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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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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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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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Short Readings from the American Mineralogist: Sneaky Tools for Teaching Scientific Reading Comprehension and Mineralogical Concepts part of Activities
Kurt Hollocher, Union College- New York
This activity uses short, well-written articles to enhance teaching for a mineralogy course. Articles are taken from the American Mineralogist journal.

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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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Determining Mantle Temperature and Composition from Discontinuities part of Cutting Edge:Topics:Deep Earth:Activities
Anna Courtier, James Madison University
This pair of activities uses observations of mantle discontinuity structure to examine mantle heterogeneity and differences in the depth extent of melt sources for ridges and "hotspots." The first ...

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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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Mineral Classification - What's in a Name? part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus; Dave Mogk, Montana State University-Bozeman
Students derive their own scheme for identifying and naming minerals. Examples include different minerals that have the same crystal forms, and mineral species that occur with numerous forms and varieties to ...

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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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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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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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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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Research Experiences in a Mineralogy Class part of Cutting Edge:Develop Program-Wide Abilities:Undergraduate Research:Case Studies
Dave Mogk, Montana State University Summary One of the goals of my Mineralogy class is to demonstrate how the principles and content covered in class can be applied to questions of geologic interest or that have ...

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What Goes into Making Volcanic Arc Magmas, and How Do We Know It? part of MARGINS Data in the Classroom:MARGINS Mini-Lessons
Jeff Ryan, University of South Florida-St. Petersburg
This activity is a directed reading exercise focused on papers that have been key to our understanding of the major source contributors to subduction zone volcanic rocks.

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