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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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The Earth's Shells - Density vs. Depth part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Len Vacher, Dept of Geology, University of South Florida
In this module, students are asked to devise a way of graphically plotting the density variations with depth in the Earth.

Plotting Compositions in 2-D and 3-D Space part of Cutting Edge:Courses: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 ...

Mole %, Weight %, Compositions and Projections part of Cutting Edge:Courses: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.

Identifying Minerals with Chemical and Crystallographic Data part of Integrating Research and Education:Crystallography:Identifying Minerals Using Chemical and Crystallographic Data
Kent Ratajeski Department of Earth Sciences, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT Published Jan. 25, 2005 Description In this exercise, crystal structure data for a variety of unknown minerals are downloaded and ...

Crystallization from Melt Demonstration part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Interactive Lecture Demonstrations:Examples
This demonstration uses melted phenyl salicylate to show how crystals nucleate and grow as the temperature of the liquid melt decreases. -

Petrology in the Field and Laboratory part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Undergraduate Research:Examples
Rachel Beane, Bowdoin College (rbeane@bowdoin.edu)
In this multi-week project, students collect samples in the field, analyze them using various tools and instruments, then present their results and interpretations.

Florida River Project: Minerals in the field part of Cutting Edge:Courses: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.

Serpentinite in Subduction Zones: How do we find it, and how common is it? part of MARGINS Data in the Classroom:MARGINS Mini-Lessons
Jeff Ryan
A mineralogical, petrological, and geophysical exploration of the role of serpentinite in subduction zones, as highlighted in the two NSF-MARGINS Subduction Factory focus sites.

What does the core/mantle boundary look like? part of Cutting Edge:Topics:Deep Earth:Activities
Suzanne Baldwin, Syracuse University
This activity explores how earth scientists infer what materials are present at the core mantle boundary and what this boundary might look like. It provides students with the opportunity to contribute to the ...

Analyzing beach sands with a SEM/EDS part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Undergraduate Research:Examples
Rachel Beane, Bowdoin College, rbeane@bowdoin.edu
Students pose a question that can be answered using the SEM and sand they have previously collected from beach profiles.

An Electron Microprobe in the Classroom: A Remote-Access System for Education part of NAGT:Teaching Resources:Teaching Materials Collection
Ellery Frahm
In 2003, the University of Minnesota's Electron Microprobe Laboratory implemented a new system for remote research and education via the Internet. The remote-access system allows real-time access to our ...

Properties of Minerals part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
Students examine a number of key mineral properties and how they are displayed by different minerals.

Properties of Minerals and Intro to Polarizing Microscopes part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This exercise continues the study of the physical properties of minerals and introduces petrographic microscopes.

Crystallizing Minerals from Aqueous Solutions part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
Students dissolve selected salts and other compounds in water, let the water evaporate, and examine the crystals that grow.

First Look at Crystal Shapes part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This is a short and simple exercise requiring students to examine and compare different crystal shapes.