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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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.

Field Notes part of Activities
Dave Mogk, Montana State University-Bozeman
Field Notes provides instructors with helpful tips for a successful field trip. The tips include a well-developed literature review for designing and assessing field trips. Barriers to learning in the field can be ...

Directed-Discovery of Crystal Structures Using Ball and Stick Models part of Activities
Dave Mogk, Montana State University-Bozeman
In this series of exercises, a kind of reductionist approach is used to direct the students attention to specific characteristics of a variety of ball and stick models. Through a series of leading questions, ...

Computer Generated Crystals Using Shape part of Activities
Kenneth J. Brock
The software package known as SHAPE (Shape Software 521 Hidden Valley Road, Kingsport, TN 37663) provides an excellent method for accurately drawing crystals. The following three boxes describe the basic steps ...

Physical Properties of Minerals and Determinative Techniques part of Activities
Ken Bladh
This activity uses cooperative learning to identify minerals in hand sample based on physical properties. The "Jigsaw" pedagogy upon which this lab is based provides the environment for four succeeding ...

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.

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.

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 ...

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 ...