Mineralogy

Course Syllabus

Dexter Perkins | dexter_perkins@und.edu | Course Goals Pages


D.Perkins UND Student Making Synthetic Minerals

Mineralogy

This course is an introduction to fundamental mineralogy and mineralogical principles.

The exercises linked to the classes below are all cooperative learning exercises, except for the Private Mineral Project. Most of the exercises are started during class but require groups to continue working on them outside of normal class time. Materials and mineral samples used in the activities can be altered to correlate with what is available to each institute.

Downloadable files of the exercise assignments, problem answers, and instructor's notes can be obtained for most of the exercises by clicking on appropriate links on the exercise pages.



Click on headings in this general outline to jump to topical sections. Note that this class uses spiral learning so many topics are visited in several different contexts.

INTRODUCTION AND REVIEW OF CHEMISTRY
INTRODUCTION TO HAND SPECIMEN IDENTIFICATION AND INSTRUMENTATION
IGNEOUS, SEDIMENTARY, AND METAMORPHIC MINERALS AND ROCKS
ORE MINERALS AND ORE DEPOSITS
SYMMETRY AND CRYSTALLOGRAPHY
X-RAY THEORY AND APPLICATIONS
ARRANGEMENT OF ATOMS IN MINERALS
COMMENTS FOR STUDENTS ON THE FIRST DAY OF CLASS
CLASS #1: Introduction to Class

Orient students, explain nature of class, review basic chemistry, and get students involved in helping teach class.

In Class: Homework Assignments:
CLASS #2: Review of Chemistry

Continue to review chemistry, get students comfortable with presentations and discussion, and determine important properties used to name and identify minerals.

In Class: Homework Assignments:
  • Read chapter 3, Mineral Properties
CLASS #3: Identifying Minerals in Hand Specimen, with an X-ray Machine, and with a Microscope

Students should be able to identify minerals, understand basic principles and components of a petrographic microscope, and be able to obtain an X-ray diffraction pattern.

In Class: Homework Assignments:
  • Read chapter 2: Crystals and Crystallization
CLASS #4: Mineral Formation/Growth; More Mineral Identification

Students should be able to explain the crystallization process, become more familiar with operation of the X-ray diffractometer, and start working on first parts of the large private mineral project.

In Class: Homework Assignments:
  • Read chapter 5: Igneous Rocks and Silicate Minerals
  • Finish report for Exercise 8
  • Clean-up and organize your lab portfolio; it should contain everything you have done, including the first part of the private mineral project
CLASS #5: Interpreting X-Ray Patterns; Identifying Dark Colored Igneous Minerals

Students learn to interpret diffraction patterns, improve writing and reporting skills, identify patterns and systematics of crystal shapes, identify dark colored minerals in hand specimen and in thin section, and begin to think about learning and what it means.

In Class: Homework Assignments:
  • Finish report for Exercise 10
  • Discuss your portfolio with TA
  • Follow TA's instructions and prepare an analysis of your lab portfolio and a discussion of what you have learned so far this semester and what parts of this class are working best for you
CLASS #6: Igneous Rocks and Minerals; Identifying Light Colored Minerals

Students should understand the relationships between rocks and minerals, be familiar with mineral components of basic igneous rocks types, understand why different minerals are found in different igneous rocks, and be able to identify light colored minerals in hand specimen and in thin section.

In Class: Homework Assignments:
  • Read chapter 4: Optical Mineralogy
CLASS #7: Introduction to phase diagrams

Students should successfully complete an exam, be able to explain the basic types of igneous phase diagrams and their implications, and catch up on mineral identification exercises.

In Class:
  • First exam
  • 20 minute lecture: igneous phase diagrams
  • Finish Exercise 11
Homework Assignments:
CLASS #8: Phase Diagrams; Igneous Mineral Identification

Students should demonstrate understanding of phase diagrams, be able to identify some igneous minerals not previously examined, and classify and identify basic crystal shapes and symmetry.

In Class: Homework Assignments:
  • Finish report on Aqueous Minerals (Exercise 7)
  • Part 2 of the private mineral project
  • Clean-up and organize lab portfolio; it should contain everything done
CLASS #9: Reflect on Learning; Identify Sedimentary Minerals and Processes

Students should reflect on learning in this course, understand why certain minerals are found in sedimentary rocks, and be able to identify minerals common in sedimentary rocks.

