Nature and Science Programs at Wonder Works

ESCONI Juniors — Spinner and Junior Sales Area
March 4, 2016, 5:30 am
Filed under: ESCONI, Rock Hunters

We used many of the same rock, mineral, and fossil specimens for both the ESCONI spinner and Juniors sales area.

For a quarter a spin (or five spins for a dollar), children could take their chances with the ESCONI spinner. Each spin won at least one mineral, rock, fossil, or shell specimen:


The ESCONI Juniors sales tables included inexpensive rocks, minerals, fossils, and shells that were sold only to children and their teachers. The next photo includes examples of the specimens we had for sale.  If you click on the photo, you can see a much larger version of it, with better looks at the specimens and their labels:


For more photos of the Juniors sales tables, scroll down to the bottom of this page. If you click to enlarge those photos, you may be able to identify specimens that you bought at the ESCONI Juniors booth.

The next few photos identify some of these more common specimens available at the spinner and sales tables. For each type of specimen we give as much information as we have about it. Because some donors did not provide much information about their specimens (or that information was misplaced during storage), we sometimes don’t know where specimens were found or, for fossils, how old they are.


Peeled Sheets of Muscovite Mica

Muscovite is one of several types of the mineral, mica. It is sometimes called white mica. One of the amazing features of this mineral is that thin, flexible, transparent sheets of mica can be peeled off the thicker crystals. The peeled sheets of muscovite shown in the following photo were one of the specimens you could win at the ESCONI spinner:


To learn more about Muscovite Mica, click here or click here.

Quartz Crystals

There were several sizes of quartz crystals available at the spinner and sales tables. Here are examples of the smallest and clearest crystals, which were a couple of centimeters long:


You can find quartz crystals like these in places like Hot Springs, Arkansas. To learn more about the mineral, quartz, click here. To learn more about the quartz crystals found in the Hot Springs, Arkansas, area, click here.

Copper Ore

The greenish and bluish coloring on the rocks in this photo are different minerals that contain the element, copper:


The rocks in the photo came from a copper mine, possibly in Arizona or Nevada. Because the rocks are rich in copper mineral, they can be used as an ore of copper. To learn more about copper ore and copper minerals, click here or click here.



Young collectors could win several types of polished rocks at the ESCONI spinner, or buy them at the sales table. (These polished rocks had all been run through rock tumblers to make them rounded and polished, so they were super smooth. To learn more about tumbling rocks, click here or click here.)

Here are two types of polished rocks that we had available this year.

Polished Beach Pebbles

These included common types of rocks; like granite and limestone, that can be found on Lake Michigan beaches. Here are some examples (mostly varieties of granite):


Polished Agates

Agate is a color-banded variety of quartz. (The crystals in agate are so small that it’s hard to see them even with a microscope.) Some of the agates at the Juniors table were collected on the shores of the Great Lakes (especially Lake Superior), but others came from the western United States, or other countries. Here are some examples:


To learn more about agates, click here. To learn more about Lake  Superior Agates, click here or click here.



If you click on the photos below, you can enlarge them and perhaps identify specimens that you bought at the Juniors booth (or won at the spinner). The first two photos are mostly fossils, and the last photo is mostly rocks and minerals.

After looking at the photos, if you still cannot identify something you obtained at the ESCONI Juniors booth, email me a photo of the specimen, and I’ll see if I can tell you what it is. (I’m Eric Gyllenhaal at )




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