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  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. Salt

    Salt may be a common table seasoning, but it also has a variety of other uses. Our most common salt, sodium chloride, can be found in seawater, salt springs, marshes and soil. Discover these examples as well their many applications. Learn More
  4. 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
  5. Interior of the Earth

    Dig underneath the Earth's surface to get a glimpse of the great stratification found there. Examine the surface and notice how much denser and more compact the inward layers become. Learn More
  6. Volcano

    Transport yourself to the edge of a volcano and take a long look into its complex core. You will learn about temperature differences in each layer of the volcano and figure out exactly what it takes to cause an eruption. Learn More
  7. Pig Iron

    Check out this brittlest of irons, the first product when iron ores are smelted. Pig Iron, also called cast iron, is used in many familiar objects, like stoves, kettles, and flatirons. Learn More
  8. Igneous Rocks

    Crack open a piece of igneous rock and discover the characteristics that make each piece unique. The crystal structure within classifies each type according to its cooling time and mineral ingredients. Learn More
  9. 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
  10. Coal Mine Model

    Dive into the difficult underground world of coal mining. Complete with tiny workers and machinery, this model exhibits the ways in which we locate and harvest this all-important fuel. Learn More

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