In Class: Homework Assignments:
  • Discuss portfolio with TA
  • Follow TA's instructions to prepare a lab portfolio analysis and a discussion of what has been learned so far and what parts of class are working best
  • Read chapter 6: Sedimentary Minerals and Sedimentary Rocks
CLASS #10: Different Kinds of Silicates; Start Experimental Study; Do some Practical Optical Microscopy

Students should understand the basic silicate classification system and relationships between different kinds of silicates, develop experimental skills, learn about the utility of optical microscopy, and review basic mineral optical properties.

In Class: Homework Assignments:
CLASS #11: Continue Experiments; Shapes of Crystals

Students should continue experiments and discover why some minerals (especially aqueous minerals) are euhedral, and some are not.

In Class: Homework Assignments:
  • Read chapter 7: Metamorphic Minerals and Metamorphic Rocks
  • Write report for Exercise 7
CLASS #12: Finish Experiments; Practical X-Ray Diffraction

Students should finish experiments and prepare a report, discover the nature of experimental studies, and conduct a practical application of X-ray diffraction.

In Class: Homework Assignments:
  • Write report for Exercise 16
  • Collect X-ray patterns of sand samples
CLASS #13: Practical X-Ray Diffraction; Metamorphic Minerals and Introduction to Thermodynamics

Students finish X-ray investigations, learn the basic principles of thermodynamics, and do basic thermodynamic calculations.

In Class: Homework Assignments:
  • Read chapter 8: Ore Deposits and Economic Minerals
  • Write report for Exercise 18
CLASS #14: Introduction to Ore Minerals

Students should successfully complete an exam and be able to identify the most important ore minerals in hand specimen.

In Class:
CLASS #15: Economic Minerals and Mineral Commodities

Students should be familiar with the basics of economic mineralogy and ore minerals and discover the significance of different mineral commodities.

In Class: Homework Assignments:
  • Read chapter 9: Crystal Morphology and Crystal Symmetry
CLASS #16: Introduction to Symmetry

Students should be able to recognize symmetry and describe basic symmetry operations and operators.

In Class:
CLASS #17: Symmetry; Mineral Photography

Students should learn more about symmetry, learn how to obtain high-quality photographs of minerals in hand specimen and in thin section, and be able to do basic photo editing and manipulate digital images.

In Class: Homework Assignments:
  • Collate and print (thumbnail) photos you have of your private mineral, show to instructor/TA and get advice
CLASS #18: Symmetry and Point Groups

Students should become familiar with the systematics of symmetry and point groups.

In Class: Homework Assignments:
  • Read chapter 10: Crystallography
CLASS #19: Symmetry, Point Groups, Lattices, Systems

Students should be able to explain the systematics of symmetry and point groups.

In Class: Homework Assignments:
  • Read chapter 11: Unit Cells, Points, Lines, and Planes
CLASS #20: Catch Up; How to Make a Web Page

Students should finish up any unfinished work, work on next parts of private mineral assignment, and be able to make a simple web page.

In Class: Homework Assignments:
  • Clean-up and organize your lab portfolio; it should contain everything you have done
  • Begin to create private mineral web page
CLASS #21: Exam 3; Crystallography; Reflect on Learning

Students should successfully complete an exam, become familiar with some of the more complicated aspects of crystallography, continue with private mineral project, and reflect on their learning so far in class.

In Class: Homework Assignments:
  • Read chapter 12: X-ray Diffraction
  • Discuss your portfolio with TA
  • Follow TA's instructions and prepare an analysis of your lab portfolio and a discussion of what you have learned so far this semester and what parts of this class are working best for you
  • Continue work on web page
CLASS #22: X-Ray Theory; Creating Web Pages

Students should comprehend the theory and principles of X-ray diffraction, relate X-ray diffraction systematics to atomic structures, learn to use X-ray data to derive cell parameters, and solve any web page problems.

In Class: Homework Assignments:
  • Continue work on web page
CLASS #23: Atoms in Minerals

Students should become familiar with the ways atoms are arranged in minerals, be able to explain the significance of Pauling's rules, and be able to add more complicated things to a web page.

In Class: Homework Assignments:
  • Read chapter 13: Atomic Structure
  • Continue work on web page
CLASS #24: Crystal Structures; Rock Forming Minerals

Students should become familiar with the basic types of mineral structures and their relationships, discover the relationship between mineral structures and mineral properties, and successfully conclude web page project.

