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 SEM/EDS or "Every Compositon Tells a Story" part of Cutting Edge:Mineralogy: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 ...

Crystal Growth - Fast and Slow part of Cutting Edge:Mineralogy:Activities
Peter J. Heaney
This lab is divided into two exercises that may be completed within a single three-hour session. The first exercise requires the mixture of aqueous solutions that will precipitate large euhedral crystals over the ...

Color in Minerals part of Cutting Edge:Mineralogy: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 ...

The Metrical Mastrix in Teaching Mineralogy part of Cutting Edge:Mineralogy:Activities
G. V. Gibbs
The calculation of the d-spacings, the angles between planes and zones, the bond lengths and angles and other important geometric relationships for a mineral can be a tedious task for the student and the ...

Plotting Compositions in 2-D and 3-D Space part of Cutting Edge:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This is a fairly short exercise that can be used for an in-class cooperative learning project or as homework. It includes LOTS of explanation and so is sort of a tutorial. I use it in my petrology class because it ...

Identifying Minerals with Chemical and Crystallographic Data part of Cutting Edge:Mineralogy: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 Cutting Edge:Mineralogy: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

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 ...

Mole %, Weight %, Compositions and Projections part of Cutting Edge:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This is an introductory exercise intended to get students thinking about mole vs weight % and about the power and problems of projections.

A Last Look at Igneous Minerals in Thin Section part of Cutting Edge:Mineralogy:Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
A final lab exercise that uses the optical mineralogy skills learned in the previous labs, and begins the transition to petrographic analysis of thin sections.

Sedimentary and Related Minerals part of Cutting Edge:Mineralogy:Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This exercise is an introduction to sedimentary minerals and rocks.

Synthetic Alkali Halides part of Cutting Edge:Mineralogy: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.

Fun With Asbestos part of Cutting Edge:Mineralogy:Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This exercise is a practical application of optical mineralogy involving identification of some asbestiform minerals.

X-ray Analysis of Sand part of Cutting Edge:Mineralogy:Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This is an x-ray diffraction analysis of six sand samples and comparison with hand specimens.

Metamorphic Rocks and Minerals part of Cutting Edge:Mineralogy:Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This exercise is an introduction to the most important metamorphic rocks and minerals.