This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Collection
Resources in this top level collection a) must have scored Exemplary or Very Good in all five review categories, and must also rate as “Exemplary” in at least three of the five categories. The five categories included in the peer review process are
- Scientific Accuracy
- Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
- Pedagogic Effectiveness
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For more information about the peer review process itself, please see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.
This page first made public: Apr 2, 2012
In association with rock and mineral ID tables, this lab introduces students to basic rocks and minerals via grouping and comparison, rather than as individual samples. I use this lab in my environmental geology course, where we don't have enough lab time to examine each set of rocks and minerals separately, but students need a basic familiarity with these materials and a context in which to place them. I find these groupings teach them how to look at rocks and minerals and give them the cursory experience identifying geologic materials necessary to go on successfully in the course.
introductory geology course for majors, but mostly taught to non-majors as a science and quantitative literacy requirement
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
no skills, basic knowledge of mineral properties from lecture
How the activity is situated in the course
laboratory activity - stand-alone
Content/concepts goals for this activity
physical mineral investigation/identification, distinguishing geological materials
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
application of concepts introduced in lecture, developing knowledge of geological materials through association
Other skills goals for this activity
working in groups, using rock and mineral ID tables
Description and Teaching Materials
You'll need a teaching collection of basic rocks and minerals that fall into the types/categories listed, as well as number cards or labels for the samples.
Building Blocks (Microsoft Word 151kB Apr2 12)
Teaching Notes and Tips
The only difficulty I've had is making sure the sedimentary minerals remain with the appropriate labels, as intro students can often mix them up.
Students who use the keys well and ask for assistance during the lab do very well. I simply grade the lab based on their answers and then leave the samples out during the rest of the first unit of the course so they can use the lab and samples to study for their first exam.
References and Resources