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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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Laboratory Exercises and Demonstrations with the Spindle Stage part of Activities
Mickey Gunter, University of Idaho
The goal of this lab session is to introduce you to the spindle stage and its possible uses in an undergraduate mineralogy lab. A spindle stage is a one-axis rotation device that mounts on a polarizing microscope ...

The Silicate Structures: Chalkboard Demonstration part of Cutting Edge:Courses:Introductory Courses:Activities
Liane Stevens, Bentley University
This assignment is designed to introduce the silicate structures, and their significance to mineral properties, to undergraduate non-science majors in an introductory physical geology course. Magnetic ...

Calculating Weight Percents and Normalizing Analyses part of Activities
Dexter Perkins
This exercise involves converting chemical analyses to mineral formulas, and mineral formulas to oxide and element weight percents.

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.

Bragg's Law part of Cutting Edge:Deep Earth:Activities
Glenn Richard, SUNY at Stony Brook
"ON A COLD WINTER DAY IN DECEMBER, 1955, Robert Wentorf Jr. walked down to the local food co-op in Niskayuna, New York, and bought a jar of his favorite crunchy peanut butter. This was no ordinary shopping ...

Research Experiences in a Mineralogy Class part of Cutting Edge: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 ...

A Term Research Project Focused on Electron Microprobe Studies of Unknowns in a Junior-Level Mineralogy/Petrology Course part of Cutting Edge:Undergraduate Research:Case Studies
Jeff Ryan, University of South Florida
Jeff Ryan, University of South Florida Summary Two students using the FCAEM Electron microprobe via remote operation in Jeff Ryan's GLY 3311C course. DetailsAs the core activity of petrology portion of a ...

From Grains to Basin: An Example of a Project-Based Sedimentology Exercise part of Cutting Edge:Sedimentary Geology:Activities
Fraka Harmsen, California State University-Fresno
To help make the connection between thin-section and outcrop, students undertake a field oriented project in Ridge Basin, California.

Petrology/Geochemistry/Mineralogy/Structure of Shear zones in St. Lawrence County part of Cutting Edge:Structural Geology:Activities
Robert Badger, SUNY Potsdam
Field and petrographic examination of shear zones in northern New York -

Concept Maps in Mineralogy part of Cutting Edge:Visualization:Examples
Mickey Gunter, University of Idaho
Concept map showing the relationship between different minerals and approaches used in mineralogy. Categories include: crystal chemistry, external and internal structure, phase diagrams, physical properties, and ...

Stereo Diagrams part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This exercise is an introduction to stereo diagrams.

X-ray Analysis of Unknown Minerals part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
In this exercise, students use X-ray analysis to identify unknown minerals.

Mineral Structure 2 part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
Introduction to some basic crystal structures.

Private Mineral Gallery Walk part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
Public display of "private mineral" posters created by students and a group learning session based on the posters.

Mineral Properties Sheets part of Activities
Dave Hirsch, Western Washington University
A set of 69 mineral sheets to be used as part of a term-length set of labs. Each sheet has spaces to write physical and optical proerties for each mineral, and a crystal form diagram scannned from Nesse and/or ...