Cutting Edge > Courses > Mineralogy > Teaching Activities

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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Introduction to the properties of clay minerals part of Cutting Edge:Mineralogy:Activities
stephen Guggenheim
These laboratory experiments are designed to show the cation exchange capabilities of clays and how these exchanges affect physical properties.

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Examination of Igneous Silicates part of Cutting Edge:Mineralogy: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 Cutting Edge:Mineralogy: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 Cutting Edge:Mineralogy: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.

Mineral Classification part of Cutting Edge:Mineralogy:Activities
, 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 ...

Point Groups part of Cutting Edge:Mineralogy:Activities
, University of Colorado at Boulder
This mineralogy problem set tasks students with determining the point group Hermann-Mauguin symbol and crystal system for crystal stereograms.

Mineral composition using XRF (EDS or microprobe) part of Cutting Edge:Mineralogy: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 Cutting Edge:Mineralogy: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. ...

Growing Crystals on a Microscope Stage part of Cutting Edge:Mineralogy: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 Cutting Edge:Mineralogy: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 Cutting Edge:Mineralogy: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 Cutting Edge:Mineralogy: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, ...