In Class:
  • Quiz
  • Exercise 34: Atomic arrangement in minerals
Homework Assignments:
  • Finish web page, demo for instructor/TA, modify as requested
CLASS #25: Rock Forming Minerals: Their Structure, Composition and Properties

Students should be able to describe the structures of all important rock forming minerals, be able to explain compositional variations in minerals, and develop skills and techniques needed to make high-quality posters and other graphics.

In Class:
  • Quiz
  • Exercise 35: Crystal structure 3
Homework Assignments:
  • Make posters for your private mineral; must be given to instructor/TA day before next class
CLASS #26: Poster Presentations and Gallery Walk

Students should be able to explain and discuss minerals in a public forum and integrate all that has been learned this semester.

In Class:
  • Quiz
  • Exercise 36: Private mineral gallery walk
  • Final reflection on learning that occurred this semester
CLASS #27: final Assessment and Reflection on Learning

Students should demonstrate comprehension and concept mastery by successfully completing an exam.

In Class:
  • Final exam: questions handed out ahead of time


Comments for Students on the First Day of Class

How Class is Taught

This class is taught in a studio format. Studio classrooms may have many different manifestations but all share common elements. They involve longer, fewer, class sessions with focused, intense, student activity. Any disconnect between laboratory and lecture time is absent because lab and lecture are combined. Lectures are de-emphasized or eliminated altogether so students can work on projects instead, generally in groups.

Why Teach This Way?

Many studies have shown that students learn best by doing things (active learning) instead of just listening (passive learning). Additionally, it is well known that most students learn best when they learn in groups (cooperative/collaborative learning). Studio classrooms are centered around active and group learning. The interactive classroom helps students learn the standard class content. Additionally, it promotes holistic skills, including thinking, inquiry, creativity and reflection.

Spiral Learning

This class also involves spiral learning. That means we will cover topics more than once, returning to them several times and in different contexts. The basic order of topics follows the textbook but we will discuss the key principles many times.

Working in Groups

Most of the work you do this semester will be done in groups. The instructor and TA will assign the groups; they will change periodically. All members of a group are responsible for seeing that assignments get completed. For some assignments, a single group report will be adequate. For others, each person must write their own report.

Reading Assignments: Text Books and Handouts

Two texts are used:
  1. Perkins, 2002, Mineralogy, Prentice Hall
  2. Perkins and Henke, 2004, Minerals in Thin Section, Prentice Hall
In addition, the instructor will provide many handouts and supplemental information pertinent to specific class activities. You are expected to read them on your own. The instructor and TA will NOT give lectures that just repeat what is in the books. Instead, they will talk about things that you identify as being areas of confusion.

Quizzes

We will have many quizzes this semester. They are meant, primarily, to be learning experiences. Often, you will take the quiz individually and then get together with other students and take it again. Individual and group grades will be averaged.

Work Time In and Out of Class

Although class is scheduled to meet in 3 hour blocks, there will be quite a bit of variation. During a typical class period, we will have several things going on. Different groups will be doing different things. Some days you may get done early. But, if you fall behind, it will be very difficult to catch up. Also, many of the projects we will be doing require you to put in time beyond normal class hours. This is especially necessary when you need to use the X-ray machine, photographic equipment, and other gizmos.

Portfolios

This semester, you must keep a three ring binder portfolio that includes all your work for this class. You will hand in most assignments by handing in your portfolio. Periodically the TA or instructor will review your portfolio with you to make sure it is readable, complete and well organized. From time to time, we will ask you to go back through your portfolio and reflect on what you have done and what you have learned. During this process you will evaluate the merit/effectiveness of the various activities, making suggestions for things we could do that would help promote better learning. You will also discuss your learning: what worked, what did not work, and why. You will be able to use your portfolios for most parts of your exams!

Keeping Notes

Some projects are complicated and several experiments require a lot of measurement and calculation. It is absolutely necessary to keep good notes or risk getting very confused. We will talk more about this as we go on, but keep this rule in mind while working in the lab: write down everything and keep good portfolio notes! One common source of mistakes is weighing errors. So, everything that is weighed needs to be weighed twice, by two separate people. There will be a book by the scale. Write down what is weighed, how much it weighs, and then initial it. Then get someone else to repeat the weighing and put down their initials.

Assessment

Students will be graded based on:
  • group projects
  • class portfolios
  • a semester long "private mineral" project
  • several exams

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