Heat Capacity of Minerals: A Hands-On Introduction to Chemical Thermodynamics
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 activity was peer reviewed prior to publication in the Teaching Mineralogy Workbook.
This teaching activity was originally published in: Brady, J., Mogk, D. W., and Perkins, D., (editors), 1997, "Teaching Mineralogy," a workbook published by the Mineralogical Society of America, 406 pp. All teaching activities in this volume received two external peer reviews from mineralogy faculty focused on content and pedagogy, and a final review by the co-editors to comply with the publication standards of the Mineralogical Society of America.
This page first made public: May 9, 2008
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
- General chemistry (thermodynamics)
- Using a balance
How the activity is situated in the course
Content/concepts goals for this activity
- introducing them to important concepts (thermodynamics) and skills (data analysis and presentation)
- making connections between mineralogy and other disciplines and relate to life applications
- promoting collaborative student work.
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
Other skills goals for this activity
Description of the activity/assignment
Minerals are inorganic chemical compounds with a wide range of physical and chemical properties. Geologists frequently measure and observe properties such as hardness, specific gravity, color, etc. Unfortunately, students usually view these properties simply as tools for identifying unknown mineral specimens. One of the objectives of this exercise is to make students aware of the fact that minerals have many additional properties that can be measured, and that all of the physical and chemical properties of minerals have important applications beyond that of simple mineral identification.
Please do not let the title of this exercise scare you away. Introducing students to thermodynamics is not the primary objective. Getting students to "do" science - to observe, record, and interpret experimental data - is the primary goal. Heat capacity just happens to be a good vehicle for this purpose.
Determining whether students have met the goals
Download teaching materials and tips
- Assignment description, hand outs, and instructor (Microsoft Word 113kB Apr25 08)
- Assignment description, hand outs, and instructor (Acrobat (PDF) 110kB May3 08)
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