Mineral Classification Exercise
This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Collection
Resources in this top level collection a) must have scored Exemplary or Very Good in all five review categories, and must also rate as “Exemplary” in at least three of the five categories. The five categories included in the peer review process are
- Scientific Accuracy
- Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
- Pedagogic Effectiveness
- Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
- Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page
For more information about the peer review process itself, please see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.
This page first made public: Jun 30, 2005
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
How the activity is situated in the course
Content/concepts goals for this activity
- Students learn about the properties that are most useful for mineral classification.
- They also become familiar with some historical aspects of mineral science.
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
- This exercise is a collaborative/cooperative learning exercise that helps students develop their observational and analytical skills.
- They must synthesize a variety of information to derive a cogent classification scheme.
- It involves hypothesis testing, critical thinking and interpretation.
Other skills goals for this activity
- This is a good exercise to get students comfortable working in small groups.
- It also involves peer critiquing and evaluation.
Description of the activity/assignment
- Students are given a set of minerals and asked to come up with a hierarchical classification scheme (a "key") that can be used to identify different mineral species.
- They compare their results with the products of other groups.
- They test the various schemes by applying them to unknown samples.
- While doing this exercise, the students develop observational and interpretational skill.
- They also begin to think about the nature of classification systems.
Determining whether students have met the goals
- Students prepare critiques of their own and of other group's classification systems.
- The depth and insight displayed in their critiques reveals whether the activity was a success.
Download teaching materials and tips
- Activity Description/Assignment (Acrobat (PDF) 13kB Jun29 05)
- Instructors Notes (Acrobat (PDF) 7kB Jun29 05)
- Original exercise (Mogk, 1997) (Acrobat (PDF) 2.9MB Jun29 05)