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What Are Minerals, Anyway?

Contributor: Kaitlyn Aston. Lesson ID: 12506

Perhaps you take pills or eat foods that contain vitamins and minerals, like calcium and iron. You may be surprised to find out what exactly minerals are. Once you do, you'll enjoy working with them!


Earth Science

learning style
personality style
Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Primary (K-2)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!


Do you know what these are called? Just saying "rocks" won't do it. Here's a hint: You need to eat them to live! Interested?

You may have said that the objects above are rocks or stones.

If you did, you're awfully close, because the fancy-looking stones pictured above are minerals.

  • Have you ever heard of minerals?

Maybe you've heard that certain foods contain vitamins and minerals.

  • But what is a mineral?

A mineral is a rock that is found in nature and is not made by humans. This means that if you tried making a mineral, it would no longer be considered a mineral because you made it! Just like plants are not made by humans (although humans can water them, give them sunlight, and help them to grow), minerals cannot be made by humans, either.

Also, each mineral is made up of a special recipe of chemical elements that makes it the exact mineral that it is! In the same way that you add different ingredients to make chocloate chip cookies or oatmeal raisin cookies, different chemical elements, when put together, make different types of minerals. Interstingly enough, because of the certain elements that minerals are made up of, they are only ever found as solids (never as liquids or gases).

Finally, minerals are not, and have never been, alive. They differ from plants because, although minerals come from nature, they are not living (so you can never "kill" a mineral like you can kill a plant by not watering it or giving it sunlight).

People can make very beautiful jewelry and other items from minerals. Before anyone can make an object out of a specific mineral, they have to first know what that mineral is.

  • So, how do you find out what mineral it is?

It looks like you will need to conduct an investigation in order to identify and name each mineral!

  • Are you ready to become a detective?

Let’s join Flo as you jump into your investigation!


  • Who knew that was even possible?

As Flo told you in the video, minerals can make streaks of different colors when they are rubbed against paper. Although Flo did not have time to show you what each mineral's streak color looked like before heading out to track down some hyenas, this streak test can help you take one more step towards finding out the names of each of the minerals.

For more information about minerals and what they are, be sure to check out additional pages on minerals in the Discover! Science program textbook if it is available for you to use.

Continue on to the Got It? section for a quick quiz!

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