GemKids for Schools: Educator Guide

This Educator Guide uses the study of gems to illuminate the big-picture connections between nature, human industry, arts, and culture. The 54-page Guide provides teachers with hands-on and inquiry-based activity suggestions, pacing recommendations, assessments, and even culminating project ideas.

AGE: 3rd to 5th Graders

TIME: 4 lessons, approx. 60 minutes each

The field of gemology provides an extraordinary opportunity for teachers. Gems can reveal the history of our planet, lead to conversations about the intersecting worlds of business and culture, and help students understand the changing definitions of beauty and value.
This Educator Guide features 4 activity packed lessons covering topic areas in geology, gemology, arts and culture and community.
Students will learn about:
  • How gems form in the natural environment
  • How people labor to bring them into use
  • How civilizations have valued gems throughout time
  • How ethics guide the field today and into the future
Lesson 1:  Rock Stars – How are gems formed?
  • Topics: Introduction to rocks, minerals, and gems 
Lesson 2: A Dazzling Journey – How does a gem get to me?
  • Topics: The environment and industry of gems (gemology)
Lesson 3:  Time to Shine! – What are the world’s all-time greatest gems?
  • Topics: Gems and jewels throughout history (arts and culture)
Lesson 4: Look into the Crystal Ball – What Is the future of the bling business?
  • Topics: Current issues, ethics, careers in gemology (community)
National education standards:
Aligns with Next Generation Science, Common Core ELA and Math, National Council for Social Studies, and International Society for Technology in Education. To address the needs of busy teachers, a set of Common Core handouts can be used for test prep, homework, or class work. In addition, critical 21st-century skills, such as creativity and innovation, are integrated seamlessly into the learning tasks and activities. 
Pacing recommendations:
The lessons are designed for an upper elementary school classroom, where teachers can break apart instruction to suit the needs of their students. Each lesson can be taught in one 60-minute class period, but can also be divided into shorter lessons to be taught throughout the day or week. We recommend lessons be delivered in sequence, but they can also stand alone as individual lessons. Timing estimates may vary from class to class. 
Culminating project:
Celebrate learning with an optional interdisciplinary gemology exhibition at the end of the unit. See the sidebar on page 34 of the Guide for more information on planning and preparing for the event.

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