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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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Phase Diagrams in Vivo part of Activities
Erich U. Peterson
This activity uses three experiments (videos of experiments may be viewed online) for students to construct a phase diagram. The purpose of this laboratory as designed is to gain familiarity with simple phase ...

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, ...

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 ...

Determination of Chemical Composition, State of Order, Molar Volume, and Density of a Monoclinic Alkali Feldspar Using X-Ray Diffraction part of 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.

Phase Fun With Feldspars: Simple Experiments to Change Chemical Composition, State of Order, and Crystal System part of Activities
Guy L. Hovis
Students will use X-ray diffraction to determine the composition of an "unknown" feldspar and then perform experiments to change the phase and composition of the feldspar.

From 2D to 3D: Escher Drawings - Crystallography, Crystal Chemistry, and Crystal part of Activities
Peter Buseck
This set of exercises illustrates plane and space groups as well as crystal chemistry and "defects" in crystals. The problems are designed to present the material as puzzles that are visually attractive ...

Mineral composition using XRF (EDS or microprobe) part of Activities
Wendy Panero, Ohio State University-Main Campus
At the end of this exercise you will be able to calculate chemical formula of a mineral based on weight percent oxides, and evaluate the extent of solid solution between end member compositions.

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. ...

Exploring Crystal Structures with XtalDraw part of Activities
Wendy Panero, Ohio State University-Main Campus
This exercise uses publicly available resources to visualize mineral structures in three dimensions on the computer, including symmetry, the use of polyhedral modeling and linking, and the effects of solid ...

An introduction to XRD using the MSA Crystal Structure Database part of Activities
Zeb Page, Oberlin College
An XRD lab/problem set that makes use of the free online MSA crystal structure database rather than proprietary software to identify powder XRD patterns.

Exploring phyllosilicate structures with polyhedral models part of Activities
James Rougvie, Beloit College
In this exercise, students build polyhedral models to learn about phyllosilicate structures and how they relate to physical properties. This directed-discovery activity is a very 'hands-on' experience ...

Identifying Minerals with Chemical and Crystallographic Data part of Activities
Kent Ratajeski, University of Kentucky
In this exercise, crystal structure data for a variety of unknown minerals are downloaded and entered into XtalDraw or CrystalMaker visualization software program. Step-by-step tutorials are provided with ...

Introduction to Crystal Structure: Bond Strength part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This is an exercise to get students thinking about coordination number and bond strength It is really an application of Pauling's Rules, mostly rule #2

Olivine Crystal Structure part of Activities
Kent Ratajeski, University of Kentucky
In this exercise, students use the American Mineralogist Crystal Structure Database and a crystallographic visualization program such as Xtaldraw or CrystalMaker to study the temperature-dependent ordering of Mg ...

Mineral Classification part of Activities
Joseph Smyth, University of Colorado at Boulder
This homework assignment challenges students to determine the chemical classification of minerals based on their chemical formula. Students must also provide the valences of the various cations for oxygen-bearing ...