The Discovery Kids Gemstone Dig Stem Science Kit offers a fun hands-on way for kids to unearth real gemstones while learning about geology and mineralogy. The kit contains one brick filled with 11 genuine gems for kids to chisel out using the included tools. It provides an engaging STEM activity as children dig for buried treasure and expand their knowledge of rocks and minerals.
Reviews of the Discovery Kids kit are mixed, with most agreeing it captivates kids’ curiosity. Children enjoy excavating the brick to find sparkling stones. However, some reviewers note the kit lacks enough educational materials about the gemstones. While kids have fun digging them up, there are limited resources to help identify and learn about the different gems. The included streak test plate also failed to work properly for some users.
While the Discovery Kids Gemstone Dig gets high marks for being an entertaining STEM activity, additional content about the unearthed gems could make it a more well-rounded learning experience. The kit excels at sparking an initial interest in geology, but falls short in providing information to fully capitalize on that curiosity. Providing more detailed educational materials would improve the Discovery Kids kit from a fun digging game to a true gemstone learning experience.
Overview of the Discovery Kids Gemstone Dig Kit
The Discovery Kids kit contains the following components:
- 1 brick filled with 11 genuine gemstones for excavation
- Digging tools – mallet and chisel
- Safety goggles
- Magnifying glass for inspecting discoveries
- Streak plate for mineral testing
- Brush and instructions
The primary purpose of the kit is to allow children to dig for real buried treasure in the form of sparkling gemstones. It provides an engaging hands-on geology activity as kids explore the science of rocks and minerals firsthand. The experience is designed to ignite curiosity and introduce earth science concepts in an enjoyable way.
The Discovery Kids Gemstone Digging Process
The process of excavating gems from the brick is an adventure in itself. First, children don safety goggles to protect their eyes. Next, they use the mallet and chisel included in the kit to carefully chip away at the brick, which is composed of a plaster-like material embedded with 11 genuine stones. As chunks of plaster break off, gems become exposed and can be plucked out using tweezers or fingers.
The digging process requires persistence, fine motor skills, and a bit of strategizing. Kids must strike the chisel correctly to break off pieces without damaging the precious stones buried within. It’s an exercise in problem-solving, critical thinking, and hand-eye coordination. The plaster is designed to be soft enough for children to chisel but hard enough to be challenging and engaging.
As gems emerge, kids can rinse them off in water and use the magnifying glass for close inspection. The kit recommends starting with the smallest gems first to avoid accidentally cracking larger stones still encased in plaster. The excavation process sparks natural curiosity as kids uncover each buried treasure.
Positive Aspects of the Gemstone Dig Kit
Promotes Active Hands-On STEM Learning
- Kids will love getting their hands dirty digging for glittering gems.
- Provides an interactive introduction to earth science concepts.
- Allows kids to make their own fossil discoveries.
- Sparks curiosity and kicks off an interest in geology and paleontology.
Exciting and Engaging Excavation Activity
- Excavating the brick is an exciting adventure for young rock hounds.
- Discovering the real gemstones is highly rewarding and builds a sense of accomplishment.
- Fosters problem-solving skills and critical thinking as kids strategize to free stubborn stones.
- Develops fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination through the digging process.
Foundational Knowledge of Geology and Mineralogy
- Kids learn about the formation and properties of different rock and mineral types.
- Get familiar with tools of the trade like magnifying glass, streak plate, and brushes.
- Discovering gems initiates further independent research into stones and minerals.
- Lays the groundwork for more advanced geology studies.
Gift Idea for Budding Geologists
- Perfect birthday or holiday gift for kids fascinated by rocks, gems, and minerals.
- Good choice for children interested in science, natural history, and archeology.
- Provides screen-free educational entertainment.
|Promotes hands-on STEM learning||Allows kids to actively engage in scientific principles like observation, inquiry, and problem-solving.|
|Interactive geology exploration||Uncovering real gemstones provides an exciting introduction to earth science concepts.|
|Sparks interest and curiosity||Digging for buried treasure builds curiosity about rocks, minerals, and geology.|
|Teaches basic mineralogy||Exposure to tools like magnifying glass and streak plate introduces mineral properties.|
|Develops motor skills||The process of excavating gems promotes hand-eye coordination, dexterity, and use of simple tools.|
|Sense of discovery and reward||Finding the gemstones gives kids a sense of accomplishment and fuels motivation to learn more.|
|Screen-free entertainment||Provides educational hands-on play, a change from TV, tablets and phones.|
|Gift idea||Good choice as a birthday or holiday gift for science-minded kids.|
Constructive Criticism and Recommendations
While the Discovery Kids Gemstone Dig excels at hands-on engagement, there are areas for improvement that could enhance the learning experience:
Lack of Educational Materials
- Kit lacks resources to identify and learn about the gemstones discovered.
