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Did you find a rock at the park and don't know what kind it is? Studying and learning about geology is fun for everyone. If you would like to learn more about rocks, minerals and fossils, then dive into the geology project! Discover the types of minerals, rocks and fossils that can be found where you live. Learn about geological formations across the state and in other states.


In this project, you will learn the difference between rocks and minerals, learn how to identify fossils, describe and identify rocks, understand stages of the rock cycle, and use the scientific method to solve problems.

Resources to help you learn

  • Geology – Introduction to the Study of the Earth

State Fair Exhibit Rules

Each county may submit 3 entries total from 50218, 50219, 50220, 50221, 50222; and 1 entry from 50224. Size and number of exhibit cases should relate appropriately to the number of specimens being displayed for a specified class. Specimens are not limited to Illinois locations. All levels of Geology use the same manual, Geology-Introduction to the Study of the Earth.

Pebble Pups 1 (SF 50218)

Display 8 to 19 rocks and mineral specimens with three minerals in the collections. Collection may include duplications that show variations. Label collection and note where found.

Pebble Pups 2 (SF 50219)

Display at least 20, but no more than 29, rocks and mineral specimens with seven minerals in the collections. Collection may include duplications that show variations. Label collection and note where found.

Rock Hounds 1 (SF 50220)

Display at least 30, but no more than 40, rocks and mineral specimens with ten minerals in the collection. Rocks should include at least three igneous, two metamorphic, and three sedimentary groups. Label collection and note where found.

Rock Hounds 2 (SF 50221)

Display no more than 50 specimens that have been selected to illustrate a specific theme of the exhibitor’s choosing. Be creative. Sample categories could include (but are not limited to): industrial minerals and their uses; a specific rock group and the variety that occurs in that group, including some minerals that occur in that environment; select fossils traced through the geologic ages; minerals and their crystal habits; rocks and minerals used in the lapidary arts.

Geology Innovation Class (SF 50222)

Demonstrate the skills and knowledge you have gained through the Geology project. Exhibit may be the result of knowledge gained from project manuals; independent study about Illinois rock(s) and mineral(s), interaction with geology professionals; and/or individual exploration in the area of geology. The exhibit may include, but isn’t limited to, original works, objects, demonstrations, digital presentations, programs, websites, games, apps, performances, or posters which you have made. Choose whatever method best shows what you’ve learned. Your exhibit should not fit in the other exhibit options for this project. You must furnish any equipment you need for your exhibit. Internet service will not be provided for the exhibit. All exhibits must include something visual, such as a printed copy of a digital presentation, which will remain on display during the exhibition. Electronic equipment will only be used during your personal judging time and will not remain on display during the entire exhibit period.

Geology Ready4Life Challenge (SF 50224)

Open to 11- to 18-year-olds enrolled in the Geology project. Exhibits in this category must include the following: a) a physical representation of the career or business product such as a model, prototype or display/portfolio that includes images of accomplished work; b) verbal or written explanations that demonstrate knowledge of the related career or business fields, potential careers, and the appropriate requirements for achievement in those fields. The judging criteria for this class values thoroughness of career and/or business exploration and pursuit above the workmanship of the physical specimen on display.

Geology Maker (SF 50400)

Counties may submit 3 entries TOTAL combined from all Maker exhibit divisions.

Exhibits in this category are designed to be multi-disciplinary in nature, innovative, and must not fit into any other exhibit category. To qualify for this category, your project MUST abide by the following guidelines:

  • Exhibits must be an object or device that has an intended purpose and uses technology in either a mechanical way, digital (computer) way, or combination of the two.
  • The device must be something that can be used in everyday life by multiple people (a target audience), and MUST be manufactured/built by the exhibitor (If not fully manufactured by the exhibitor, the device MUST be modified structurally or be reprogramed to perform a different function other than what it was designed to do
  • Exhibit MUST be able to interact with the outside world. (e.g. an on off switch, input sensors, feedback, etc.)
  • Exhibits MUST include a detailed build log with instructions on how to make or build the exhibit, AND contain either a 3D rendering or detailed and labeled sketches of the device/product.

All parts and software used in the design/build MUST be listed in a detailed Bill of Materials including cost per item and total cost. Total time spent on the build must be documented in your build log.

In addition, exhibitors are HIGHLY encouraged to use tools such as 3-D printers, laser cutters, routers and/or other hand/power tools to help in the manufacturing process (NOTE: Simply 3-D printing or laser cutting an object without the other specifications does not qualify as a Maker Project). It is also HIGHLY encouraged that exhibits use Open Source Software and/or Hardware in the build.