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Classroom, Lab and Field Activities

This collection of teaching materials has been contributed by geoscience faculty. Do you have a favorite lab, demonstration or activity? If so, please consider sharing it with the larger community.


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Directed Discovery of Crystal Structures part of Integrating Research and Education:Crystallography:Directed Discovery of Crystal Structures
David Mogk and Kent Ratajeski Department of Earth Sciences, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT Published Jan. 25, 2005 Description This contribution is modified from a published exercise "Directed ...

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Mineral Classification Exercise part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This exercise gets students thinking about mineral classification and the properties that are most useful for classifying and identifying minerals.

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Examination of Igneous Silicates part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
Students study hand samples of light-colored igneous minerals and related mineral species. They look at some of the same minerals, and others, in thin section.

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Crystallization and Melting of Diopside - Anorthite part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This short exercise introduces students to the binary phase diagram in the diopside-anorthite system that contains a eutectic invariant point.

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Exercises to teach scientific reading comprehension and mineralogic concepts part of Activities
Kurt Hollocher, Union College (Lincoln, NE)
With a set of tasks and questions as a guide, students read through an article doing the tasks and answering questions as they go. The object is to develop a comprehensive understanding of the science in the paper.

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Reagents, Compositions, Weight Loss part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This is a short experimental study of several different reagents and what happens to them when they are heated to 110° and 1200° C.

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Determining the Geologic History of Rocks from a Gravel Deposit part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Cooperative Learning:Examples
Activity designed by Daniel Rolf Tucker, Melinda Riddler Tucker, and William Albert Rieck of the University of Southwestern Louisiana. Starting Point page developed by John McDaris.
Gravels deposited as a result of continental glaciation are used to teach introductory-level earth-science students the application of the scientific method in a cooperative learning mode which utilizes hands-on, ...

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"Adopt an Outcrop" part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Field Labs:Field Lab Examples
Mary Savina, Carleton College
Describing rock outcrops and hand specimens -

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Exploring the Uniaxial Indicatrix part of Activities
Sarah Penniston-Dorland, University of Maryland-College Park
This activity gives the students a 3-dimensional perspective on the uniaxial indicatrix, its various parts, and the relationship between different orientations of the indicatrix and the corresponding optical ...

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Modeling Exsolution (and Perthite Formation) as an Example of Complex-System Behavior part of Cutting Edge:Develop Program-Wide Abilities:Complex Systems:Teaching Activities
Dave Mogk, Montana State University-Bozeman; Barb Dutrow, Louisiana State University
Students use a physical model, computer simulation, examples from the natural world, visualizations, and overarching thought experiments to explore this phenomenon. Exsolution embodies attributes of a complex ...

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Mineral Properties -- Learning through Experience part of Geoscience in Two-year Colleges:Activities
Katryn Wiese, City College of San Francisco
Students are each given a mineral and asked to locate all other students in the room with the same mineral (knowing there are a total of 5 different minerals). Once groups form, they need to decide what characteristics are similar for all their samples and ultimately report out to the whole class on their observations.

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Introduction to Mineral Identification part of Geoscience in Two-year Colleges:Activities
Suki Smaglik, Central Wyoming College
The exercise uses an inquiry-based approached to overcome the fear of tackling mineral identification. Few instructions are given and students discover for themselves how to approach identification.

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Introduction to the properties of clay minerals part of Activities
stephen Guggenheim, University of Illinois at Chicago
These laboratory experiments are designed to show the cation exchange capabilities of clays and how these exchanges affect physical properties.

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Synthetic Alkali Halides part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This is a complex experimental investigation of the melting of alkali halides. This project takes more than one class and involves using an X-ray diffractometer.

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Online Investigation of an Island Arc Volcano: Anatahan, Mariana Arc part of MARGINS Data in the Classroom:MARGINS Mini-Lessons
Jeff Ryan, University of South Florida-St. Petersburg
This activity is a Web investigation and research exercise starting with the 2003-present Anatahan volcanic eruptions in the Mariana arc, and concluding with a petrologic examination of published Mariana arc lavas data sets.

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