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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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A Fun and Effective Exercise for Understanding Lattices and Space Groups part of Cutting Edge:Mineralogy:Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This activity uses figures from Francois Brisse as Esher drawings to teach students about 2-dimensional symmetry, especially involving translation.

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A Term-Long Mineralogy Lab Practical Exam part of Cutting Edge:Mineralogy:Activities
Kurt Hollocher
This term-long project involves identifying a set of 65 mineral hand samples by their distinguishing characteristics.

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A Term-Long Mineralogy Lab Practical Exam part of Cutting Edge:Mineralogy:Activities
Kurt Hollocher
This term-long project involves identifying a set of 65 mineral hand samples by their distinguishing characteristics.

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Extending Mineralogy by Electron Microprobe Analysis part of Cutting Edge:Petrology:Teaching Examples
John Goodge, University of Minnesota-Duluth
This lab is designed to be a highly interactive lab session for a petrology course, where instructors provide a minimal level of essential background and then the entire group works together to explore mineral ...

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Weathering of Igneous, Metamorphic, and Sedimentary Rocks in a Semi-Arid Climate - An Engineering Application of Petrology part of Cutting Edge:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Wendy Harrison, National Science Foundation; Ric Wendlandt, Colorado School of Mines
Students examine soils developed on igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks near Denver, Colorado. The 2-week exercise includes sample collection, description, and preparation, determining clay mineralogy by ...

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Exercises to teach scientific reading comprehension and mineralogic concepts part of Cutting Edge:Mineralogy: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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Research Project for Mineralogy part of Cutting Edge:Mineralogy:Activities
Wendy Panero, Ohio State University-Main Campus
The assignment allows for open ended exploration of a topic of interest in geosciences in which one or more mineral's chemistry and/or crystal structure is significant to understanding that geoscience problem. ...

Mineral Separation and Provenance Lab Exercise part of Cutting Edge:Mineralogy:Activities
Mary Roden-Tice, SUNY College at Plattsburgh
Students will examine mineral separates from sand samples collected from a number of rivers each of which drains a slightly different geologic terrane. Differences in mineralogic composition and mineral abundance ...

Directed-Discovery of Crystal Structures Using Ball and Stick Models part of Cutting Edge:Mineralogy:Activities
Dave Mogk, Montana State University-Bozeman
In this series of exercises, a kind of reductionist approach is used to direct the students attention to specific characteristics of a variety of ball and stick models. Through a series of leading questions, ...

Mineral Synthesis and X-Ray Diffraction Experiments part of Cutting Edge:Mineralogy:Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus;
This 6-week laboratory activity has students working in groups of two or more to synthesize a mineral and then analyze their mineral using XRD.

Asbestos: Mineralogy, Health Hazards, and Public Policy part of Cutting Edge:Mineralogy:Activities
Helen Lang, West Virginia University
In this laboratory exercise students will have an opportunity to examine the crystal structures, optical properties and health hazards of the common asbestos minerals. The laboratory will reinforce optical ...

Physical Properties of Minerals and Determinative Techniques part of Cutting Edge:Mineralogy:Activities
Ken Bladh
This activity uses cooperative learning to identify minerals in hand sample based on physical properties. The "Jigsaw" pedagogy upon which this lab is based provides the environment for four succeeding ...

Phase Fun With Feldspars: Simple Experiments to Change Chemical Composition, State of Order, and Crystal System part of Cutting Edge:Mineralogy:Activities
Guy L. Hovis
Students will use X-ray diffraction to determine the composition of an "unknown" feldspar and then perform experiments to change the phase and composition of the feldspar.

Experiments in Crystal Optics part of Cutting Edge:Mineralogy:Activities
Hans Dieter Zimmermann
The purpose of the experiments below is to impart an intuitive understanding of the interaction between light and crystals and, thus, of optical crystallography. This will help to demystify what is seen in the ...

Experiments on Simple Binary Mineral Systems part of Cutting Edge:Mineralogy:Activities
John Winter, Whitman College
This exercise is devised to simulate a series of experimental runs in which binary mineral mixtures are melted using very high-temperature furnaces in order to determine the characteristics of mineral systems and ...

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