Mineral Lesson for Kids: Definition & Facts

Instructor: Jennifer Lowery

Jennifer has taught elementary levels K-3 and has master's degrees in elementary education and curriculum/instruction and educational leadership.

Minerals come in all forms and are found all over the world. In this lesson, learn the definition of a mineral, explore mineral properties and discover how geologists measure and study these properties.

What is a Mineral?

If you look around the room right now, you will find that there are minerals everywhere! Minerals are part of so many items we use every day, that we can forget they're in everything from cell phones and televisions to windows.

A mineral is a solid material that's naturally occurring, so it's not man-made. Minerals have a structure that makes them look crystalline, which means they look like they're made of crystals. They're created by processes that occur in the Earth, like volcanic activity. Some minerals are found in geodes, which are structures found in volcanic or sedimentary rocks and come from hollow bubbles created by lava or animal burrows.

The outside of a geode may not look like anything special, but inside there are often brightly colored minerals.
minerals in a geode

What Are Minerals Made Of?

There are thousands of different types of minerals, and those minerals are made from elements. An element is also something that occurs in nature, and it cannot be broken down into a simpler substance. Some minerals are made from a single element, while others are made of two or more. For example, a diamond is made only from carbon. However, pyrite (which is also known as 'fool's gold') is a combination of iron and sulfur.

Pyrite is a mineral that is made of two elements.
Fools Gold

Mineral Properties

Minerals are found on land, but that's not the kind of 'property' we're talking about here! A property of a mineral is a characteristic or quality that it has. Geologists are scientists that study rocks and minerals, and they use very specific properties when looking at and describing minerals. Color is an easy property to determine, and minerals come in all kinds of bright colors. Geologists also look for a property called luster, which refers to how well the mineral reflects light. Think of this as the shiny property.

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