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  1. Rocks and Minerals

    Rocks and minerals are the solid substances that make up Earth. Just like all matter on Earth, rocks and minerals are part of a constantly changing system that cycles through changes, in this case, the rock cycle. In this experience box students will observe samples of rocks and minerals to investigate physical and chemical properties, explore how these substances change over time and analyze the way humans do and can use rocks and minerals. Learn More
  2. Origin of Coal

    Discover the incredibly time consuming process nature uses to create coal. Closely linked to fossilization, the various stages of coal production are displayed in samples here. Learn More
  3. Pebbles, How Shaped by Erosion

    Investigate the long, complicated process of rock erosion that produces pebbles, and eventually, sand and soil. You will also get a glimpse of different geological patterns through diagrams and rock samples. Learn More
  4. Aluminum Production

    Explore the most versatile of all metals, aluminum can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and can also be extruded, forged, and cast in molds. Aluminum is also often alloyed with other metals. Learn More
  5. Common Metal Ores of Illinois

    Unearth the valuable metals we know as ores. Usually found concentrated in deposits, these examples illustrate some of the common ores found in Illinois. Learn More
  6. Prairie Life

    A prairie is a unique ecological system that supports diverse plants and animals that depend upon each other for survival. Take a nature walk around your school to predict what plants' root systems look like underground and compare them with the prairie plant specimens in this box. Examine prairie mammals and birds up close to connect their physical characteristics with the prairie ecosystem. A few items in some of these boxes are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and may only be borrowed by educational institutions that are open to the general public and are non-profit (such as a public or charter school), but may not be borrowed by private individuals or institutions without a special permit. If you have any questions about whether you or your institution qualify to borrow this box without a permit, please contact us. Learn More
  7. Geology of Illinois

    Parts of Illinois were once covered with glacial ice sheets. Learn how glaciers and other Earth processes shaped the land. Box includes photographs, rock and soil specimens, and maps. Learn More
  8. Hydrocarbons

    Discover the important elements that form the basis for natural gas, coal and bitumen. Natural hydrocarbons are all produced through delicate processes requiring thousands of years. Learn More
  9. Fossil Plants of Illinois

    These fossils are from Mazon Creek region in Northeastern Illinois. They are from the Pennsylvanian Period of over 300 million years ago. Marvel in the beauty of these plant shapes and forms, incredibly preserved in ironstone concretions. Learn More
  10. Abrasives

    Scratch through the surface of these practical materials. Natural abrasives usually contain minerals with a tough grain structure, making them useful in grinding materials like metal and wood, and artificial abrasives closely mimic this structure. Learn More

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