Excerpt Taken from NeSA-R 6th Grade Practice Test:

There's Still Gold in Those Hills

More Water
Unless a gold seeker spies a nugget in the pan (what luck!), he needs to
add more water to the mix. He swishes the material in the pan in a slow,
circular movement. The pan is tilted slightly so that the lightweight sand
slips over the edge. Water is added as needed, and the process is


Soon only a small part of the pan will be covered with concentrated
material of what appears to be black sand. The swishing motion will
spread the sand out in a feather pattern. The bits of material at the tail
end of the feather are called tailings. This is where the gold bits can be

Is It Gold?
The black sand is called magnetite because of its magnetic properties.

By using a magnet, the sand can be picked up and moved out of the pan.
What gold panners hope to see left behind are flakes of gold. These can
be tiny specks or larger flakes the size and shape of breakfast cereal. But
people can be tricked by the matter that twinkles like a crystal. This is
probably "fool's gold." The gold they want is yellow with a sheen to it.
Tweezers are used to pick out the gold flakes and place them in a
container. Now the gold miner is ready to dig up another shovelful of
gravel and begin the process all over again.

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