Lucy-Lou Mine Immersion at the Irvine Ranch Outdoor Education Field Trip


iLEAD Exploration learners participated in the Lucy-Lou Mine Immersion at the Irvine Ranch Outdoor Education Center on Monday, March 5. They rotated through several stations learning about rocks and minerals as it relates to the history of the Gold Rush.

First, attendees learned about the Assay Office where they weighed different minerals using a scale. They also learned about smelting a gold ore in order to make gold bars to earn money.

At the Geode Cracking station, learners shouted “Let’s get cracking” by taking turns using a machine to crack open a geode rock that they got to keep and take home. At the Rockapalooza station, learners identified minerals and rocks by their physical properties; transparency, color, streak, or luster. In Rock Polishing, learners first polished their geodes or a calcite rock with sand paper.

Then they used toothpaste and a toothbrush to further polish their rock to create a luster or shiny effect on their rock. Next, learners climbed down the Lucy-Lou Mine with hard hats, picks, and shovels searching for coal in the mine. This was the most exciting part of the field trip for many of the learners!

Lastly, learners panned for gold. They learned that panning for gold was a team effort and a lot of work but the sounds of “Eureka” being shouted let them know when a team member struck gold. This hands-on, engaging field trip was a huge success.


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