Why not know your local rocks?

Now you can order Kids Rock! games below.

The Kids Rock! game was conceived in response to a simple question.  Why shouldnÕt everyone who can tell a pine tree from an oak, or a cardinal from a bluejay, also recognize the most common local rocks and minerals – those that are likely to turn up in his or her own neighborhood?

Dr. Bill Witherspoon, co-author of Roadside Geology of Georgia, introduced the game at the Atlanta Science Festival in 2014.  He found that anyone old enough to read was able to correctly place the numbered stones on their squares in what is now the learning game, and even younger children could do so when descriptions were read to them.

Practice recognizing the four rocks and one mineral by flipping the game board over for the say and slide game. Then see if you can name each stone without reading the names from the board. If you can, you are ready for the advanced game with mystery stone. 

which rocks are local?

Just as the plants and animals are different at the mountains or the beach, different types of rock have formed in different areas.

In Atlanta, the local rocks assumed their present form under great heat and pressure, after tectonic plates buried them more than seven miles underground. This happened when continents collided about 300 million years ago to make the supercontinent Pangaea. As Pangaea pulled apart, forming the Atlantic Ocean, erosion was able to uncover the rocks. Similar rocks are exposed from Alabama, along the Appalachian trend all the way to Canada, as seen on this map.

The Piedmont edition rocks, gneiss, schist, and amphibolite are high-grade metamorphic rocks – changed from other rocks at temperatures and pressures that allowed the rocks to flow like taffy without actually melting. The granite in the same edition is an intrusive igneous rock, meaning it formed as magma cooled slowly, deep below the surface. The mineral, quartz, formed in veins among the metamorphic rocks, from silica dissolved in superheated water, much as salt crystals remain when seawater evaporates.

learning game

Put all the stones on Start.  Move each stone to the box where it is described. SAY the name of the rock or mineral. The numbered tags wonÕt help, because the stones are not in number order.

When you are done, check the numbers against the Tag# column on your identification sheet.

say and slide game

Use the back side of the playing board. Place all five stones NUMBER SIDE DOWN on Other. SAY each name as you SLIDE each stone to its place. DONÕT PEEK at the number tags yet! When all five stones are on their squares, turn them over and check the numbers.

If the numbers do not all match, just slide all the rocks back to the Other square and try again.

To finish the say and slide game, see if you can name all the rocks without looking at their names on the board.

advanced game with mystery stone

Return the five numbered stones to their plastic bag. Use the back side of the playing board. Place the ten unnumbered stones on their squares. There should be EXACTLY two stones on each square.

The Other square is for two stones that donÕt match any square.  One is not a rock or mineral – it is human-made, such as a piece of asphalt pavement or concrete. The other is your MYSTERY STONE.

Use the table on your sheet to identify your mystery stone. To check whether you identified it correctly, look for its first letter(s) handwritten on the bottom of the rock container.

identification sheet

Each edition includes a sheet with a table for identifying the five numbered stones. The tag number column in the table lets you check your answers. On the flip side of the sheet is the table for the other common rocks or minerals you might find in your neighborhood. One of these will be the mystery stone in the unnumbered set.

You can download a copy of the identification sheet for your Kids Rock edition below. Feel free to share the link and make copies for your friends. This will help anyone recognize the rocks in your area.

Piedmont edition (map- inside purple line)

Other editions NOW AVAILABLE:

Coastal Plain edition (map- south of blue line)

Blue Ridge West edition (map- inside green line)

Valley Interior edition (map- north of yellow line)

ordering Kids Rock!

Kids Rock! sets (minimum 4 games) can now be ordered at this link. Or look for single games at Dr. Witherspoon's public events.