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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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Growing Crystals on a Microscope Stage part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus;
Many compounds crystallize rapidly from evaporating solutions, and many can be crystallized from melts. Because of this, it is possible to do simple crystallization experiments and to watch crystals grow over short ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

Laboratory Exercises and Demonstrations with the Spindle Stage part of Activities
Mickey Gunter, University of Idaho
The goal of this lab session is to introduce you to the spindle stage and its possible uses in an undergraduate mineralogy lab. A spindle stage is a one-axis rotation device that mounts on a polarizing microscope ...

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 ...

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 ...

Color in Minerals part of Activities
Darby Dyar
Why do minerals have color? When is that color diagnostic, and when is it likely to fool you? Why is color important, and what can it tell us about the chemistry of minerals? This exercise will try to answer some ...

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 Properties Sheets part of Activities
Dave Hirsch, Western Washington University
A set of 69 mineral sheets to be used as part of a term-length set of labs. Each sheet has spaces to write physical and optical proerties for each mineral, and a crystal form diagram scannned from Nesse and/or ...

From 2D to 3D: II. TEM and AFM Images part of Activities
Peter Buseck
High-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) provides 2-D projections of mineral structures at almost the atomic scale, and atomic force microscopy (AFM) provides 3-D information about the surfaces of ...

Properties of Light part of Activities
Joseph Smyth, University of Colorado at Boulder
This problem set tests students understanding of the properties of light, including velocity, frequency, reflection, and refraction.

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. ...

Indicatrix Movies part of Activities
Dave Hirsch, Western Washington University
These movies show the indicatrix, a mineral, the principal indices of refraction, and the interference color predicted, all changing as the cut through the mineral varies. It is meant to be a lecture aid, or can be ...

Exploring the Uniaxial Indicatrix part of Activities
Sarah Penniston-Dorland, University of Maryland-College Park
This activity gives the students a 3-dimensional perspective on the uniaxial indicatrix, its various parts, and the relationship between different orientations of the indicatrix and the corresponding optical ...