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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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Heat Capacity of Minerals: A Hands-On Introduction to Chemical Thermodynamics part of Cutting Edge:Mineralogy:Activities
David Bailey, Hamilton College
Minerals are inorganic chemical compounds with a wide range of physical and chemical properties. Geologists frequently measure and observe properties such as hardness, specific gravity, color, etc. Unfortunately, ...

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Short Readings from the American Mineralogist: Sneaky Tools for Teaching Scientific Reading Comprehension and Mineralogical Concepts part of Cutting Edge:Mineralogy:Activities
Kurt Hollocher
This activity uses short, well-written articles to enhance teaching for a mineralogy course. Articles are taken from the American Mineralogist journal.

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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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 ...

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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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, ...

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 ...

Determination of Chemical Composition, State of Order, Molar Volume, and Density of a Monoclinic Alkali Feldspar Using X-Ray Diffraction part of Cutting Edge:Mineralogy:Activities
Guy L. Hovis
This activity involves using XRD to determine the chemical composition, state of order, molar volume, and density of a monoclinic alkali feldspar.

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 ...

Better Living Through Minerals: X-Ray Diffraction of Household Products part of Cutting Edge:Mineralogy:Activities
Barb Dutrow, Louisiana State University
X-ray diffraction is a quick and valuable tool for identifying minerals. Minerals are an integral portion of our everyday life, in addition to composing our planet! They help bring electricity into our homes and ...

Exercises With Mineral Names, Literature and History part of Cutting Edge:Mineralogy:Activities
Francis Dudas
This activity is a series of exercises I assign outside of class time, with the purpose of getting students to explore the literature resources that are available for mineralogy. The inspiration for the exercises ...

Minerals and Light part of Cutting Edge:Mineralogy:Activities
Edward F. Stoddard
Optical Mineralogy and thin sections just blew me away when I first was exposed to them. (Of course that was the psychedelic 60's!) Because of my experience, I've always thought that we might attract a ...

Introduction to the SEM/EDS or "Every Compositon Tells a Story" part of Cutting Edge:Mineralogy:Activities
John T Cheney and Peter D. Crowley
This lab is designed as an introduction to the investigation of minerals with the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) and the X-ray analyzer (Energy Dispersive Spectrometer - EDS). We will explore the relationships ...

Growing Salt: An Independent Course Research Project Investigating Chemical Sediments part of Cutting Edge:Sedimentary Geology:Activities
Kathy Benison, Central Michigan University
In this assignment, students design, implement, and report on their own mini-research project involving the growth of salts. This gives students practical research experience, as well a better understanding of how ...

Private Mineral Project - Part 1 part of Cutting Edge:Mineralogy:Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
Students begin to work on semester-long private mineral projects.

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