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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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Crystallization and Melting of Diopside - Anorthite part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This short exercise introduces students to the binary phase diagram in the diopside-anorthite system that contains a eutectic invariant point.

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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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Determining the Geologic History of Rocks from a Gravel Deposit part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Cooperative Learning:Examples
Activity designed by Daniel Rolf Tucker, Melinda Riddler Tucker, and William Albert Rieck of the University of Southwestern Louisiana. Starting Point page developed by John McDaris.
Gravels deposited as a result of continental glaciation are used to teach introductory-level earth-science students the application of the scientific method in a cooperative learning mode which utilizes hands-on, ...

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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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Research Experiences in a Mineralogy Class part of Cutting Edge:Develop Program-Wide Abilities:Undergraduate Research:Case Studies
Dave Mogk, Montana State University Summary One of the goals of my Mineralogy class is to demonstrate how the principles and content covered in class can be applied to questions of geologic interest or that have ...

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Weathering of Igneous, Metamorphic, and Sedimentary Rocks in a Semi-Arid Climate - An Engineering Application of Petrology part of Cutting Edge:Courses:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Wendy Harrison, National Science Foundation; Ric Wendlandt, Colorado School of Mines
Students examine soils developed on igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks near Denver, Colorado. The 2-week exercise includes sample collection, description, and preparation, determining clay mineralogy by ...

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What Goes into Making Volcanic Arc Magmas, and How Do We Know It? part of MARGINS Data in the Classroom:MARGINS Mini-Lessons
Jeff Ryan, University of South Florida-St. Petersburg
This activity is a directed reading exercise focused on papers that have been key to our understanding of the major source contributors to subduction zone volcanic rocks.

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Back-of-the-Envelope Calculations: Weight of Gold part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Barb Tewksbury, Hamilton College
Question Let's suppose that you have a shoe box full of water (the box is waterproof, of course). The shoe box weighs about 9 kg (19.8 pounds). Suppose you emptied the box and filled it completely with rock ...

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Building-Stone Geology part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Field Labs:Field Lab Examples
Rebecca Teed, Wright State University-Main Campus
Students in an area remote from igneous and metamorphic rocks wrote papers on the properties of locally used building stones and gave a walking tour in which they presented their results. -

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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 ...

Rock & Mineral Bingo part of NAGT:Teaching Resources:Teaching Materials Collection
Kate Pound, Saint Cloud State University
This is a rock and mineral 'Bingo' that is based on knowledge and skill (not luck). It was designed as an entertaining and interactive means of developing and improving student rock and mineral ...

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 ...

Crystal Structures as Geobarometers part of Integrating Research and Education:Crystallography:Cpx Geobarometer
Kent Ratajeski, kratajeski@montana.edu Department of Earth Sciences, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT Published Jan. 4, 2005 Description This exercise is based on the recent formulation of a geobarometer ...

Order/Disorder Within Crystal Structures as a Function of Temperature part of Integrating Research and Education:Crystallography:Olivine Structure at High Temperatures
Kent Ratajeski Department of Earth Sciences, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT Published Jan. 25, 2005 Description The olivine unit cell. Crystallographic sites house Si (black), O (red), and the M1 (brown) ...

Density of rocks - How large is a ton of rock? part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Len Vacher, Dept of Geology, University of South Florida
This module addresses the problem of how to determine the size of a ton of rocks of a given composition and invites the student to figure out how to solve the problem.