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Year 2 Science

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The Earth's Important Minerals: Go For the Gold!

london 2012 olympic gold medals

The Earth Makes Different Kinds of Rocks

The next time you have a chance, pick up a handful of rocks and look at them. You'll notice how different rocks can be. Some seem all one colour, while others are streaked with different colours. Some are dark, while some are light. Some are so smooth that it almost makes you want to rub them, while others are rough and jagged. There are so many different rocks.

Just as it takes different ingredients to bake a cake, lots of ingredients go into making rocks. Each of these ingredients is a mineral. Most rocks are made up of several minerals.

Important Minerals

We can find lots of different minerals in the earth. People have learned how to find minerals in the earth and how to dig them out, or mine them. We mine the mineral called halite, then use it to make salt for our food. We mine the mineral iron ore, then use it to make steel, which goes into cars, refrigerators and bicycles. We mine the mineral copper, then use it to make cooking pots, electrical wiring and pennies.

Gold is also a mineral. When you think of gold, maybe you think of gold medals, jewellery or pirate's treasure. For thousands of years, people have used gold to make the things they consider most valuable, such as coins, rings and crowns. All the gold in the world comes from the earth.

Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals

At the Olympics, each athlete works hard to win and be number one! Therefore, the gold medal (do you see the front and back of the London 2012 Olympic gold medal in the photo?) is what every Olympic athlete tries to win. Some people cheer 'Go for the gold!' because they are cheering on the athletes to win the gold medal.

Once the competition's results are in, there is a medal ceremony. The top three athletes, or teams if it is a team sport, are awarded medals and the national anthem for their country is played. The #1 athlete is awarded the gold medal because gold is considered so valuable. The second place athlete wins the silver medal, which is also an important mineral. The athlete in third place wins a bronze medal.

David Watkins is the talented decorative artist who has been selected to design the Olympic victory medals. You can see the medals that he designed in the British Museum in London during the Olympic games.


This activity is adapted from pages 328 - 329 of What Your Year 2 Child Needs to Know, which can be purchased here.

Click below to see the related activity.

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