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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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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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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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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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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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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 ...

Properties of Minerals part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
Students examine a number of key mineral properties and how they are displayed by different minerals.

Properties of Minerals and Intro to Polarizing Microscopes part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This exercise continues the study of the physical properties of minerals and introduces petrographic microscopes.

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

Mafic Mineral Properties and Thin Sections part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
Students look at mafic igneous minerals, learning to distinguish and identify them in hand specimen. They also look at a few of the minerals in thin section.

A Last Look at Igneous Minerals in Thin Section part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
A final lab exercise that uses the optical mineralogy skills learned in the previous labs, and begins the transition to petrographic analysis of thin sections.

Sedimentary and Related Minerals part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This exercise is an introduction to sedimentary minerals and rocks.

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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