On the Cutting Edge - Professional Development for Geoscience Faculty
Teaching Mineralogy
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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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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
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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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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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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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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Determining Mantle Temperature and Composition from Discontinuities part of Cutting Edge: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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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 ...

Florida River Project: Minerals in the field part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
Kim Hannula, Fort Lewis College
This is a field trip that is part of a semester-long research project. In this lab, students visit part of their research site to look at rocks and minerals in the study area.

Research Project for Mineralogy part of 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 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 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, ...

Field Notes part of Activities
Dave Mogk, Montana State University-Bozeman
Field Notes provides instructors with helpful tips for a successful field trip. The tips include a well-developed literature review for designing and assessing field trips. Barriers to learning in the field can be ...

Asbestos: Mineralogy, Health Hazards, and Public Policy part of 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 ...

Wondering, Wandering, and Winnowing: the WWW and Mineralogy part of Activities
Philip Brown, UW-Madison
The purpose of this laboratory exercise is to introduce the student to Earth Science resources on the World Wide Web (WWW) and in particular provide access to material which can be useful throughout a typical ...

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