- Should include a detailed guidebook with facts about each possible gem dug up.
- Missing a key opportunity to boost the educational value and teach kids about mineral properties.
- Include a photo guidebook identifying each gem with facts and characteristics.
- Provide an overview of how each stone ties to broader geology concepts.
- List the Mohs hardness value, chemical composition, and other data for each mineral.
Defective Streak Test Plates
- Many users report issues getting the included streak plates to work properly.
- Plates often fail to produce streaks needed to help identify mineral types.
- Improve quality control and functionality of included streak plates.
- Provide better instructions on how to utilize streak test properly.
- Include alternative mineral identification activities using other properties like cleavage, luster, or specific gravity.
Limited Re-Use Value
- Once all the gems are excavated, the kit cannot be reused in its current form.
- Offering refill brick kits would allow repeated geology exploration.
- Develop refill kits with new bricks to extend learning.
- Allow traded-in empty bricks to be refilled affordably.
- Provide additional tools/supplies for kids who master initial kit.
- Brick chiseling is difficult for kids under 10 and requires adult help.
- A preschool version with softer bricks would allow open-ended play for early learners.
- Create a distinct version for ages 4-7 with child-safe chisel/hammer and soft brick.
- Develop engaging geology kits tailored specifically for older children 10+ who can handle the current one.
|Lack of educational materials||Kit does not include enough information and resources to identify and learn about the gemstones.|
|Defective streak test plates||Plates often fail to produce streaks needed to identify mineral types.|
|Not reusable||Once gemstones are excavated, kit cannot be reused without purchasing refills.|
|Messy process||Digging process results in debris and plaster dust that requires cleanup.|
|Adult supervision required||Mallet and chisel tools may pose safety issues for unsupervised use by young kids.|
|Difficult for very young kids||Brick chiseling proves challenging for children under 8 or 9 years old.|
|Small gemstone size||Some kids may be disappointed with the small size of the unearthed gemstones.|
|Questions remain||Kit sparks interest but does not fully answer questions kids may have about the gemstones.|
Enhancing the Discovery Kids Learning Experience
Here are some additional ways the Discovery Kids Gemstone Dig kit could be supplemented to enhance the educational value and earth science learning experience:
Classroom Extension Activities: Teachers could expand on the kit by incorporating some of these engaging lesson ideas:
- Have students createreports researching their unique gemstones using reference books or online sources.
- Allow kids to design advertising posters or radio spots marketing their excavated gems.
- Introduce concepts like Mohs scale of mineral hardness using students’ gemstones.
- Examine cleavage, streak color, and other properties by testing gemstones.
Additional Learning Tools: Providing kids with these supplemental materials can deepen the learning experience:
- Gemstone collecting tray with individual compartments to organize discoveries.
- Child-friendly mineral field guides to aid with identification.
- Geology mapping activities related to gems and mining.
- Science experiments using the excavated stones related to physical properties.
Tie into Local Resources: Connect your young geologist with local learning venues like:
- Science museum gem exhibits and mineral displays.
- University geology department demonstrations.
- Rock and mineral shows.
- Dig sites, mines, caves, and other relevant field trip destinations.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many gemstones can be excavated from the brick?
Each kit includes 11 genuine gemstones buried within the brick for kids to dig out using the tools provided.
How big are the gemstones?
The unearthed gemstones range from small chips to approximately 1 inch stones. They are small but offer real gem samples kids can handle.
Is adult supervision required to use the kit safely?
Yes, adult supervision is recommended given the mallet and chisel included. Very young kids may have difficulty excavating gems. Ages 8+ are best suited for the kit.
What is the brick material made of?
The material encasing the gemstones is a plaster-like compound that chisels away similar to stone. It allows gems to be buried inside.
Is the kit reusable or refillable?
In its current form, the kit is designed for one-time use. Once gems are dug out, the brick cannot be refilled. Some reviewers recommend the manufacturer offer refill brick kits.
Where is the Discovery Kids Gemstone Dig Kit made?
The kits are designed and manufactured by Horizon Group USA headquartered in Warren, Michigan. Production is based in China.
Does the kit have any batteries or require charging?
No, the Discovery Kids Gemstone Dig Kit does not require batteries or charging. All parts including tools are manual.
Is this a good kit for classroom use?
Teachers report the kit works well for hands-on earth science activities in elementary classrooms when properly supervised. Refills may need to be purchased.
Final Verdict on the Discovery Kids Gemstone Dig Kit
With some enhancement of the educational materials and features, the Discovery Kids Gemstone Dig Kit could transform from solely an entertaining digging activity to a more complete earth science learning experience. Even in its current form, however, it succeeds at sparking a genuine interest in geology and mineralogy for young learners. If you have a child fascinated by rocks, gems and the process of uncovering buried treasure, the Discovery Kids kit provides engaging hands-on play tied to key STEM principles.