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Andrew Alden

How to Play

By January 18, 2011

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Someone who has finished the first installment of my "Learn Your Minerals" email course writes to say that he has acquired a rock hammer and magnifier, as I recommend, and a backpack too, which I didn't mention, and asks, "So what am I missing?" I guess that one answer might be this: permission to go out and play.

To many people—probably most of us grownups—it's been a long time since we just walked out the door and wandered around. What are the instructions? The instructions are to take the leash off. A big part of a scientist's training involves controlling that leash—when to use your imagination and when to suppress it—but I don't remember a point where an instructor explained it in those terms. For most of us, growing up is all about learning self-restraint, and then you have to set an example for the kids you're training. That's a lot of habit to overcome. What advice would you give?


January 18, 2011 at 2:43 pm
(1) Garry Hayes says:

Great idea! You immediately reminded me of advice I’ve given our local teachers, and I’ve posted the info at geotripper. Thanks for the great idea/concept – Permission to Play!


January 18, 2011 at 3:16 pm
(2) J E Logan says:

Take pictures with a digital camera and store them in a computer so that on dark winter nights you can keep on enjoying the field trip!

January 31, 2011 at 2:35 am
(3) christie says:

well said Andrew – “permission to play” is a good description of what to do next, in a lot of ways:

A) give yourself time to ponder and observe without pressure
B) be patient and don’t have unreasonable expectations – it takes a long time (and serendipity) to develop the skill to discover and collect really special samples
C) make sure you know the regulations on rock sampling in the area you intend to visit!

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