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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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From 2D to 3D: Escher Drawings - Crystallography, Crystal Chemistry, and Crystal part of Activities
Peter Buseck
This set of exercises illustrates plane and space groups as well as crystal chemistry and "defects" in crystals. The problems are designed to present the material as puzzles that are visually attractive ...

From 2D to 3D: II. TEM and AFM Images part of Activities
Peter Buseck
High-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) provides 2-D projections of mineral structures at almost the atomic scale, and atomic force microscopy (AFM) provides 3-D information about the surfaces of ...

The Use of Natural Crystals in the Study of Crystallography part of Activities
Roger Steinberg, Del Mar College
I use single, euhedral, natural crystals of minerals extensively when teaching basic concepts of crystallogtaphy. In my Mineralogy course, I use single, well-formed crystals in all aspects of basic crystallography ...

Plane Groups part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
Studying plane groups is a good way to introduce crystal systems, point groups, lattices, symmetry operators, etc. All is in 2-D, but it is easy to tell students that the principles are the same in 3-D. I provide, ...

Mineral Classification part of Activities
Joseph Smyth, University of Colorado at Boulder
This homework assignment challenges students to determine the chemical classification of minerals based on their chemical formula. Students must also provide the valences of the various cations for oxygen-bearing ...

Point Groups part of Activities
Joseph Smyth, University of Colorado at Boulder
This mineralogy problem set tasks students with determining the point group Hermann-Mauguin symbol and crystal system for crystal stereograms.

Space Group Symmetry part of Activities
Joseph Smyth, University of Colorado at Boulder
This assignment tasks students with determining symmetry axes and identifying Hermann-Mauguin symbols for space groups based on a symmetry diagram.

Mineral Stoichiometry part of Activities
Joseph Smyth, University of Colorado at Boulder
Students are given mineral chemical analyses, from which students must determine cation formulae and mole ratios.

Coupled Substitutions part of Activities
Joseph Smyth, University of Colorado at Boulder
Students calculate the composition of minerals in weight percent given relative proportions of given end members. Students must also calculate mole percentages for feldspars based on their mineral analyses.

Mineral Densities part of Activities
Joseph Smyth, University of Colorado at Boulder
This homework assignment is designed to help students learn about mineral densities and cell edge lengths by having them calculate each.

Properties of Light part of Activities
Joseph Smyth, University of Colorado at Boulder
This problem set tests students understanding of the properties of light, including velocity, frequency, reflection, and refraction.

Phase Diagrams part of Activities
Joseph Smyth, University of Colorado at Boulder
Students are given a simplified temperature-composition phase diagram for the system enstatite (Mg2Si2O6) - diopside (CaMgSi2O6), and asked to interpret it by answering a series of questions.

Mineral composition using XRF (EDS or microprobe) part of Activities
Wendy Panero, Ohio State University-Main Campus
At the end of this exercise you will be able to calculate chemical formula of a mineral based on weight percent oxides, and evaluate the extent of solid solution between end member compositions.

Research Project for Mineralogy part of Activities
Wendy Panero, Ohio State University-Main Campus
The assignment allows for open ended exploration of a topic of interest in geosciences in which one or more mineral's chemistry and/or crystal structure is significant to understanding that geoscience problem. ...

Exploring Crystal Structures with XtalDraw part of Activities
Wendy Panero, Ohio State University-Main Campus
This exercise uses publicly available resources to visualize mineral structures in three dimensions on the computer, including symmetry, the use of polyhedral modeling and linking, and the effects of solid ...