils and minerals.