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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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A Last Look at Igneous Minerals in Thin Section part of 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 Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This exercise is an introduction to sedimentary minerals and rocks.

Fun With Asbestos part of 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 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 Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This exercise is an introduction to the most important metamorphic rocks and minerals.

Phase Equilibria part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This is a short exercise that introduces basic thermodynamics.

Ore Minerals part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
Introduction to sulfides and other ore minerals.

Mineral Commodities part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This exercise introduces students to mineral commodities.

Symmetry part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This is an introduction to the basic symmetry elements.

Using SHAPE to Make Crystal Drawings part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
In this exercise, students use SHAPE, a computer graphics program, to make crystal drawings.

Point Groups part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This exercise involves identifying symmetry in crystals and using that information to assign crystals to crystal systems and point groups.

Symmetry Summary part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This summary exercise involves crystal system and point group identification and stereo diagram construction.

Introduction to Crystal Structures: Bond Strength (Pauling's Rule #2) part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
A look at Pauling's "electrostatic valency" principle.

Experiments in Crystal Optics part of Activities
Hans Dieter Zimmermann
The purpose of the experiments below is to impart an intuitive understanding of the interaction between light and crystals and, thus, of optical crystallography. This will help to demystify what is seen in the ...

Experiments on Simple Binary Mineral Systems part of Activities
John Winter, Whitman College
This exercise is devised to simulate a series of experimental runs in which binary mineral mixtures are melted using very high-temperature furnaces in order to determine the characteristics of mineral systems and ...