educational trips to sterling hill mining museum Sterling Hill Mining Museum, NJ



Education Outreach: Classroom Visits student identifying rocks at sterling hill mining museum

The Sterling Hill Mining Museum, through its Rent-a-Scientist and Rent-a-Miner programs, offers a wide range of classroom presentations and activities for students in science, technology, history, and social studies.

The content of most visits can be adapted to almost any age group and to the specific curricular needs of your class, school, or home school group just ask. The following are some of the topics we offer. Upon request we can present additional topics as well, so if you don't see what you want here, please contact us. Prices range from $400 for 1/2 day to $600 for a full day, with a surcharge depending on driving time to any school outside our local area.

To schedule a classroom visit with one of our scientists, contact Jason Winkler, SHMM Education Coordinator, at To discuss adapting one of the listed classroom presentations to your specific needs, or to propose a presentation not yet on the list, contact Dr. Earl R. Verbeek, SHMM Education Director, at, or by phone at 973-209-7212.

The following are brief descriptions of classroom experiences currently on offer. We will bring to your class all needed materials for a content-rich, hands-on experience.

C1.  The Life of a Miner
Geologist Ron Mishkin tells of his experiences as a miner, from the hot depths of the appropriately named Magma mine in Arizona to the black chambers of New Jersey's Scrub Oak and Richard iron mines. Mr. Mishkin will discuss the dangers that miners face underground, the measures taken to protect miners from harm, and how those measures sometimes fail. Students will be given a sound introduction to a miner's life, not only within the context of the mine itself, but also in relation to miners' families and the communities in which they live. Stories about miners' superstitions and legends will be provided as well.

C2.  History of New Jersey's Iron Mines
The history of iron mining in New Jersey spans more than 250 years. Mines in Sussex, Morris, Passaic, and Warren Counties figured heavily in the outcome of the Revolutionary War, and iron from hundreds more helped propel our young nation into the Industrial Revolution. Learn how New Jersey's iron ore deposits were found and developed, how new towns sprung up around them, and how the early development of our state is largely the story of its mines. Specimens of the different types of New Jersey iron ores will be brought to the class, and students will participate in a demonstration of how the most important deposits were found.fluorescent toys

C3.  Fluorescent Materials in our Everyday Lives
Postage stamps, office paper, laundry detergents, driver's licenses, safety clothing – what do these things have in common? They all incorporate fluorescent materials as part of their function. Fluorescent materials are all around us, some in obvious ways (the overhead light tubes in our schools), but many hidden. During this presentation students will explore the many ways that fluorescence is used in our daily lives and will examine a host of fluorescent materials brought to class by the instructor.

C4.  Rock, Sediment, and Mineral Resources of New Jersey
This classroom visit is a hands-on introduction to the rock, sediment, and mineral resources of the State of New Jersey, using examples from New Jersey mines and quarries. Students will learn the properties of New Jersey rocks and sediments by examining and handling them, and will be introduced to the many uses of these materials in our society. Examination of a simplified geological map of New Jersey will reveal why a thriving glass industry began in the southern part of our state, why brick and pottery works were concentrated along the eastern shore, and why the Portland cement industry focused its attentions in the northwestern part of the state. Depending on teacher preference this presentation can be slanted toward geology, history, or technology.

C5.  Minerals-an Intensive Overview
This classroom module is designed to "hook" students by featuring minerals as objects of fascination rather than simply components of rocks. Students will learn how to construct a compass from a natural mineral, see how nature created fiber-optic materials long before they were made in a laboratory, learn why diamonds are called "ice" among jewel thieves, and learn why some minerals are regarded as gemstones and others are not. Numerous hands-on activities are available for teachers to choose from. This classroom presentation can be adapted to almost any age group or level of experience upon prior consultation with the instructor.

C6.  Introduction to Paleontology
In this session students will be introduced to Paleontology, the study of ancient life. This will include a review of what defines a fossil, along with key terms and concepts used by paleontologists. Students will handle fossils from the major biological groups of organisms and learn about the processes that lead to fossilization. The importance of the New Jersey fossil record will be a focal point throughout, including discussion of New Jersey dinosaurs, mammoths, and insects trapped in amber. Fossils also offer an excellent and absorbing introduction to the geology of New Jersey. This presentation can be adapted to a wide range of grade levels.

C7.  How to Identify (and Appreciate!) Rocks
How would you tell a friend how to recognize a person they've never met? You'd supply a list of characteristics: height, eye color, hair color and hair style, overall build, etc. It's the same with rocks, as our instructors will show. We'll bring rocks to your classroom and guide students through hands-on exercises on how geologists identify rocks in the field through simple, safe, and time-tested techniques. We'll also show you how rocks are used in our everyday lives.

C8.  Maps, Maps, and More Maps
Maps are all around us, from road atlases in our cars, to weather maps on TV, to subway and bus maps in major cities, to maps of the hallways and classrooms in your school. In this session students will explore the many different kinds of maps and learn how information is portrayed on them. For earth science classes attention will focus on the 1:24,000 topographic quadrangle maps of the U.S. Geological Survey, but teachers of history or sociology classes may prefer a different focus (just ask!). Acquisition of basic map-reading skills has many applications to students' daily lives as well, as we will reveal in class.

C9.  What's It Made Of?
We are now in our third generation of people who are largely disconnected from the Earth. Few of us these days make things for ourselves; instead we go out and buy them. In consequence, many schoolchildren have no means of making the connection between raw materials provided by the Earth and the household objects they use every day. What's in window glass? A coffee cup? The glossy paper of a book? The shingles on your roof? How does a bathtub drain pipe relate to a gas well? Let us show you, as we explore the familiar world around us in a new way.