Educational Programs

Any group visiting the Clarence R. Smith Mineral Museum is welcome to participate in any of our educational programs free of charge, however, reservations must be made in advance. If you are interested in scheduling an educational program for your group, please review the information on this page before contacting the museum.

Why bring your K-12 students to the museum?

The Ohio Department of Education publishes learning standards for every subject and grade level. Students in Ohio are evaluated on their knowledge of these standards.

In Ohio’s Learning Standards and Model Curriculum for Science (click the image below to view the pdf), the word “mineral” appears 130 times! Minerals are highly emphasized in grade 6 and then again at the high school level under Physical Geology content.

Examples of mineral content statements:

  • 6.ESS.1 Minerals have specific, quantifiable
  • 6.ESS.5 Rocks, mineral and soils have common
    and practical uses.
  • PG.M.4: Criteria of a mineral (crystalline solid, occurs in nature,
    inorganic, defined chemical composition)
  • PG.M.5: Properties of minerals (hardness, luster, cleavage, streak,
    crystal shape, fluorescence, flammability, density/specific gravity,
  • PG.IMS.1: Igneous – Mafic and felsic rocks and minerals
  • PG.IMS.3: Sedimentary – Division of sedimentary rocks and minerals (chemical,
    clastic/physical, organic)
Not teaching 6th grade science or high school physical geology? No problem! The pieces in our collection can be used to spark a conversation about any of the topics listed to the right.

Ask us how a museum visit can supplement your lesson about any of the following:

Sorting (i.e. at the Kindergarten level)


Mining & Resource Extraction

Renewable/Nonrenewable Resources

Recycling & Pollution

Plate Tectonics/Layers of the Earth

Geologic Time Scale


Igneous/Sedimentary/Metamorphic Rocks

Nature of Science/Scientific Process

The Periodic Table of Elements


Crystal Shapes/Growth

Natural Disasters

The Electromagnetic Spectrum


Snell’s Law/Refraction of  Light

Careers in Earth Sciences

History of the National Parks/Geotourism



Ancient Civilizations

General Information

Large Groups

Space in the museum is limited. If you have a large group (over 25 students) and you want to have your group participate in one of the educational programs, you MUST be willing to have your group split up.

In the past, large groups have split time between the museum and other campus destinations such as the Ward Beecher Planetarium. Sometimes, the tables in the lobby adjacent to the museum can be reserved and split-up student groups can take turns completing a short activity in the lobby and visiting the museum.

Small Groups

No group is too small! The museum is more than happy to offer any of our educational programs to “small” groups of any size. 


We hope to make every visit to the mineral museum as awesome as possible! If your group may need specific accommodations during their visit, please let the Museum Specialist know when you schedule. All of the educational programs are designed to be modifiable to fit needs of different groups. 


Time slots are reserved on a first-come, first-served basis. All educational programs are conducted by the Museum Specialist, who holds a valid Ohio teaching license. Currently, the museum is only scheduling field trips on Tuesdays & Thursdays between 9AM-2PM. 


Please be aware that minors (under age 18) are not to be left unattended in the museum at any time. Also, be sure to arrange an appropriate number of chaperones for your visit as the museum can only have 1-2 staff members present during any group visit.


The museum is happy to facilitate an Earth Rocks Webelos Adventure with scout groups. Please contact the museum to arrange a date/time.

Babies & Toddlers

Young children, including babies, are encouraged to visit the museum! However, our educational programs are designed for preschool-age children and older. To make a visit more interactive and memorable for the wee ones, we suggest either asking a museum staff member to bring out a mineral for your child to touch and/or asking for a copy of the self-guided activity Color Hunt.

After Your Visit

View our External Links page for inspiration about continuing the geological conversation after your museum visit!

Self-Guided Activities

The museum offers four self-guided, self-explanatory activities which are available to everyone who visits the museum during our public open hours. These activities also work well for groups who cannot visit the museum on Tuesdays or Thursdays and therefore cannot schedule one of the educational programs with the Museum Specialist. There is no charge for these activities and no advance notice is required (unless you have a large group – so we can make sure we have enough copies of the materials). When you arrive at the museum, just let the museum staff member know that you wish to participate in one of the activities and you will be provided with the necessary materials. Any person can request any of the activities, but here are our recommendations based on age:

  • Preschool & younger: Color Hunt
  • Elementary School: I Spy
  • Middle School: Museum Riddles
  • High School & up: Scavenger Hunt

Updated for the 2022-2023 school year!

Educational Programs

Please view the table below to determine the best program for your visit. All programs are led by the Museum Specialist, who is a state-licensed science educator. Occasionally, YSU faculty members and/or geology undergraduate students will assist with the program. All programs are provided free of charge but must be scheduled in advance. To schedule a program, email the Museum Specialist ( or call the museum (330) 941-7454. At this time, programs can only be scheduled on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 9AM and 2PM. If you need a weekend program, Saturday requests will be considered. All program requests are subject to availability of the Museum Specialist and are scheduled on a first-come basis. 

*This program is very informal. If you are interested in a formal STEM college tour or field trip, please contact the STEM outreach coordinator Emilie Brown by phone (330-941-2884) or email ( You can also schedule a campus tour (or view virtual tour options) by clicking here.

I'd like my group to participate in an educational program. What do I do next?

  1. Consider the specifications of your visit. Some things to think about ahead of time include:
    • What date and time you would like to visit.
    • How long you want to visit (e.g. 10 minutes vs. 1 hour).
    • Who is coming: how old are the visitors and how many total people will be in your group?
    • Do you want to do a program or just a self-guided activity?
  2. Contact the museum to schedule your visit by calling (330) 941-7454 or by emailing the Museum Specialist.
  3. Review the parking options near the museum by checking out our Planning a Visit page.
  4. Remind your group that the museum is located on a college campus and that they should be respectful when traveling to the museum (specifically while in the building) so as not to disturb college classes that may be in session.
  5. If you would like information about attractions and dining options near the museum, check out the Mahoning Cultural Collaborative’s field trip guide (newly revised for 2020).