Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Week 9: Minerals and Alternative Energies Exploration

Deb Wilson, an assistant collections manager and mineral photographer, came to our Energy-Net meeting today to provide us with some information about minerals and their uses. When we came in, Deb had a slide show of beautiful pictures of minerals, and we could try our hand at identifying the minerals on the screen. Just incase we got frustrated, she had a list for us. After we spent some time viewing the slide show and magazines she brought in, she showed us some samples of specific minerals. We were able to touch some of the samples she brought as she told us some practical uses for each mineral. Some of the uses we were able to guess, but some were very surprising. She also told us a little about how certain minerals were mined or gathered.

Once we finished looking at the samples and asking any questions we had, Deb took us upstairs to explore the Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems. It was amazing! We were all very surprised by how large the exhibit was. It is right across from the Paleolab and easy to walk right past. Trust us, the next time you are at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History you do not want to miss it!

There were so many mineral specimens to browse. We had a great time deciding what some of them looked like. One looked like a porcupine! The colors in there were amazing, too. Many of the minerals were very brightly colored. Deb told us that all of the specimens in the hall were real and not a recreation. It was amazing to see the beauty that nature can create.

We spent a long time browsing the gallery and then made our way back down to the classroom. Once there, Angela had a slideshow for us to view about how minerals and energy impact our life every minute of every day. It was mind boggling to see all of the minerals and energy required just to use your alarm in the morning! This led into our discussion of alternative energies.

The EI's did a presentation on the various aspects of wind turbines. We looked at the energy involved in building a wind turbine/wind farm, the energy payback period for the construction, and the impact wind farms can have on wildlife species. The wind turbines have been thought to kill large numbers of birds following their migration patterns.

For the next two weeks we will  be working very hard to brainstorm and create our exhibit showcasing everything we have learned this past semester. Our exhibit opens on April 20th so we have some work to do!

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