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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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Deciphering complex fluid-mineral interactions in the palm of your hand part of Cutting Edge:Complex Systems:Teaching Activities
Barb Dutrow, Louisiana State University
This exercise uses polished rock slabs containing veins sealed by copper-bearing minerals to understand the feedback effects in complex fluid-rock systems. By determining the minerals and their relative timing, the ...

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 ...

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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Guided Discovery and Scoring Rubric for Petrographic Analysis of a Thin Section part of Cutting Edge:Develop Program-Wide Abilities:Metacognition:Activities
Dave Mogk, Montana State University-Bozeman
A guided discovery approach is used to "unpack" the methods and observations used by "master" petrographers in the petrographic analysis of a thin section. A series of spread sheets are used to ...

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Extending Mineralogy by Electron Microprobe Analysis part of Cutting Edge:Courses: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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Exercises in the Geochemical Kinetics of Mineral-Water Reactions part of Activities
, Michigan State University
This module consists of a laboratory exercise and related homework problems on geochemical kinetics of mineral-solution reactions for undergraduate mineralogy. Students measure the grain sizes of equant halite ...

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Using Cooperative Learning to Teach Mineralogy (and Other Courses Too!) part of Activities
LeeAnn Srogi, West Chester University of Pennsylvania
This chapter is concerned primarily with how the content of a mineralogy course can be organized so that the students are more active and conscientious learners. This chapter is divided into three sections: Section ...

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Mineral Synthesis and X-Ray Diffraction Experiments part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus; , Dickinson State University
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.

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A Fun and Effective Exercise for Understanding Lattices and Space Groups part of 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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Heat Capacity of Minerals: A Hands-On Introduction to Chemical Thermodynamics part of 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, ...

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A Term-Long Mineralogy Lab Practical Exam part of Activities
Kurt Hollocher, Union College- New York
This term-long project involves identifying a set of 65 mineral hand samples by their distinguishing characteristics.

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Making Solid Solutions with Alkali Halides (and Breaking Them) part of Activities
John Brady, Smith College
In this exercise, the class will grow a variety of crystals of the same mineral, but with different chemical compositions. These crystals will be made from mixtures of halite eNaCI)and sylvite (KCI) that are melted ...

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Building Crystal Structure Ball Models Using Pre-Drilled Templates: Sheet Structures, Tridymite, and Cristobalite part of Activities
Kurt Hollocher, Union College- New York
Ball models have long been used as teaching tools in Mineralogy to illustrate molecular and crystal structures. At Union College, Mineralogy students construct crystal structure ball models to help them better ...

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Better Living Through Minerals: X-Ray Diffraction of Household Products part of 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 ...

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Crystal Growth - Fast and Slow part of Activities
, Princeton University
This lab is divided into two exercises that may be completed within a single three-hour session. The first exercise requires the mixture of aqueous solutions that will precipitate large euhedral crystals over the ...

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