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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Subject: Mineralogy

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

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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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 ...

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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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.

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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A Term-Long Mineralogy Lab Practical Exam part of Activities
Kurt Hollocher
This term-long project involves identifying a set of 65 mineral hand samples by their distinguishing characteristics.

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
Learn more about this review process.

Extending Mineralogy by Electron Microprobe Analysis part of Cutting Edge: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 ...

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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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. ...

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 ...

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.

Physical Properties of Minerals and Determinative Techniques part of Activities
Ken Bladh
This activity uses cooperative learning to identify minerals in hand sample based on physical properties. The "Jigsaw" pedagogy upon which this lab is based provides the environment for four succeeding ...

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.

Introduction to the SEM/EDS or "Every Compositon Tells a Story" part of Activities
John T Cheney and Peter D. Crowley
This lab is designed as an introduction to the investigation of minerals with the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) and the X-ray analyzer (Energy Dispersive Spectrometer - EDS). We will explore the relationships ...

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.

Mineral Physics Activity Sets part of Activities
Michael Brown
These activities are derived from a 500-level mineral physics course at the University of Washington. They include topics such as Earth models, lattices, x-rays, thermodynamics, elasticity, and lattice vibrations. ...

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.

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