Pikes Peak Pebble Pups

Pikes Peak Pebble Pups

Friday, September 16, 2011

Earning a Merit Badge in Gold Panning & Prospecting

GOLD HAS BEEN HIGHLY VALUED throughout human history as a precious metal.  these merit badge activities will teach you why.  You can lean about gold as a mineral, its uses and history, and even how to find a gold flake or nugget of your own. To earn your gold panning and prospecting badge, you need to complete at least 3 of the six activities below. When you have earned your badge please let your pebble pup leaders know.  You may have up to one year to complete this badge it needed.

Activity 1. Gold as a mineral. Buy a book on minerals or pick one up at the library to learn about the properties of gold as a mineral: its color, streak, cleavage, fracture, luster, hardness, crystal shape, and weight or specific gravity. Compare all these to properties of pyrite, or "fool's gold."

Activity 2. Write a report about why gold is considered valuable and the many ways it's used. Consider using artwork. Turn your one-page report into your pebble pup leaders for publication in the club's newsletter.  If you need ANY help just ask your pebble pup leaders.

Activity 3. Gold throughout history.
Gold has been valued, sought, and fought over throughout history.  Learn about a historical event involving gold and write a one or two page report about it for your club newsletter.  Consider using your own artwork. If you need ANY help just ask your pebble pup leaders.

Activity 4. Gold resources in your own state or region.
Where has gold been found near your? From your library, from adult members of your club or society, or from the Colorado State Geological Survey (http://geosurvey.state.co.us/Pages/CGSHome.aspx), learn and then write a report about areas closest to you where gold has been found.  Be creative.  You might go to the site and take a picture or two, make a map, or include original artwork.  If artwork and photos are used, this should be about two pages.
Activity 5. Panning for gold. This can be accomplished at the Denver Gem and Mineral Show field trip on Saturday, September 16, 2011.  The Gold Prospectors of Colorado will have a demonstration set up so that each pebble pup can participate and pan gold until they learn how to do it.  Knowing how to pan gold, use a sucker bottle, and how to put your gold nuggets into little jars is so much fun.  There will be a field trip announced at the next pebble pup meeting where we can go and pan gold at the Western Musuem of Mining and Industry.  Going to this museum is free to pebble pups, and the leaders will demonstrate all that you need to know.
Note on writing reports: the CSMS and Lake George Pebble Pups have been very effective in writing reports and having them published. Many of the pups have received regional and national writing awards.  Several of the work of the pebble pups have been published in international magazines.    We want to continue that work.  If you have any questions email your pebble pup leader for direct help with any written project that you should undertake for this or any other merit badge.  Articles published in magazines need references, and we will be happy to show you how to do this.

Poured gold dore from Cripple Creek, Colorado.
Photo courtesy of Cripple Creek and Victor Gold Mining Company
Supplemental activities planned for next summer:
There will be a field trip to Cache Creek, Colorado near the small town of Granite where we will stake a claim for the morning and run sluice boxes and pan for gold.  The date will be announced in one of our meetings and will be in the summer of 2012
A prospector is getting down to serious business with a sluice box
Useful websites to look at:
Gold prospecting 
Gold information
California gold     
Jefferson lab      

Welcome! This is the gateway to adventure and discovery

Through this blog pebble pups and junior members of the Colorado Springs Mineralogical Society can access their lessons, work on assignments and projects, and receive details about field trips in the Pikes Peak Region. This Internet program is also suitable for young people who are interested in Earth science but do not live near a rock club or gem and mineral society or for young people anywhere who want a deeper dive into these topics. The only requirement is that all participants must be members of the Colorado Springs Mineralogical Society and must fill out the CSMS membership form (under important websites) and send their registration and membership fee in. Steven Veatch is the senior instructor and will need an email from you with your name, address, phone number, and permission from your parents to participate in this program.